Aaron Spelling

Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer. Some of his works include the TV programs Charlie's Angels (1976–81), The Love Boat (1977–86), Hart to Hart (1979–84), Dynasty (1981–89), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–2000), 7th Heaven (1996–2007), and Charmed (1998–2006).

Through his eponymous production company Spelling Television, Spelling holds the record as the most prolific television writer and producer in US television history, with 218 producer and executive producer credits.[1][2] Forbes ranked him the 11th top-earning deceased celebrity in 2009.[3]

Aaron Spelling
Aaron Spelling TWA ad photo
Spelling in 1965
BornApril 22, 1923
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedJune 23, 2006 (aged 83)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting placeHillside Memorial Park Cemetery
Alma materSouthern Methodist University
  • Actor
  • singer
  • dancer
  • television producer
  • writer

Personal life

Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas. He was the son of Pearl (née Wald) and David Spelling, Russian-Jewish immigrants.[4] His father worked as a tailor and changed his surname from Spurling to Spelling after immigrating to the United States.[5] Spelling had three brothers: Sam, Max, and Daniel, and a sister, Becky.[6]

At the age of eight, Spelling psychosomatically lost the use of his legs due to trauma caused by constant anti-semitic bullying from his schoolmates, and was confined to bed for a year. He made a full recovery.[7]

After attending Forest Avenue High School in Dallas, he served in the United States Army Air Corps as a pilot during World War II.

Spelling later graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1949, where he was a cheerleader.[8]

He married actress Carolyn Jones in 1953, in California. They divorced in 1964.[9] Spelling married Candy Gene (née Marer) in 1968. The couple had daughter Tori in 1973 and son Randy in 1978.[10]

In 1988, Spelling bought the 6-acre (2.4 ha) property of Bing Crosby's former Los Angeles house.[11] 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.[12][13] Spelling's widow Candy listed the home for sale in 2008 for $150 million.[13] Heiress Petra Ecclestone ultimately purchased the property for $85 million in 2011 through a brokered agreement that was developed by Brandon Davis, the brother of Jason Davis and grandson of wealthy industrialist, Marvin Davis.[14][15][16]


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 Dragnet (six episodes, 1953–55).[17] Spelling appeared in an episode of I Love Lucy ("Tennessee Bound", 1955)[17] and Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Breakdown", 1955).[17] He 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.)[18]

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.[19] Two years later, Spelling began to achieve considerable experience as a producer and additional credits as a script writer working on the Four Star 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.

In October 25, 1965, after his exit from Four Star Television as a staff writer prior to becoming a producer, Aaron Spelling formed his own company with Danny Thomas, Thomas Spelling Productions.[20][21][22][23]

Thomas-Spelling Productions was a television production company formed by comedian Danny Thomas and producer Aaron Spelling on April 15, 1966 as a partnership with 24 properties. Thomas continued his existing partnership, T&L Productions, with Sheldon Leonard.[24] The company adapted its name by July 18, 1966 when it announced the financial involvement of ABC with its first show, Range (later Rango), a half-hour comedy western starring Tim Conway.[25][26] and its rented space on Desilu Productions' Gower lot. ABC also picked up another show for a pilot, just in an outline treatment, in The Guns of Will Sonnett.[25] Thomas-Spelling Productions' active operations ended with the last season of The Mod Squad in 1972. Spelling formed a new partnership with Leonard Goldberg, Spelling-Goldberg Productions.

Beginning in 1965, Spelling began an award-winning legacy of producing successful television shows including The Mod Squad, The Rookies, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210 (which starred his daughter Tori), 7th Heaven, Charmed, Jane's House and Sunset Beach.[27] Spelling founded Spelling Entertainment in 1965, alongside partnerships with comedian/actor Danny Thomas (Thomas-Spelling Productions, 1966–1972), and television/film producer Leonard Goldberg (Spelling-Goldberg Productions, 1972–1986)[28] 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,[29] and Nicholas Hammond portrayed Spelling in television movie Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure.[30]

Death and legacy

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.

