By Rachel E. Greenspan
July 25, 2019

As people mourned Luke Perry’s passing after suffering a massive stroke, Leonardo DiCaprio, his recent co-star, was grieving right along with his fans, too.

“When I heard that news it was really heartbreaking,” he said recently.

Before Perry died in March at age 52, the late Beverly Hills, 90210 star filmed a scene with DiCaprio for Quentin Tarantino‘s new movie Once Upon a Time … in Hollywood, which opens Friday. DiCaprio reflected on that experience in a roundtable interview with Tarantino and co-stars Brad Pitt and Margot Robbie for Entertainment Weekly.

“I was immediately struck by his kindness,” DiCaprio said in the interview. Pitt echoed the sweet sentiment, adding that Perry was an “incredibly generous man.”

Perry quickly became the heartthrob of the ’90s with his role as Dylan McKay in Beverly Hills, 90210, which ran from 1990 to 2000. As for DiCaprio, his fame came around the same time, when he starred in Romeo and Juliet and Titanic in 1996 and 1997, respectively.

But DiCaprio’s celebrity doesn’t make him immune to the effects of star power. “I remember being in my teens and he was the manifestation of the new [James] Dean on television and everyone was crazy about him,” DiCaprio said, adding that when they shot the Once Upon a Time scene together, “I felt this overwhelming feeling of being star-struck.” When Perry was on set for the film, he said “there was this immediate excitement.”

The Oscar winner, 44, also recalled how he and Perry reflected on their parallel lives as stars living in Los Angeles.

Perry spent the final years of his life playing Archie Andrews’ father on Riverdale, the TV series based on the Archie comics — and DiCaprio said Perry’s kindness, along with their intimate conversation, “really affected” him.

Write to Rachel E. Greenspan at rachel.greenspan@time.com.

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