Beliefnet
Where Hope Lives

Gage Skidmore | Flickr.com

Gage Skidmore | Flickr.com

Luke Perry died on Monday, March 4, 2019. The actor had suffered a massive stroke on Wednesday, February 27, 2019. When Los Angeles paramedics responded to the call from his Sherman Oaks home, Perry was reportedly lucid. He deteriorated rapidly, however, and was eventually sedated in an effort to give his brain time to recover from the damage. On Monday morning, however, the damage proved too great and the actor passed away.

Perry rose to fame after appearing in the show “Beverly Hills, 90210” where he portrayed Dylan McKay. He continued playing the role for 10 seasons and was offered a spot on a reboot of “90210,” but he declined to accept. Reportedly, the reason he turned down the role was a combination of scheduling conflicts and because he said he “cannot do [a reboot] without [longtime “90210” producer] Aaron [Spelling].”

Perry got his start acting in TV commercials before appearing in music videos and soap operas such as “Loving” and “Another World.” After his explosive success in “90210,” Perry played a supporting role in the original film version of “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” He also starred in “Terminal Bliss” and appeared in “8 Seconds.”

Perry left “90210” in an attempt to find more mature roles, but he returned to the show that made him famous only three years later. He did, however, play a wider variety of roles after 1999.

Of the role of Dylan, Perry said, “I’m going to be linked with him until I die, but that’s actually just fine. I created Dylan McKay. He’s mine.”

In recent years, Perry has held a repeated role on the CW show “Riverdale” where he played the character Fred Andrews. He also recently finished filming a role in Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.”

Following Perry’s death, numerous celebrities, including both current and former co-stars, reached out in remembrance of the star. Ian Ziering of “90210” said he would “forever bask in the loving memories we’ve shared over the last 30 years.” Molly Ringwald, who appeared with Perry on “Riverdale” said, “My heart is broken.” Another “90210” star, Christine Elise McCarthy said, “”With the heaviest of hearts, I am stunned and devastated to tell you that Luke passed away. I am still in shock and I have no words beyond saying he was a truly kind gentleman. He will be mourned and missed by everyone who knew him and the millions who love him. RIP, dearie Luke. Your time here was far too short.”

There is no news yet of any sort of funeral arrangement, but no doubt there are many fans who join in mourning the loss of the man who once stole the show in “Beverly Hills.”

WIkimedia Commons

WIkimedia Commons

Actress Katherine Helmond died on Friday, March 1, 2019, in her Los Angeles home. She was 89 years old at the time of her death. The cause of death was reported to have been complications from Alzheimer’s disease.

“She was the love of my life. We spent 57 beautiful, wonderful, loving years together, which I will treasure forever,” her husband, David Christian, said. “I’ve been with Katherine since I was 19 years old. The night she died, I saw that the moon was exactly half-full, just as I am now… half of what I’ve been my entire adult life.”

Helmond was known for stealing the show when she was on screen in “Who’s the Boss?” and “Soap.” She performed as an actress for nearly five decades and was nominated for multiple Emmy Awards. She also won two Golden Globes in 1981 and 1989. The Globes were won for her work on “Soap,” where she played lovably naive Jessica Tate, and “Who’s the Boss,” where Helmond portrayed the feisty mother Mona Robinson.

In addition to her well-known television roles, Helmond also appeared in films and on stage. She earned a Tony Award in 1973 for her performance in Eugene O’Neill’s “The Great God Brown.” She also appeared in the films “Time Bandits,” “Brazil,” “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and had a voice role for the animated Pixar film “Cars.”

Helmond’s fellow actors and celebrities have spoken fondly of her following her death. Tony Danza called the actress a “national treasure” and said “no words can measure my love.” Similarly, Alyssa Milano stated that Helmond was “beautiful, kind, funny, gracious, compassionate” and “an instrumental part of my life.” Joe Mantegna also said that Helmond was “a joy and an inspiration in my career and life.”

There will be a memorial for Helmond’s family and friends, but no details are available yet. There is no doubt, however, that Helmond will be missed by those who knew her on screen as well as those who knew her best.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Karl Lagerfeld, creative designer of Chanel for 36 years, died in Paris on Tuesday, February 21, 2019. He was 85 years old at the time of his death.