In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer.[31]

On June 23, 2006, Spelling died at The Manor, his estate in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, from complications of a stroke he suffered five days prior.[32][33] 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, episode, the last before the series finale, would be dedicated to Spelling.[34] 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.[35]

See also


  1. ^ Aaron Spelling on IMDb
  2. ^ Idato, Michael (September 19, 2005). "The Great Escape". The Sydney Morning Herald. SMH.com. Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved February 25, 2009.
  3. ^ Miller, Matthew (October 27, 2009). "Top-Earning Dead Celebrities". Forbes. Archived from the original on June 13, 2013.
  4. ^ "Spelling, Aaron". Encyclopedia.com. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
  5. ^ "A Look at Tori Spelling's Family Tree". Genealogymagazine.com. Archived from the original on October 19, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  6. ^ "AARON SPELLING BIOGRAPHY". Biography Channel. Archived October 25, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Aaron Spelling biography". NYTimes.com Movies & TV. The New York Times (All Movie Guide and Baseline). Archived from the original on June 26, 2012.
  8. ^ "Aaron Spelling and SMU - News and Communications - SMU". Smu.edu. Archived from the original on October 31, 2013. Retrieved October 18, 2013.
  9. ^ 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.
  10. ^ Aaron Spelling. Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2006.
  11. ^ "Spelling's Widow Fires Back at House Sale Reports". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2006.
  12. ^ Brown, Len (June 13, 2011). "UK Heiress Purchases Aaron Spelling Mega Mansion". Archived from the original on October 18, 2013.
  13. ^ a b Jose, Katharine (July 5, 2006). "Aaron Spelling's Widow Puts Infamous Mansion On Market For $150 Million..." Huffington Post. Archived from the original on July 6, 2006. Retrieved July 5, 2006.
  14. ^ Chung, Juliet; Jackson, Candace (June 14, 2011). "L.A. Mansion for U.K. Heiress". The Wall Street Journal. Archived from the original on October 2, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  15. ^ "Brandon Davis Key Person in Spelling Mansion Sale". TMZ. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  16. ^ "Petra Ecclestone, Candy Spelling, Aaron Spelling and the Spelling Mansion". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 14 November 2017.
  17. ^ a b c Aaron Spelling - IMDb, acting credits
  18. ^ "Aaron Spelling at IMDb". IMDb.
  19. ^ "First Case". Internet Movie Data Base. Archived from the original on April 3, 2012. Retrieved March 12, 2011.
  20. ^ "Spelling forms own production company" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications: 66. October 25, 1965. Retrieved September 1, 2017.
  21. ^ "Thomas/Spelling Productions". IMDb.
  22. ^ "A Prime-Time Life on Display By Candy Spelling". Huffington Post.
  23. ^ Josh Dean (2011). Encyclopedia of the Sixties: A Decade of Culture and Counterculture. ABC-CLIO. p. 629. ISBN 9780313329449.
  24. ^ "Spelling, Thomas join in TV production firm" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications: 10. April 18, 1966. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
  25. ^ a b Broadcasting, Dec 12, 1966, pg. 103 "Aaron Spelling -partner with Danny Thomas in Thomas/Spelling Productions and president, Aaron Spelling Productions."
  26. ^ Broadcasting, Jul 18, 1966, pg. 48
  27. ^ "Aaron Spelling Awards". IMDb.
  28. ^ "Aaron Spelling biography". biography.com. Archived November 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  29. ^ "Behind the Camera: The Unauthorized Story of "Charlie's Angels"". IMDB.com. Archived from the original on March 26, 2012. Retrieved March 8, 2004.
  30. ^ "Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure". Variety. December 28, 2004.
  31. ^ "Prime time patriarch". Oralcancerfoundation.org. Archived from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2001.
  32. ^ Carter, Bill (June 24, 2006). "Aaron Spelling, Prolific Television Producer, Dies at 83". The New York Times. Archived from the original on April 29, 2011. Retrieved June 24, 2006.
  33. ^ "TV innovator Aaron Spelling dies at 83". MSNBC. June 26, 2006. Archived November 9, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  34. ^ "7th Heaven: Will Camdens Reunite for Last Episode?". TVSeriesFinale.com. Retrieved April 5, 2007.
  35. ^ "10th Season Pick-Up Earns "7th Heaven" A Place In Television History". Time Warner. Archived from the original on February 16, 2005. Retrieved February 15, 2005.

External links

A Taste of Evil

A Taste of Evil is a 1971 American made-for-television psychological horror film directed by John Llewellyn Moxey and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Barbara Parkins and Roddy McDowall.

Beach Patrol (film)

Beach Patrol is a 1979 American made-for-television crime drama film originally aired on ABC. It stars Robin Strand, Jonathan Frakes, and Christie DeLisle.The film was a pilot for a television series that did not sell but which still screened as a standalone film.

Casino (1980 film)

Casino is a 1980 American made-for-television adventure film directed by Don Chaffey and starring *Mike Connors, Barry Van Dyke and Gene Evans. It originally premiered on ABC on August 1, 1980.

Congratulations, It's a Boy!

