Spelling in 1965.
April 22, 1923|
Dallas, Texas, United States
|Died||June 23, 2006
Los Angeles, California, United States
|Occupation||Actor, singer, dancer, television producer, writer|
|Spouse(s)||Carolyn Jones (1953–1964)
Candy Spelling (1968–2006; his death)
Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer. As of 2009, Spelling, through his eponymous production company Spelling Television, holds the record as the most prolific television writer and producer in US television history, with 218 producer and executive producer credits. Forbes ranked him the 11th top-earning deceased celebrity in 2009.
Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas. He was the son of Pearl (née Wald) and David Spelling, who were Jewish emigrants from Poland. His father worked as a tailor and changed his surname from Spurling to Spelling after emigrating to the United States. Spelling had three brothers: Sam, Max, and Daniel, and a sister, Becky.
At the age of eight, Spelling psychosomatically lost the use of his legs due to trauma caused by constant bullying from his schoolmates, and was confined to bed for a year. He made a full recovery.
After attending Forest Avenue High School in Dallas, he served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II. Decades later, his daughter Tori Spelling described a series of events that changed his life during his time in the U.S. Air Force.
I inherited my fear of flying from my father, who came by it honestly. He served in the U.S. Air Force and was on his way from Fort Worth, Texas, to an air base in Ohio when he came down with the flu. The flight surgeon pulled him off the plane -- he was too sick to fly. That plane to Ohio crashed, and everyone on it was killed. My father rented a car and drove straight from Fort Worth to Dallas to see his parents. But when he entered his childhood home, his mother opened the door and immediately fainted. The authorities had telephoned to tell the family that my father was dead. When she came to, she made him swear he'd never fly again. He promised. He was eighteen, and he never got on an airplane again.
In 1988, Spelling bought the 6-acre (2.4 ha) property of Bing Crosby's former Los Angeles house. He demolished the property and built a 123-room home on the lot in 1991. Known as "The Manor", it has 56,500 square feet (5,250 m2) of floor space and is the largest single-family home in Los Angeles. Spelling's widow Candy listed the home for sale in 2008 for $150 million; heiress Petra Ecclestone ultimately purchased the property for $85 million in 2011.
Spelling made his first appearance as an actor in a film as Harry Williams in Vicki, directed by Harry Horner, in 1953. That same year, he appeared in the TV series I Led Three Lives and in two episodes of Dragnet. Spelling appeared in an episode of I Love Lucy in 1955 ("Tennessee Bound"), and continued to appear in films and TV (often uncredited) over 25 times by 1957, appearing briefly as an actor in 1963, 1995, and 1998 (all uncredited.)
Spelling sold his first script to Jane Wyman Presents in 1954. He guest starred that same year as a dogcatcher in the premiere episode of the CBS situation comedy, Willy, starring June Havoc as a young lawyer in New Hampshire, who later relocates to New York City to represent a vaudeville troupe. Two years later, Spelling began to achieve considerable experience as a producer and additional credits as a script writer working on the CBS television series Zane Grey Theater, which aired between 1956 and 1961. Of the 149 episodes in that series, he wrote no fewer than twenty of the teleplays and produced a significant number of others.
Beginning in 1968, Spelling began producing successful television shows including The Mod Squad, The Rookies, Charlie's Angels, The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210 (which starred his daughter Tori), 7th Heaven, Charmed, Jane's House and Sunset Beach. Spelling founded Spelling Entertainment in 1972. He produced the unsuccessful situation comedy The San Pedro Beach Bums in 1977.
In 2004, Spelling was portrayed in two television movies: Dan Castellaneta portrayed Spelling in Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of Charlie's Angels, and Nicholas Hammond portrayed Spelling in television movie Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure.
Death and legacy
On June 18, 2006, Spelling suffered a severe stroke at The Manor, his estate in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. He died at his estate on June 23, 2006 from complications of the stroke, at the age of 83. A private funeral was held several days later, and Spelling was entombed in a mausoleum in Culver City's Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery.
On August 27, 2006, Spelling was posthumously honored at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards by former employees Joan Collins, Stephen Collins, Heather Locklear, Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith.
On April 4, 2007, it was announced that 7th Heaven's May 13, 2007 series finale would be dedicated to Aaron Spelling. When 7th Heaven ended its run, it was touted by the network as being Spelling's longest-running series and the longest-running "family drama" in American television history.
On September 15, 1978, Spelling was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6667 Hollywood Blvd. In 1996, he was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame.
- Aaron Spelling at the Internet Movie Database
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- Spelling, Aaron; Graham, Jefferson (1996). A Prime-Time Life: An Autobiography. New York: St. Martin's Press. p. 51. ISBN 978-0-312-14268-1.
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- "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of "Charlie's Angels"". IMDB.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2004.
- "Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure". Variety. December 28, 2004.
- "Prime time patriarch". Oralcancerfoundation.org. Archived from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2001.
- Carter, Bill (June 24, 2006). "Aaron Spelling, Prolific Television Producer, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Archived from the original on July 8, 2006. Retrieved June 24, 2006.
- "TV innovator Aaron Spelling dies at 83". MSNBC. June 26, 2006. Archived November 9, 2012 at the Wayback Machine
- "7th Heaven: Will Camdens Reunite for Last Episode?". TVSeriesFinale.com. Archived from the original on April 10, 2007. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
- "10th Season Pick-Up Earns "7th Heaven" A Place In Television History". TimeWarner.com. Archived from the original on February 16, 2005. Retrieved February 15, 2005.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Aaron Spelling.|
- "Spelling's final print interview". The Sydney Morning Herald. September 2004. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012.
- Aaron Spelling at the Internet Movie Database
- Aaron Spelling interview video at the Archive of American Television