When the stars of early ’90s phenomenon Beverly Hills, 90210 assembled for a reunion at Illinois’ REWindCon, there was one notable absentee. That’s because, due to sad circumstances, Shannen Doherty wasn’t able to make it. But the cast – and Luke Perry in particular – certainly ensured that Doherty wasn’t forgotten about.
And those cast members who appeared at the 2016 nostalgia fest were Jason Priestley (Brandon), Jennie Garth (Kelly), Tori Spelling (Donna) and Luke Perry (Dylan). They were originally all part of the Aaron Spelling-produced hit, which premiered in 1990 and ran for ten whole seasons. The show additionally shot both Priestley and Perry to bona fide teen idol status.
And during the series’ run, Perry was also part of an on-screen power couple. Indeed, his brooding bad boy character Dylan McKay was involved in an on-off relationship with Shannen Doherty’s Brenda Walsh for several years. The pair appeared to split up for good in the third season, however, following a love triangle involving Brenda’s best friend Kelly Taylor.
And as it turned out, Doherty would leave Beverly Hills, 90210 at the end of the fourth season; Perry, meanwhile, followed suit two years later. Off screen, Dylan and Brenda reunited in London, as revealed in an episode where Donna receives correspondence from their shared apartment in the English capital. However, when Dylan made a reappearance in the show’s ninth season, he told Kelly that he and Brenda had split.
What’s more, Jason Priestley would later admit that “various combinations” of 90210 stars hooked up with each other during the show’s run. In particular, David Silver actor Brian Austin Green appears to have been busy, reportedly having dated Tori Spelling, Tiffani Thiessen and Vanessa Marcil. However, few rumors have ever emerged about Doherty and Perry making their on-screen romance a real-life thing.
With that said, though, 2015’s The Unauthorized Beverly Hills, 90210 Story did nevertheless imply that Doherty and Perry weren’t afraid to occasionally get hands-on. In the Lifetime movie, Perry (played by Jesy Kinney) can be seen touching the breasts of an unfazed Doherty (Samantha Munro) while filming a make-out scene. After being castigated by the director, the fictionalized Perry claims that he has “no control” over where his hands go.
In real life, however, Doherty went on to marry George Hamilton’s son Ashley in 1993. The couple divorced only six months later, though. And there was more bad luck for the actress in 2002, when her marriage to Rick Salomon was dissolved after just nine months. Happily, though, she struck lucky with marriage number three to photographer Kurt Iswarienko in 2011. Meanwhile, Perry got hitched to Rachel Minnie Sharp in 1993, although the pair would split up ten years later.
And it’s also worth noting that Doherty’s time on 90210 was plagued by reports of bad behavior. The actress allegedly fought both verbally and physically with co-star Jennie Garth on numerous occasions, for instance, while it’s also said that she clashed with producers over her terrible timekeeping, indifferent attitude and hard-partying lifestyle. Doherty would later blame her exploits on the pressures of being a young celebrity.
Despite her reputation for being difficult to work with, though, Doherty was invited back to 90210 for its late ’00s reboot. And the show once again set up conflict between Brenda and Kelly and Dylan, although the latter didn’t actually appear on screen. The last viewers hear of Brenda, meanwhile, is that she is heading to China to adopt a young girl.
In 2015, however, Doherty made headlines for much sadder reasons, as it was revealed that she was battling breast cancer. Then, in 2016, the actress was forced to have a single mastectomy after it was found that she had multiple tumors. Later that year she also underwent radiotherapy and chemotherapy, due to the cancer being more advanced than first thought.
Doherty was therefore unable to join her former cast mates when the 90210 crew reunited in late 2016 at REWindCon. But those who did attend ensured that the actress wasn’t forgotten about. And it was her former on-screen boyfriend who led the glowing tributes.
Luke Perry, who named Dylan and Brenda as his favorite Beverly Hills, 90210 pairing, told fans, “None of us are up here today without Shannen. She’s been through a lot. She’s not doing well right now, but sometimes her contributions are minimized.”
And while Perry had previously been accused of distancing himself from Doherty, he had nothing but kind words for his former co-star on that night. “She’s a very big part of the success of this show,” he added at the event. “She taught me a lot. I’m glad she was my scene partner. She was great at what she did in the character with me.”
Several months after Perry’s appearance at REWindCon, however, he disclosed that he hadn’t actually spoken to Doherty about her cancer battle. In an interview with Us Weekly, the star said, “When it’s good for Shannen, I’m sure we’ll talk. She’s brave, she’s a fighter. She’s in my heart and I think about it.”
The ’90s pin-up went on to applaud Doherty for helping to raise awareness of breast cancer. Indeed, Perry himself has also worked with a number of cancer charities, including Fight Colorectal Cancer. He was inspired to get involved after losing a good friend to the disease.
But Perry isn’t the only 90210 star to have recently honored Doherty. Jennie Garth, for instance, would post a heartfelt message to her one-time arch-rival on Instagram, in which she described Doherty as the strongest lady she’d ever known. Garth also admitted that she used to be threatened by this strength; now, however, she has nothing but admiration for it.
And Ian Ziering, who played Steve Sanders, also revealed his great respect for Doherty to Entertainment Tonight. “She’s one tough cookie,” he explained, adding, “If she could handle the press outlets that were roasting her [during her time on Beverly Hills, 90210], then I’m sure [she can beat] cancer.”
Also speaking to Entertainment Tonight, Jason Priestley, too, would praise Doherty for speaking about her battle so publicly. “What she did the other day, shaving her head and posting the pictures and everything, that was incredibly brave,” he remarked. “Shannen’s a strong kid and a tough fighter, and I know that she’s gonna come through this fight and she’s gonna be okay.”
And perhaps the tributes from Doherty’s former co-stars got her in a nostalgic mood. That’s because the actress posted two throwback photos of her Beverly Hills, 90210 days on Instagram in March 2017: one with her character’s on-screen twin Jason Priestley and another with on-screen boyfriend Luke Perry. Doherty also revealed how proud she was of her time on the “iconic show.”
Then, just a few months later, Doherty took to Instagram again. This time, however, she wanted to share some positive news: she was in remission. But the actress acknowledged that the fight was far from over. “As every single one of my fellow cancer family knows, the next five years is crucial. Reoccurrences happen all the time. So with a heart that is certainly lighter, I wait,” she said.