The Continuing Suffering of the Cast of ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’

Beverly Hills
The cast of Beverly Hills, 90210. Credit: Fox

Beverly Hills, 90210 was the television show that defined a generation’s adolescence and teenage years. The show created the 90s adolescent drama genre in 1990 and closed out its 10-year run in 2000, spanning the entire decade.

Brenda and Brandon Walsh’s story and their group of Beverly Hills friends helped define what it meant to be a teenager in the 1990s. Luke Perry and Jason Priestley even made sideburns cool for a while.

Related: The Rise and Dramatic Fall of Tim Allen’s ‘Home Improvement’

The show ended its decade-long run 24 years ago. However, since Beverly Hills, 90210 ended, the cast members have been struck down by excessive tragedy.

So, was the show cursed? Here’s a look at the tragedies that have befallen the cast since 2000 and the ill-fated reboot.

Brandon and Brenda Walsh

The show was initially set around the Walsh children’s move from Minnesota to the wilds of Beverly Hills. Shannen Doherty was already a star when she was tapped for the role of Brenda Walsh.

Shannen Doherty had an 18-episode run on Little House on the Prairie when she was only 11. She became an 80s icon when she starred in Heathers (1988). 

Brenda Walsh was written off the show in 1994, primarily due to cast disputes between Jennie Garth, Tori Spelling, and Doherty. Unlike Jason Priestley and Luke Perry, who would return to the show after leaving, Doherty never returned to Beverly Hills.

Since leaving the show, Shannen Doherty has starred in Charmed, another Aaron Spelling show. In 2019, she reunited with her castmates Jason Priestly, Tori Spelling, Brian Austin Green, Ian Ziering, Jennie Garth, and Gabrielle Carteris for a short-lived reboot.

In 2015, Shannen Doherty was diagnosed with breast cancer. After eight rounds of chemotherapy and a mastectomy, her cancer went into remission in 2017. In 2020, Doherty said that her cancer was back and had spread to her brain.

In 2023, she announced that the cancer was spreading to her bones. In April, news leaked out that Doherty was planning her funeral as she continued her cancer battle.

Doherty’s on-screen brother Jason Priestley also started acting as a child. He was eight when he got his first role on Canadian television.

Priestely’s Brandon Walsh was the conscious of the show, keeping Ian Ziering’s Steve Sanders and Luke Perry’s Dylan McKay in line.

In season nine, Priestley left the show and Hollywood. He has been acting pretty steadily since he ended his tenure as Brandon Walsh.

Priestley also continued his career as a race car driver. In 2002, he suffered life-threatening injuries when he crashed his car into a wall at 180 miles per hour. A miraculous surgery saved his life.

Dylan McKay

Actor Luke Perry was the heartthrob of Beverly Hheartthrobharacter. Dylan McKay dated Kelly Taylor and Brenda Walsh throughout his run in Beverly Hills.

Luke Perry left 90210 during season six, only to return in 1998 for the show’s final two seasons. His return coincided with Priestley’s Brandon Walsh leaving.

After leaving 90210, Perry continued acting in HBO’s Oz and John From Cincinnati. In 2017, actor Luke Perry, the 90s heartthrob, took a role as a dad on Riverdale.

In 2019, Luke Perry suffered a massive stroke; he died shortly after that at 52, surrounded by his children, fiancee, mother, and other close family members.

When Actor Luke Perry died, something in a generation died with him. His final role was in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019). 

David Silver

Actor Brian Austin Green, who played David Silver, was the youngest cast member. His character was best known for his ongoing relationship with Tori Spelling’s Donna Martin. The two were married in the show’s final episode.

Since leaving 90210, Austin Green has had long stretches on ABC’s Desperate Housewives and FX’s Anger Management. But he is best known as Mr. Megan Fox.

Brian Austin Green and Megan Fox met on the set of her sitcom Hope and Faith. After dating for a few years, they were married in 2010 and had three sons together.

In 2020, Megan Fox and Brian Austin Green separated, and she started dating rapper Machine Gun Kelly.

Green admitted that he was dealing with a mystery silliness for years. At first, he was diagnosed with vertigo and ulcerative colitis, which caused him to lose 20 pounds.

Eventually, he was told that he had internal inflammation from gluten and dairy.

Kelly Taylor

Jennie Garth’s Kelly Taylor started out as a bad girl, but by the end of the show, she had evolved into the show’s conscience. Much like Kelly Taylor, Jennie Garth has battled depression.

In 2013, Garth divorced actor Peter Facinelli. Garth admitted that she was suffering from depression during her marriage and would spend days in bed.

After the divorce, Garth married Dave Abrams. At 45, she learned that she was suffering from osteoarthritis, which forced her to live with chronic pain.

At first, Jennie Garth thought it was only a disease that older people suffered from, but she quickly learned that it could affect anyone. She has learned to manage her pain through diet and exercise.

Stuart Carson

David Gail only had a short run on Beverly Hills, 90210, but he made a lasting impact. He played Stuart Carson for eight episodes.

During his time on the show, Stuart Carson was set to run off with Brenda Walsh to elope, but the pair decided to call the wedding off. Shannen Doherty would leave the show shortly after this story arc.

Earlier this year, David Gail was found dead at 58. An autopsy would later reveal that he died of a heart attack related to his opioid addiction. Gail hurt himself on set and became addicted to prescription painkillers, which ultimately led to his untimely death.

The Reboot

Most of the remaining cast reunited for a reboot in 2019. The six episodes were a bit of a parody, with each character becoming their worst selves for the role.

Despite promising initial ratings, the show was canceled after only one season. Jason Priestley said that too many executives tried to influence the show, leaving it without a clear vision.

The show did touch on some of the drama, like the Tori Spelling/Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty drama. It also got into Tori Spelling being left out of her father’s, Aaron Spelling, will.

Viewers even got to see Ian Ziering play a grown-up Steve Sanders. Gabrielle Carteris got to show that she wasn’t the boring Andrea Zuckerman.

But it just didn’t capture the same magic. The actors being older reminded the viewers that they, too, were older. And no one wants to be reminded of that.

For a generation of viewers, Beverly Hills, 90210, was what it meant to be excellent. The characters grew up with us.

It was a once-in-a-lifetime show that can never be repeated.

What do you remember about ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’? 

About Rick

Rick is an avid Disney fan. He first went to Disney World in 1986 with his parents and has been hooked ever since. Rick is married to another Disney fan and is in the process of turning his two children into fans as well. When he is not creating new Disney adventures, he loves to watch the New York Yankees and hang out with his dog, Buster. In the fall, you will catch him cheering for his beloved NY Giants.

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