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Aaron Spelling

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Also Known As: Died: June 23, 2006
Born: April 22, 1923 Cause of Death: stroke
Birth Place: Dallas, Texas, USA Profession: producer, screenwriter, talent scout, playwright, actor, director, roadie for a band

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A title holder in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific producer in television history, Aaron Spelling quietly oversaw some five decades of popular programming that ranged from "The Mod Squad" (ABC, 1968-1973) and "Starsky and Hutch" (ABC, 1975-79) to "Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981), "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986), "Dynasty" (ABC, 1981-89), "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) and "7th Heaven" (The WB, 1996-2007). An aspiring playwright, Spelling broke into television in the late 1950s, penning scripts for live television before moving into production in the early 1960s. Spelling's most notable series were marked by the simplicity of their plots and characters and the attractive performers he hired to populate them. Critics derided his work as shallow, but audiences loved his shows, which kept their producer active well into his eighth decade. Later known as the father of "90210" star Tori Spelling, the sweet-natured producer's affection for a juicy story, told with verve by an appealing cast, gave his work a lasting immortality that endured long after his controversial passing in 2006.

A title holder in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific producer in television history, Aaron Spelling quietly oversaw some five decades of popular programming that ranged from "The Mod Squad" (ABC, 1968-1973) and "Starsky and Hutch" (ABC, 1975-79) to "Charlie's Angels" (ABC, 1976-1981), "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986), "Dynasty" (ABC, 1981-89), "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000) and "7th Heaven" (The WB, 1996-2007). An aspiring playwright, Spelling broke into television in the late 1950s, penning scripts for live television before moving into production in the early 1960s. Spelling's most notable series were marked by the simplicity of their plots and characters and the attractive performers he hired to populate them. Critics derided his work as shallow, but audiences loved his shows, which kept their producer active well into his eighth decade. Later known as the father of "90210" star Tori Spelling, the sweet-natured producer's affection for a juicy story, told with verve by an appealing cast, gave his work a lasting immortality that endured long after his controversial passing in 2006.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) Mr. Fearless
2.
 Kismet (1955) Beggar
3.
 Wyoming Renegades (1955) Petie Carver
4.
 The Bamboo Prison (1955) Skinny
5.
 Mad at the World (1955) Willie Hanson
6.
 Target Zero (1955) Pfc. Strangler
7.
 Alaska Seas (1954) Knifer
8.
 Black Widow (1954) Mr. Oliver
9.
 Three Young Texans (1954) Catur
10.
 Vicki (1953) Harry Williams
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Texas
1942:
Served in US Air Force; worked as a correspondent for STARS AND STRIPES; wounded by sniper's bullet in left hand and knee
:
Directed several plays at Playhouse and Margo Jones Theatre in Dallas, Texas, and the Players Theatre in Los Angeles
:
Wrote his first play, "Thorns in the Road", based on his nightmarish WWII experiences; staged play with his "mail-room guys"--a group of fledgling actors who worked in the same office building as he did when he arrived in Los Angeles
1953:
Acted in first feature, "Vicki"
1956:
Sold his first script to Dick Powell's "Zane Grey Theater"
1957:
Became producer at Four Star
:
Created first TV series, "Johnny Ringo" (CBS); also producer and writer
1960:
Produced first feature, "Guns of the Timberland"; also scripted
1961:
Produced the episode of "The Dick Powell Show" that introduced the character of Amos Burke
:
Executive produced "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (CBS)
1963:
Served as producer of the ABC series "Burke's Law" and its 1965-1966 revamp "Amos Burke, Secret Agent"
:
Worked as one of the directors on the sitcom, "The Smothers Brothers Show" (CBS)
:
