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KJ Apa Shares the Greatest Lessons He Learned From Late ‘Riverdale’ Costar Luke Perry: ‘He’s My Role Model’

KJ Apa on Mentor Luke Perry
K.J. Apa and Luke Perry attend the "Riverdale" panel at WonderCon 2017 - Day 1 at Anaheim Convention Center on March 31, 2017 in Anaheim, California. Araya Diaz/WireImage

Remembering a great. Luke Perry’s death is still at the forefront of the Riverdale cast’s minds, but star KJ Apa is doing his best to focus on the positive lessons he learned from his on-screen father before his death.

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“I think Luke had an amazing ability to make every single person in the room feel very welcome and feel really comfortable,” Apa, 21, told Us Weekly exclusively at the premiere of Netflix’s The Last Summer at the TCL Chinese 6 Theaters in Hollywood. “He would do anything you can to make everyone feel comfortable. And I think, for me, that was something that I was always in awe about.”

KJ Apa on Mentor Luke Perry
KJ Apa attends the Special Screening Of Netflix’s “The Last Summer” at TCL Chinese Theatre on April 29, 2019 in Hollywood, Calif. Jon Kopaloff/FilmMagic

The New Zealand native, who plays Griffin in the streaming service’s new flick, explained that Perry had “such a huge career,” but always remained humble. Apa continued, “He never forgot about people from day one. He remembered everyone’s names. He kept in touch with high school friends from, like, 30 years ago, to, like, right up until the day that he passed away. So yeah, I mean, he’s my role model. And he always will be.”

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The Hate U Give actor added that the Beverly Hills, 90210 alum’s death is “still pretty fresh for everyone,” so it is hard to talk about.

KJ Apa on Mentor Luke Perry Riverdale
KJ Apa as Archie and Luke Perry as Fred in an episode of ‘Riverdale.’ Jack Rowand/The CW

Perry died from a massive stroke on March 4 at the age of 52. Days later, Apa honored the former Oz star by posting a throwback snapshot on Instagram. He captioned the pic: “Rest in Love bro.”

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Apa reiterated his admiration for Perry during an appearance on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on April 26. “It’s not every day you come across a guy like Luke,” the Dog’s Purpose actor gushed. “He would call my parents every week and keep them updated on how I’m doing.”

Perry and Apa played father-son-duo Fred and Archie Andrews on the hit CW series since season one. The late actor made his final appearance on the show during the April 24 episode.

With reporting by Taylor Ferber

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