With his red hair and aquiline nose, Perlich has carved a career as a quirky character player. After dropping out of high school, he landed a bit part in John Hughes's ode to suburban youth, "Ferris Bueller's Day Off" (1986). Perlich has worked steadily (an average of three films per year), portraying an assortment of wayward youths. His nervous demeanor and unlikely matinee-idol looks (in contrast to "Barbie-doll" co-stars Matt Dillon, Kelly Lynch and Heather Graham) in Gus Van Sant's disturbing "Drugstore Cowboy" (1989) added gravity to his portrayal of a young drug hustler. He went on to give another fine, tragic performance as Walker, a young junkie forced into becoming a snitch in Lili Zanuck's "Rush" (1991).