Operated (with Danny Thomas) Thomas-Spelling Productions; produced such shows as "The Danny Thomas Hour" (NBC, 1967-1968), "The Guns of Will Sonnett" (ABC, 1967-1969) and "The Mod Squad" (ABC, 1968-1973)
1969:
TV-movie producing debut "The Ballad of Andy Crocker" (ABC)
1970:
Received first Emmy nomination for "Mod Squad" (ABC)
1971:
Produced over 10 made-for-TV movies for ABC
:
With Leonard Goldberg, formed and served as co-president of Spelling-Goldberg Productions
:
Served as a contributing writer to the ABC police drama "The Rookies"; also was one of the executive producers
:
With Goldberg, executive produced the hit ABC cop drama "Starsky and Hutch"
:
Had a hit with the ABC police drama "S.W.A.T."
:
Received three Emmy nominations for the drama series "Family" (ABC)
:
Served as one of the executive producers of "Charlie's Angels"; reteamed with "Rookies" star Kate Jackson
1976:
Executive produced the acclaimed TV-movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC), starring John Travolta
:
Served as president of Aaron Spelling Productions, Inc., Los Angeles
:
With Douglas S Cramer, executive produced the long-running anthology series "The Love Boat" (ABC)
:
Had success with Cramer as executive producers of "Fantasy Island" (ABC)
:
Retemed with Goldberg as executive producer of the genial detective series "Hart to Hart", co-starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers
1979:
With Danny Thomas, was executive producer of the ABC TV-movie "The Return of the Mod Squad"
:
Moved into the genre of primetime soaps with "Dynasty"; one of four executive producers
1981:
With Cramer, was executive producer of the ABC TV-movie about anorexia "The Best Little Girl in the World", starring Jennifer Jason Leigh
1982:
Received Emmy nomination for "Dynasty"
:
Served as an executive producer on "T.J. Hooker"
1983:
Had big screen hit with "Mr. Mom"
:
Had another success with the anthology "Hotel" (ABC)
:
Rose to chairman and chief executive officer Aaron Spelling Productions, Inc.; took his company public in 1986
1986:
First venture into the miniseries genre "Crossings" (CBS)
1986:
Executive produced a series of "Love Boat" TV-movies
1988:
Merged company with Worldvision Enterprises into Spelling Inc.; named chairman of Spelling Inc.
1989:
Won Emmy for the three-hour drama about the atom bomb, "Day One"; aired on CBS
:
Scored a hit with "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox); daughter Tori featured as one of the regulars; son Randy had recurring role
1991:
Revisited another of his successes with the miniseries "Dynasty: The Reunion" (ABC)
1991:
Last feature credit for eight years, "Soapdish"
:
Fox's "Melrose Place" also proved to be a hit
1992:
Stumbled with "2000 Malibu Road", a CBS series co-executive produced with Joel Schumacher
:
Formed Torand Productions Inc.
1993:
With E Duke Vincent, served as executive producer of the acclaimed Emmy-winning HBO movie about the AIDS crisis "And the Band Played On"
:
Remake of "Burke's Law" aired on CBS
1994:
Oversaw the syndicated efforts "Heaven Help Us" and "Robin's Hoods"
:
Ran into a spate of bad luck with "Models Inc." (Fox), "Madman of the People" (NBC) and "Winnetka Road" (NBC)
1996:
Was one of the executive producers of the CBS miniseries "A Season in Purgatory"
:
Attempted to translate his primetime sopa opera success to the fledling The WB with "Savannah"
1996:
Served as one of the executive producers of "Malibu Shores", a short-lived NBC serial featuring son Randy
1996:
Had surprise success with the family drama "7th Heaven" on The WB
:
Ventured into daytime television with the NBC soap opera "Sunset Beach"; son Randy was featured in a regular role
1998:
Honored by ABC with "An All Star Party For Aaron Spelling"
:
Revived "The Love Boat" for UPN
1998:
Created the WB series "Charmed" reuniting him with "90210" star Shannen Doherty; Doherty left the show in 2001
1999:
Served as an executive producer of the feature version of "The Mod Squad"; last project under the film production arm of Spelling Entertainment
2000:
Produced the NBC fall primetime serial "Titans"
2004:
Executive produced the short-lived WB drama "Summerland"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Sorbonne, University of Paris: - 1945 - 1946
Southern Methodist University: Dallas , Texas - 1949

Notes

Although many sources list his birth year as 1928, those that say 1923 are probably correct. A 1928 birthday would have made him a 14-year-old war correspondent during World War II.

