Born Coy Luther Perry III in Mansfield, Ohio, to Ann Bennett, a homemaker, and Coy Luther Perry Jr., a steelworker, and raised in Fredericktown, Ohio. His parents divorced when he was just six and Luke's father died of a heart attack in 1980. Luke attended Fredericktown High School, where he would get his first taste of entertaining audiences as Freddie Bird, the school mascot. Upon graduation in 1984 he moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in acting.
After 216 unsuccessful auditions, Luke's first role was as the character Ned Bates on the daytime soap opera Loving in 1988. He was on the show for one year, then played a recurring role as Kenny on the soap opera Another World (1988-1989). In 1990 he landed the role of Dylan McKay on Fox’s teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210, though he had initially auditioned for the role of Steve Sanders, which ultimately went to Ian Ziering.
The show skyrocketed him to fame and teen idol heartthrob status. While working on the series, he landed several film roles, including John Hunter in the drama Terminal Bliss (1990), Ray Ray in the dramedy Scorchers (1991), and Pike in the action comedy Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992), which went on to become a cult classic. Wanting to move away from his teen idol reputation, Luke left Beverly Hills, 90210 early into season 6 in order to pursue more mature roles.
During this time, he played himself in the Italian film Vacanze di Natale (1995), starred opposite Ashley Judd in the independent film Normal Life (1996), and played the role of Boomer in the TV film drama Riot (1997), about the Rodney King verdict. Despite initially claiming that Beverly Hills, 90210 was behind him following his departure from the show, he would return to the show in the ninth season.
Following the conclusion of 90210, Luke continued to find consistent work on television both in series and in TV movies. In 2001 he joined the Emmy-nominated crime drama Oz as Reverend Jeremiah Cloutier for several episodes. He was cast in the title role in the series Jeremiah a year later, which enjoyed two seasons on Showtime.
Following the cancellation of Jeremiah, Luke joined the ensemble cast of the NBC series Windfall in 2006 in the role of Peter Schaefer. He would follow that up with the HBO series John from Cincinnati in 2007.
When 90210 was re-imagined for revival in 2008, Luke declined the opportunity. The next few years would see him stick to TV films and straight-to-video movies, often with horse/cowboy themes. He also guest-starred on TV shows and played a recurring role on the crime procedural Body of Proof (2012-2013).
In 2015 he would play the recurring character Tim Olson on the Up Network original series Ties That Bind, in which he played the brother of the lead character, who arrests him and sends him to prison.
His last major role on television was as Fred Andrews, Archie’s father on Riverdale, The CW’s adaptation of the classic Archie Comics from 2016 to 2019. His final film role was as Scott Lander in Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019).
Luke was married to Rachel Minnie Sharp for almost 10 years from November 1993 to October 2003, before the union ended in divorce. They have a son, Jack, and a daughter, Sophie. He also has an older brother, Tom, and a younger sister, Amy.
Following a massive stroke at his home in Los Angeles on February 27, 2019, Luke passed away at St. Joseph's Hospital in Burbank, California on March 4, 2019. He was 52 years old.