By GEOFFREY REDICK, WSYX/WTTE
FREDERICKTOWN, Ohio (CIRCA via WSYX/WTTE) — The death of television star Luke Perry on Monday brought a few tears and a lot of smiles in the small Ohio village of Fredericktown, northeast of Columbus.
Perry, 52, was a Fredericktown native and born in nearby Mansfield. He graduated from Fredericktown High School in 1984.
Mayor Jerry Day, the former police chief in Fredericktown for 30 years, knew Perry when he was a child growing up. He never lost his connection with Luke, even after he grew up to become the star of television shows "Beverly Hills 90210 " and "Riverdale."
"He told everybody he was going out to California and going to be a movie star," Day said. "I remember some of the people saying, 'Yeah right, that'll never happen.' Well, he proved them wrong."
Perry was in high school theater productions at Fredericktown and also served as the school's "Freddie Bird" mascot.
His eighth-grade math teacher, Don Falk, said Perry was always a charismatic kid.
"It (Perry's death) really was a shock, not only because he's Luke but because he's an ex-student of mine, too," Falk said.
"He put Fredericktown on the map," Day said. "His mind was made up that that's what he was going to do. And he did it!"
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