Spelling successfully underwent treatment for a throat lesion in summer 2001.

Spelling received a tribute at the 1991 People's Choice Awards (aired on March 17, 1992) citing his "innate sense of the public taste."

Spelling's very occasional feature film productions have included "Baby Blue Marine" (1975), "Mr. Mom" (1983), "'night, Mother" (1986), "Surrender" (1987), "Loose Cannons" (1989) and "Soapdish" (1991).

Reflecting on the premise of one his most popular TV series, "Charlie's Angels", Spelling mused: "We thought it was great camp--how can you really believe there were three young private detectives making $500 a week, wearing $10,000 Nolan Miller wardrobes and working for a man who was just a voice on the telephone?"

"I just got tired of the critics saying that I was the master of schlock. It didn't bother me until my kids began growing up and reading it. Well, I'm proud of those entertainment shows they call schlock." --Quoted in The New York Times, October 14, 1991.

"I came [to L.A. in 1953] from Dallas driving an old Plymouth. I had to eventually trade down--I got $150 in cash so I could live. [Now worth an estimated $235 million, Spelling is building a 57,000-square-foot house in Beverly Hills.] I have a recurring dream, my wife can vouch for this. I dream that I wake up and I'm back on Browder Street in Dallas, and none of this has ever really happened. Maybe that's why I'm so thin, because I sweat a lot, but that is my dream. That it's all a fantasy."

He was decorated with a Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster.

Honored with the NAACP Image Award at least six times (begining in 1970), a record unmatched by any other Hollywood producer

He was named Man of the Year by the Publicists Guild of America in 1971.

He was named Man of the Year by the B'nai B'rith Beverly Hills Chapter (1972 and 1985).

Named Humanitarian of the Year in 1983

In 1988, Spelling received the Winston Churchill Medal of Wisdom, a private humanitarian award previously given to Dwight Eisenhower, Gregory Peck and Bob Hope.

Honored with the Scopus Award by the American Friends of Hebrew University (Jerusalem) in 1993

Inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences' Hall of Fame in 1996

"Nowadays, people always say, how come he's doing such young shows? But they never mention 'The Mod Squad'. I was very proud of that show. It's the first time an African-American guy kissed a white girl, and they said, we'll lose our sponsors, and I said, well I'm not cutting it or I'll leave the show. What did I care? I wasn't married. I didn't have children then. And you know what? We didn't get a single letter, not a single sponsor dropped out, 'cause they realised it was not a sexual kiss but a friendship kiss. And I should say that in the show's five years, [the characters] never carried a gun or fired a gun." --Aaron Spelling quoted in Us, December 1996.

"I kind of got kicked out of Texas. I directed a play for a black high school while I was going to SMU, and [as a result] my father was fired from Sears. My sister went to see the people at Sears and said, 'If Aaron left town and he was never to return, would they hire [my father] back?' He was a good tailor, and they did. I was anxious to leave anyway." --Spelling quoted in Soap Opera Digest, October 7, 1997.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Carolyn Jones. Actor. Married in 1953; divorced in 1965; died of cancer on August 3, 1983; perhaps best recalled as Morticia on the ABC series "The Addams Family".
wife:
Candy Spelling. Born on September 20, 1945; married on November 23, 1968; mother of Tori and Randy.

Family close complete family listing

father:
David Spelling. Tailor. Worked for Sears.
mother:
Pearl Spelling.
brother:
Sam Spelling.
brother:
Max Spelling.
sister:
Becky Spelling.
brother:
Daniel Spelling.
daughter:
Victoria Davey Spelling. Actor. Born on May 16, 1973; co-star of father's "Beverly Hills, 90210"; claimed to have auditioned for the show without her father's knowledge; supposedly nicknamed 'Tori' at suggestion of Barbara Stanwyck.
son:
Randall Gene Spelling. Actor. Born on October 9, 1976; made TV acting debut in NBC pilot "Malibu Shores" (1995) produced by his father; later appeared on father's soap "Sunset Beach".
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life" St. Martin's Press

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