KJ Apa opens up about death of Riverdale co-star Luke Perry

KJ Apa has said he experienced the “hardest year of my life” after Luke Perry, his on-screen father in Riverdale, died last March.

The former Beverly Hills, 90210 actor died after suffering a stroke at the age of 52.

New Zealand-born Apa, 22, told Mr Porter’s The Journal that he missed the former child star’s advice and presence on set.

Luke Perry MTV’s TRL UK
Luke Perry (Anthony Harvey/PA)

He said: “It changed everything when Luke passed. I had never gone through anything like that before. I’ve never lost anyone close to me, so it was a really hard time. It’s still hard.

“Going to work, I can just feel that he’s not there any more.

“We had a really, really, really good relationship, me and Luke. He was just kind of a guy that kept us, especially me, grounded because he’d been through all of this stuff.

“I was so blessed to have him in my life to say, ‘Maybe don’t do that,’ or, ‘This is a good idea.’

“Just giving me advice. I miss him. I just miss talking to him. I miss listening to him.”

Apa said he could not remember who told him about Perry’s death, but suggested it might have been one of Riverdale’s showrunners.

He recalled how the cast and crew took a few days off work before filming restarted.

“Last year was probably the hardest year of my life,” he said.

“It made me really think. What kind of man do I want to be? And I’m still figuring it out.”

Perry played Fred Andrews on Riverdale, the father of Apa’s character, Archie.

Perry’s final film appearance came in Quentin Tarantino’s black comedy Once Upon A Time… In Hollywood.