Lagerfeld served as the creative director for Chanel for 36 years. This was wildly unusual as most designers are only given a maximum of three years to make a design work. Lagerfeld, however, defied the odds. He revived Chanel after taking the reins in 1983 and reinterpreted the tweed skirt suits, quilted handbags and little black dresses that had made the brand famous through a variety of lenses including hip-hop and California surfers.

In addition to reviving the clothing of Chanel, Lagerfeld became known for his lavish Grand Palais sets he conceived of for Chanel’s six annual collections. The most memorable were probably either the Spring 2012 show when Florence Welch sang on the half-shell or when he had a giant iceberg shipped from Scandinavia for the Fall 2010 show. Among his other sets were a rocket ship, a supermarket stocked solely with Chanel products and a reproduction of the Eiffel Tower. Lagerfeld also took his ideas on the road and pioneered the concept of a traveling pre-season show. The so-called Karl caravan made trips to Versailles, France; West Lothian, Scotland; Dallas, Texas; Seoul, South Korea and Havana, Cuba.

In addition to being the successor to the famous Coco Chanel, Lagerfeld also served as the creative director for Fendi’s fur and ready-to-wear pieces starting in 1965. Prior to this, he also served as the head designer at Jean Patou and won the International Wool Secretariat in the coat category at the age of 21. He also launched the Metiers d’Art concept in 2002, and there are now 26 maisons including Lesage, Lemarie and Goossens.

Lagerfeld is certainly a superstar in the fashion world, and it will miss him terribly. The show, however, must go on. The name of his inevitable successor was rumored and debated for some time, but Chanel announced that his right hand woman, Virginie Viard, would take over the creative work Lagerfeld left unfinished. Only time will tell if she can fill the shoes Lagerfeld left behind.

Wikimedia Commons

Wikimedia Commons

Yechiel Eckstein died suddenly on Monday, February 11, 2019, in his home in Jerusalem. The 67 year old rabbi was best known for founding the International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (IFCJ). Rabbi Eckstein was inspired to start the group by God’s promise to bless those who bless Israel in Genesis 12:3. In order to enable Christians and Jews alike to do exactly that, Eckstein raised more than $1.4 billion for various projects in the Holy Land.

Through his fellowship, Eckstein engaged more than half a million people across well over 6,500 churches. Most of the money he raised came from evangelicals, but he also helped more than 730,000 Jews move back to Israel. Among those returning to their ancestral homeland with the help of IFCJ was Eckstein himself. The rabbi moved to Jerusalem in 2002, just under 20 years after he began IFCJ.

Christians largely embraced IFCJ, but for years Jews remained suspicious that Christians would use the program to try and convert large numbers of Jews. Eckstein, however, worked for decades to build trust and friendship between the two groups and used their shared concern over the Holy Land as a foundation.

“Jews started to realized that [the Christians] were friends of Israel,” Eckstein himself said. “[The Christians] are friends of Israel, they are giving them money for their projects.”

Both Christians and Jews noticed how Eckstein worked to build bridges throughout his life in order to help the Holy Land. “Through IFCJ, Eckstein has constructed a bridge linking evangelicals, Jews and Israel,” Christianity Today said of Eckstein in 2009. “He has been a trailblazer on an uncharted path of showing ways the two faiths can cooperate on behalf of shared biblical concerns. He has brought evangelical and Jewish politicians together in Washington, D.C.  [and] spoken out against religious persecution abroad.”

“Israel and the Jewish people have long played a key role in the religious imagination of many evangelical Protestants,” said David Neff, former CT editor-in-chief. “Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein knew how to help us turn that into concrete action, channeling out affection for the Jewish people into resettlement efforts for Russian Jews and other philanthropic projects…More than any other Jewish leader I have known, he had an intuitive sense for relating to evangelicals.”

Rabbi Shmuley Boteach spoke highly of Eckstein as well saying his fellow rabbi had done “incalculable good.” Following Eckstein’s death, Israeli politician Dov Lipman said, “A heart that gave and gave and gave stopped working…May his memory be a source of blessing for all who knew him and were touched by him.”

There are certainly many prayers being offered for him tonight from two of the greatest religions in the world, and Eckstein earned them all.