Family & Companions
From the moment she was born with the proverbial silver spoon in her mouth, Victoria "Tori" Spelling seemingly lived a fantasy life all young girls could only dream of. After being raised in the largest home in Los Angeles - albeit in the shadow of her famous father, producer Aaron Spelling, whose first love was always his iconic résumé of TV hits - Spelling would enter the public consciousness as the virginal Donna Martin on the teen soap phenomenon, "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox, 1990-2000). However the young actress endured the high price of fame with charges of nepotism that she rarely lived down during her run on one of her father's biggest series. During the show's decade-long run, Spelling managed to step out of daddy's shadow as well as Donna Martin's by landing critically lauded roles in the indie films "The House of Yes" (1997) and "Trick" (1999), proving she could, indeed, act. Spelling would go on to star as herself in "So NoTORIous" (VH1, 2006), a semi-fictional show based on the often crazy life she had led. But the show's brief run was bittersweet for Spelling who not only found herself in a very public battle with her mother, Candy Spelling over her onscreen depiction, but also mourned from afar the loss of her beloved father who died during the show's first season. The passage of time, a new love and a successful reality TV series would go far toward healing Spelling's pain and reputation, bringing happiness to the ultimate Hollywood child who grew up under the watchful eye of the public.
Born May 16, 1973 in Los Angeles to legendary television producer Aaron Spelling and Carol Jean Spelling, the future actress was raised in Beverly Hills and as a teenager, attended the exclusive Harvard-Westlake School. Growing up as the daughter of Hollywood's most successful TV producer, Spelling made appearances on many of her father's shows as a young girl. Her television debut came in 1981 on the series "Vega$" (ABC, 1978-1981). She later appeared in subsequent roles on "Fantasy Island" (ABC, 1978-1984), "The Love Boat" (ABC, 1977-1986), and "T.J. Hooker" (ABC, 1982-86). As a teenager, Spelling appeared appropriately in the film "Troop Beverly Hills" (1989) and later, on a number of episodes of the teen series "Saved by the Bell" (NBC, 1989-1993).
In 1990, at the age of 17, Spelling auditioned for her first regular television role on her father's teen drama, "Beverly Hills, 90210." Rumored to have auditioned under a different last name, Spelling won the role of naïve, virginal Donna Martin. Centered on a group of wealthy teenagers attending the fictional West Beverly High School, "90210" quickly became popular with viewers of all ages. As the show reached near cult status in the early 1990s, Spelling was placed uncomfortably under the media microscope. Hardly holding her own onscreen with more accomplished players like Luke Perry, Shannon Doherty and Jason Priestly, Spelling received a critical drubbing from critics year in and year out, with the charge of nepotism always working its way into the argument.
Shaking off the critics, Spelling worked hard to prove them wrong, paying her dues by taking on extra non-"90210" roles to hone her craft. Between seasons on her hit show, Spelling reprised Donna Martin on her father's spin-off series "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-99), as well as appeared in a number of television movies including "A Friend to Die For" (1994), "Awake to Danger" (1995), "Deadly Pursuits" (1996), and "Co-ed Call Girl" (1996). Taking a turn toward serious roles far removed from the pampered princess type, Spelling appeared opposite Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Parker Posey in the dark comedy "The House of Yes" in 1997. Her credible performance as a sweet young thing who meets her fiancé's crazy family garnered her some of her best critical reviews thus far. Though her acting skills had been harshly critiqued by characters in the horror flick, "Scream" (1995), the actress showed that she had a sense of humor about it by agreeing to a cameo role (being interviewed about the film-within-the-film) in the Wes Craven slasher sequel, "Scream 2" (1997). Next, Spelling played the quirky best friend in the romantic comedy "Trick" (1999), which also brought her more positive reviews for her onscreen work.
