Shortly after the news surfaced on March 4 that Luke Perry died after suffering a massive stroke, the internet was flooded with kind words about the actor from many who knew him. Co-stars, celebrities who were lucky enough to meet him and those who were privileged to call him friends joined in remembering Perry, who was only 52-years-old.
Actor Colin Hanks is among those who posted a tribute to Perry. In doing so, he recalled the one time he met Perry and shared the story behind their chance meeting on Instagram. Hanks and his wife were on a flight back to the U.S. from Mexico when two children were crying and fighting with each other non-stop.
“Their poor parents are powerless to stop the crying, yelling and screaming. If you’re a parent you understand. Sometimes there’s nothing you can do. It was like this for close to two hours,” Hanks wrote on Instagram.
Shortly before landing — when the crying was really starting to ramp up — someone appeared from first class, in an attempt to stop the crying once and for all.
“Then about 10 minutes before landing it starts to get real bad. Out of no where [sic], a man comes from first class,” Hanks wrote on Instagram. “Hat, beard, sunglasses, blowing up a balloon. He ties it off, hands it off like he’s holding out a sword to a king. Kneeling, Head down, arms up. Kids calm down in milliseconds.”
Turns out, the balloon-wielding man was Perry. At the time, Hanks wasn’t aware that Perry was indeed the mystery man, but when the two wound up next to each other in line waiting to go through customs, it didn’t take long for the two actors to recognize each other.
“As luck would have it we end up standing next to each other. Out of the blue he turns to me and says some kind words about ‘Fargo,’ which kinda blew my mind. I start singing his praises about how long I’ve admired him and also about the move with the balloon,” Hanks continued in his Instagram post. “‘That’s a pro move! You can’t teach that!’ I say. He tells me he always flies with a couple of balloons for that very reason, to give to screaming kids. Don’t know if that’s true, but have no reason to believe it wasn’t. Guy seemed like a true gent.”
Considering Perry is a father to two, Jack and Sophie, who are now 21-years-old and 18-years-old, respectively, it’s no surprise he was prepared to handle something as common to parenthood as a mid-flight meltdown.
Hanks wasn’t the only actor to pick up on just how great of a father and all-around person Perry was, either. His “90210” co-star Shannen Doherty told People magazine that he was forever talking about his kids:
“Luke loved his family. He raved about his kids and how proud he was of them. He showed me videos of them often,” she told the magazine. “They were his heart and for him, his biggest accomplishment.”
Perry’s son, Jack, is a professional wrestler, and photographer Esther Lin shared a photo showcasing what a proud dad the late Perry was, as he cheered on his son from the stands:
“Up in the top left is Luke Perry, proud father, cheering on Jungle Boy at PWG in January. It was so sweet and adorable. And now I’m so incredibly sad,” she wrote on Twitter:
According to a statement, Perry’s kids were by his side when he passed away on March 4.
“[Perry] was surrounded by his children Jack and Sophie, fiancé Wendy Madison Bauer, ex-wife Minnie Sharp, mother Ann Bennett, step-father Steve Bennett, brother Tom Perry, sister Amy Coder, and other close family and friends. The family appreciates the outpouring of support and prayers that have been extended to Luke from around the world, and respectfully request privacy in this time of great mourning,” a rep for the actor said in a statement.
He will be missed by all who knew him. Our hearts go out to the Perry family at this time.