Congratulations, It's a Boy! is a 1971 American made-for-television comedy film directed by William A. Graham and starring Bill Bixby and Diane Baker. It originally premiered as the ABC Movie of the Week on September 21, 1971.

Crowhaven Farm

Crowhaven Farm is a 1970 American made-for-television supernatural horror film directed by Walter Grauman and starring Hope Lange, Paul Burke and John Carradine. It originally aired as the ABC Movie of the Week on November 24, 1970.

Cruise Into Terror

Cruise Into Terror is a 1978 American made-for-television horror film starring Dirk Benedict, John Forsythe, Frank Converse, Ray Milland and Stella Stevens. Directed by Bruce Kessler, it originally premiered February 3, 1978 on ABC.

Cry Panic

Cry Panic is a 1974 American made-for-television mystery film directed by James Goldstone and starring John Forsythe, Earl Holliman and Ralph Meeker. The film premiered as the ABC Movie of the Week on February 6, 1974 and was co-produced by Aaron Spelling and Leonard Goldberg.

Death Cruise

Death Cruise is a 1974 American made-for-television mystery film starring Richard Long (his final film appearance), Polly Bergen, Edward Albert, Kate Jackson and Celeste Holm. It was directed by Ralph Senensky and aired as the ABC Movie of the Week on October 30, 1974.

International Airport (film)

International Airport is a 1985 American made-for-television drama film starring Gil Gerard and Connie Sellecca. It was directed by Charles S. Dubin and Don Chaffey and executive produced by Aaron Spelling and Douglas S. Cramer.

It was called a "combination of Airport and The Love Boat." It was a pilot for a proposed TV series which did not eventuate; however the film screened as a stand-alone movie.

Love Hate Love

Love Hate Love is a 1971 American made-for-television drama film starring Ryan O'Neal.

Rich Men, Single Women

Rich Men, Single Women is a 1990 American made-for-television romantic comedy film directed by Elliot Silverstein.

Run, Simon, Run

Run, Simon, Run (also known as The Tradition of Simon Zuniga) is a 1970 American made-for-television thriller film from Aaron Spelling starring Burt Reynolds.It featured the last performance of Inger Stevens.

Satan's School for Girls (1973 film)

Satan's School for Girls is a 1973 American made-for-television horror film directed by David Lowell Rich, and produced by Aaron Spelling. The film has been named as one of the most memorable television movies of the 1970s.

Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole

Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole is a 1972 American made-for-television drama film which was the final acting appearance of Susan Hayward. It was directed by Jud Taylor.

Spelling Television

Spelling Television Inc. was a television production company that went through several name changes. It was originally called Aaron Spelling Productions, then Spelling Entertainment Inc. and eventually part of Spelling Entertainment Group. The company produced popular shows such as The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210, 7th Heaven, Melrose Place and Charmed. The company was founded by television producer Aaron Spelling on October 25, 1965. The company is currently an in-name-only unit of CBS Television Studios. A related company, Spelling-Goldberg Productions, co-existed during a portion of the same time period and produced other well-known shows such as Charlie's Angels, Starsky & Hutch, and Fantasy Island but these series are not part of the modern day library now owned by CBS. Another related company, The Douglas S. Cramer Company co-existed during a portion of the same time period (held by Douglas S. Cramer, who held the position as Executive VP), produced shows like Wonder Woman, Joe and Sons, and Bridget Loves Bernie and TV movies like Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway, but these series are almost neither series or TV movies are not part of the modern day library now owned by CBS, almost nor airing on ABC.

The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped

The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped is a 1974 American made-for-television comedy film starring Karen Valentine, Richard Long, Tom Bosley and Farrah Fawcett. It was directed by Bruce Bilson and aired as the ABC Movie of the Week on January 29, 1974.

The Mod Squad (film)

The Mod Squad is a 1999 American mystery film directed by Scott Silver and starring Claire Danes, Omar Epps and Giovanni Ribisi. It is based on the popular television show of the same name. Peggy Lipton and Clarence Williams III who played Julie and Linc in the original series, make cameo appearances.

The Old Man Who Cried Wolf

The Old Man Who Cried Wolf is a 1970 American made-for-television thriller film directed by Walter Grauman and starring Edward G. Robinson, Martin Balsam and Diane Baker. It originally aired as the ABC Movie of the Week on October 13, 1970.

The Reluctant Heroes

The Reluctant Heroes is a made-for-TV movie and war film set in the period of the Korean War. It was directed by Robert Day and starred Ken Berry, Jim Hutton, Trini López, Don Marshall, Ralph Meeker, Cameron Mitchell and Warren Oates.

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