Wrapping "90210" after a decade-long run, Spelling continued to work on both the small and big screen. In 2001, Spelling appeared in the comedy spoof "Scary Movie 2." Next, Spelling branched out into stage work, appearing in the two-person L.A. production of "Maybe Baby, It's You" opposite playwright and future husband Charlie Shanian. The pair began dating during the production and later wed in a million-dollar ceremony at her father's famously huge Holmby Hills mansion in July, 2004. Much to the delight of the tabloids, the couple split after little over a year of marriage, with Spelling filing abruptly for divorce after falling for married actor Dean McDermott while shooting the television movie, "Mind Over Murder (2006) in 2005. The new couple announced their engagement in December 2005 and tied the knot in Fiji on May 6, 2006.
The actress went on to appear in the short-lived series "So Downtown" (2003), The WB comedy series "The Help" (2004) and the film "50 Ways to Leave Your Lover" (2004) opposite Poppy Montgomery and Paul Schneider. In 2006, Spelling also found herself back on series television; this time, playing herself in the VH1 scripted series "So NoTORIous" (2006). The show, based on her own life in the industry, managed to make fun of both her hereditary baggage as well as lampoon her long-time critics. As someone who was "in" on the joke of being Tori Spelling, the actress endeared herself to fans as someone with an incredible self-deprecating sense of humor.
Spelling and McDermott decided to bring their love affair to the small screen with "Tori & Dean: Inn Love" (Oxygen, 2006- ), an unscripted reality series about their attempt to renovate a bed-and-breakfast in Temecula, CA while coping with small town life and her impending pregnancy. They did not have to wait long for the baby; on March 13, 2007, Spelling gave birth to Liam, an event that served as the perfect finale for the show's first season. Meanwhile, Spelling was ordained a reverend online and performed a same-sex union on the front steps of their B&B, Chateau La Rue, before forty guests. Spelling said she was "honored" to officiate the ceremony, though she found the experience to be more nerve-racking than performing live theater or presenting at the Emmys.
Although Spelling's reality show had performed relatively well, her stint as a bed and breakfast proprietor proved to be less successful. For the third season of "Inn Love," the name of the show was officially changed in 2008 to "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood" when the couple abandoned Chateau La Rue and returned to the familiar surroundings of Beverly Hills. Amidst the upheaval in her relentlessly televised private life, Spelling managed to make two appearances in a pair of gay/bisexual-themed independent films - the H.P. Lovecraft-inspired horror feature, "Cthulhu" (2008), and the romantic comedy with a twist, "Kiss the Bride" (2008). Much to the delight of fans, she reprised her role as Donna Martin in a pair of 2009 episodes on the revamped "90210" (The CW, 2008-13). Buoyed by the continued success of "Home Sweet Hollywood," Spelling and her new home network launched the spin-off "Tori & Dean: sTORIbook Weddings" (Oxygen, 2011- ), where the titular couple regularly assisted one lucky bride-to-be in making her upcoming nuptials an event to remember.
Cast (Feature Film)
Producer (Feature Film)
Music (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Made debut TV appearance at age five on an episode of ABC's "Vega$"; show produced by her father Aaron Spelling
Made feature film debut as Jamie in "Troop Beverly Hills"
Landed breakthrough role as rich girl Donna Martin on hit Fox teen drama "Beverly Hills, 90210"
First TV-movie in starring role, "A Friend to Die For" (NBC)
Played herself in "Scream 2"
First adult feature role, "The House of Yes"
Won praise for supporting role as an aspiring actress in indie feature "Trick"
Appeared in the film spoof "Scary Movie 2"
Acted on stage in the L.A. production of "Maybe Baby, It's You"
Joined cast of UPN comedy "Me, Me, Me" about two New York social climbers
Played a version of herself in "So NoTORIous," a semi-autobiographical comedy for VH1
Starred with husband, Dean McDermott on reality show "Tori & Dean: Inn Love" (Oxygen)
Returned for another season with McDermott of newly titled "Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood" (Oxygen)
Released autobiography <i>sTori Telling</i>
Reprised role as Donna Martin on The CW series "90210"
Published second book <i>Mommywood</i>
Published third book <i>Uncharted TerriTORI</i>
Published the children's book <i>Presenting Tallulah</i>
Hosted "Craft Wars" (TLC)
Hosted the series "True Tori"
Voiced April in "Izzie's Way Home"
Starred in "The Last Sharknado: It's About Time"