Luke Perry Lives Here?

Published March 4, 2019 by WELCOME TO HEIDI

Everyone has their person – that famous someone that they adore from a distance and think – “one day – I’m going to meet him/her and they will be my best friend forever.”  For me, that person was Luke Perry – and I was a full grown adult when he became that 90210 heartthrob Dylan McKay.  But that’s not even why  he was my person.

In September of 1996 I was living in New York City and had just quit my job at a fairly new CBS Newsmagazine called “Day and Date.”  I had 5 thousand dollars in the bank – and no prospects for a new job.  Then I got a call from a friend of mine who was working at a new show called Access Hollywood.  They were the first show to attempt to take on the all mighty Entertainment Tonight and they  needed a writer.  I had no current intentions of ever moving to Los Angeles but it had been something I had flirted with in the past.  I thought – well why not accept a free weekend in LA.  I did have one friend who lived there.  So – off I went.

The show put me up at the Universal Hilton.  I felt very celebby.  I was also terrified. Hollywood was a whole other beast and Entertainment Tonight was the mother of all shows to try and take on. Did I know enough about celebrity culture for this job?  I mean – I was trained at A Current Affair – the biggest tabloid show in the world.  How hard could writing about a bunch of celebrities be?

The Executive Producer of the show interviewed me for an hour or so and I wasn’t convinced this was the right move for me.  In fact – there was no way I was leaving Manhattan for this weird sunshine filled place. But then he invited me to lunch in the NBC Cafeteria!!  OHMIGOD THERE’S A STUDIO CAFETERIA? !!  Were all those movie images of studios filled with stars milling about eating tuna sandwiches with regular people – real?  I wasn’t buying it and I certainly wasn’t going to move three thousand miles just for a nice cup of chili.

And then it happened. Out of the corner of my eye – in full on slow motion – Luke Perry glided into the Cafeteria like a totally normal breathing human – and sat down with someone right near me for lunch.  My heart exploded.  “Is that Luke Perry? Does he like – live here?”  “Yeah of course. Lots of celebrities do” said the Exec producer.  “And they just walk around with the rest of us?” I asked?  “Uh yeah.” I can’t believe he wanted to hire me after this exchange – but he did.

Now I’m a New Yorker and sure I saw a star here and there growing up – but it was never in this kind of situation.  They were never just – walking around. But Luke was right there – in my same space – breathing my same air – eating off of my same plastic tray.  And that was all I needed.  I reached across the table and shook that Exec Producers hand and never went back to New York City. If I could live in a place where giant stars were in my orbit – then maybe I could become a giant star or at least work with them. And that my friends is what the lure of Hollywood is all about.

In all my years here I have met hundreds of celebrities.  I never met Luke Perry. His career started and stalled a few times while I was busy trashing other celebrities for my job –  but I was so happy he was working steadily again.   My friend Dana had worked with him recently and when I told her my story and how much I loved him – she promised to introduce us.  Sadly that never happened.

When I heard the news today from my friend Jeremy – I was in Target – and I cried.

Thank you Luke Perry for giving me Los Angeles. You’ll never know how grateful I am.

One comment on “Luke Perry Lives Here?

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