Molly Ringwald Says KJ Apa Took Luke Perry’s Death the Hardest: ‘Luke Was Really Like His Father’

Molly Ringwald Says KJ Apa Took Luke Perry’s Death the Hardest
Molly Ringwald at the WSJ Magazine 2019 Innovator Awards in New York on November 6, 2019. Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Shutterstock


A tough blow. Molly Ringwald opened up about seeing the Riverdale cast mourn the loss of Luke Perry after his sudden death in March at age 52.

“We were all really emotional and expressed it in different ways. I had my own relationship with Luke, but it was hardest watching KJ [Apa],” the actress, 51, told Us Weekly exclusively at the WSJ Magazine Innovator Awards on Wednesday, November 6. “KJ and Luke were very close and had such a unique bond. Luke was really like his father — his American father. He really assumed that role, so watching KJ grapple with that was really tough to watch. As a mother, as just a person, it was hard to watch.”

Ringwald noted that the season 4 premiere, which served as a tribute to Perry as his character, Fred Andrews, left the canvas, was a particularly tough experience. “I don’t think I’ve cried so hard. I was in tears the entire time,” she admitted of watching the episode. “It was very moving for me, and it was also nice for people. It was like saying goodbye to him. It was very real.”

Molly Ringwald Says KJ Apa Took Luke Perry’s Death the Hardest
Luke Perry and KJ Apa at Comic-Con in San Diego on July 21, 2018. Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Shutterstock

The Breakfast Club star pointed out that the late actor continues to play into the cast’s work on Riverdale. “I think he’s a presence,” she explained. “It’s impossible not to think about him. His pictures are everywhere and none of us want to forget him. We like having his presence and memory all around us. As long as the show is around, he will be a part of it.”

Apa stars as Archie Andrews, while Ringwald plays his mother, Mary Andrews, and Perry portrayed his father, Fred. Lili Reinhart (Betty Cooper), Camila Mendes (Veronica Lodge), Cole Sprouse (Jughead Jones), Madelaine Petsch (Cheryl Blossom), Mark Consuelos (Hiram Lodge), Mädchen Amick (Alice Cooper), Skeet Ulrich (FP Jones) and Marisol Nichols (Hermione Lodge) round out the cast of Riverdale, which premiered in January 2017.

The Beverly Hills, 90210 alum died after suffering a stroke. His final appearance on Riverdale aired in April.

The CW drama honored him during the premiere of season 4 in October. Fred died in a hit-and-run while helping a woman — played by Perry’s former costar and real-life friend Shannen Doherty — with her broken-down car.

Riverdale airs on The CW Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET.

With reporting by Travis Cronin

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