Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923 – June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer and occasional actor. His productions included the TV series Family (1976–1980), Charlie's Angels (1976–1981), The Love Boat (1977–1986), Hart to Hart (1979–1984), Dynasty (1981–1989), Beverly Hills, 90210 (1990–2000), Melrose Place (1992–1999), 7th Heaven (1996–2007), and Charmed (1998–2006). He also served as producer of The Mod Squad (1968–1973), The Rookies (1972–1976), and Sunset Beach (1997–1999).
|Born||April 22, 1923|
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
|Died||June 23, 2006 (aged 83)|
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Resting place||Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery|
|Alma mater||Southern Methodist University|
|Occupation(s)||Film and television producer|
(m. 1953; div. 1964)
Through his production company Spelling Television, Spelling holds the record as the most prolific television 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, Russian Jewish immigrants. His father worked as a tailor and changed his surname from Spurling to Spelling after emigrating to the United States. Spelling was the youngest of five children. He had three older brothers: Maxwell “Max” Seltzer (circa 1909–?), Sam Spelling (1916–2001) and Daniel Spelling (1921–2009) and an older half-sister, Becky Seltzer Giller (1910–1978).
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.
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.
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). Spelling appeared in episode 112 of I Love Lucy ("Tennessee Bound," season 4, 1955) and Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Breakdown", 1955)., as Weed Pindle in Gunsmoke's season one, episode 35, "The Guitar" (1956); 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.)
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 gained experience as a producer and additional credits as a script writer working for Four Star Television on the series Zane Grey Theater, which aired between 1956 and 1961. Of the 149 episodes in that series, he wrote 20 of the teleplays and produced many others. Spelling produced Burke's Law while at Four Star. The show was the first success for Spelling and pioneered the multiple guest star format, later seen on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. 
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. 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 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. 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 producing successful television shows including The Mod Squad, The Rookies, Family, Charlie's Angels, Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills, 90210 (which starred his daughter Tori), Melrose Place, 7th Heaven, Charmed, Jane's House and Sunset Beach. 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) 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.
Spelling married actress Carolyn Jones in 1953, in California when he was 30 and she was 23. They divorced in 1964. He briefly dated actress Jill Haworth when he was 42 and she was 19. Spelling married Candy Gene (née Marer) in 1968 when he was 45 and she was 23. The couple had daughter Tori in 1973 and son Randy in 1978.
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 as of 2006 was 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 through a brokered agreement that was developed by Brandon Davis, the brother of Jason Davis and grandson of wealthy industrialist, Marvin Davis.
In 1992, Candy, Spelling's second wife, commissioned pinball manufacturer Data East to produce a personalized table as a gift to Spelling. The game, a modified version of Data East's Lethal Weapon 3 table, has since appeared publicly at collector's expos.
Legacy and deathEdit
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 1983, he was accorded the NAACP Humanitarian Award for his monetary donation that permitted a 21-year-old's heart transplant operation.
In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer.
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. He also suffered from Alzheimer's disease. 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.
7th Heaven's May 13, 2007, episode, the last before the series finale, was dedicated to 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.
Spelling was a producer in all films unless otherwise noted.
|1960||Guns of the Timberland|
|1974||California Split||Executive producer|
|1976||Baby Blue Marine|
|1983||Mr. Mom||Executive producer|
|Three O'Clock High||Executive producer|
|Cross My Heart||Associate producer|
|1999||The Mod Squad||Executive producer|
|2000||Charlie's Angels||Executive producer||Final film as a producer|
- As writer
|1960||Guns of the Timberland|
|One Foot in Hell|
- As an actor
|1954||Three Young Texans||Catur|
|Alaska Seas||The Knifer|
|Black Widow||Mr. Oliver||Uncredited|
|The Bamboo Prison||Skinny|
|1955||Wyoming Renegades||Petie Carver|
|I Love Lucy||Gas Station Man|
|Mad at the World||Willie Hanson|
|Target Zero||Pfc. Strangler||Uncredited|
|1957||The Spirit of St. Louis||Mr. Fearless|
|1961||The DuPont Show with June Allyson|
|1959−61||Zane Grey Theatre|
|1961−63||The Dick Powell Show|
|1962−63||The Lloyd Bridges Show||Executive producer|
|1965||The Decorator||Executive producer||Television short|
|1965−66||Honey West||Executive producer|
|The Smothers Brothers Show||Executive producer|
|Off to See the Wizard||Executive producer|
|Cricket on the Hearth||Executive producer||Television film|
|1968||The Danny Thomas Hour|
|1967−69||The Guns of Will Sonnett|
|1969||The Over-the-Hill Gang||Executive producer||Television film|
|Wake Me When the War Is Over||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Monk||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Pigeon||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Ballad of Andy Crocker||Executive producer||Television film|
|1969−70||The New People||Executive producer|
|1970||Carter's Army||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Love War||Television film|
|Death Valley Days|
|How Awful About Allan||Executive producer||Television film|
|But I Don't Want to Get Married!||Television film|
|The Old Man Who Cried Wolf||Executive producer||Television film|
|Wild Women||Executive producer||Television film|
|The House That Would Not Die||Television film|
|The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again||Executive producer||Television film|
|Crowhaven Farm||Executive producer||Television film|
|Run, Simon, Run||Television film|
|1970−71||The Young Rebels||Executive producer|
|The Most Deadly Game||Executive producer|
|1971||Love Hate Love||Executive producer||Television film|
|River of Gold||Executive producer||Television film|
|Congratulations, It's a Boy!||Television film|
|Five Desperate Women||Television film|
|The Last Child||Executive producer||Television film|
|A Taste of Evil||Television film|
|In Broad Daylight||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Death of Me Yet||Television film|
|The Reluctant Heroes||Executive producer||Television film|
|If Tomorrow Comes||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Trackers||Executive producer||Television film|
|1972||Two for the Money||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Daughters of Joshua Cabe||Executive producer||Television film|
|No Place to Run||Television film|
|Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole||Television film|
|Rolling Man||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Bounty Man||Television film|
|Home for the Holidays||Executive producer||Television film|
|Every Man Needs One||Executive producer||Television film|
|1973||A Cold Night's Death||Executive producer||Television film|
|Snatched||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Great American Beauty Contest||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Letters||Television film|
|The Bait||Television film|
|Satan's School for Girls||Television film|
|Hijack!||Executive producer||Television film|
|Letters from Three Lovers||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Affair||Executive producer||Television film|
|Stone||Co-executive producer||Television film|
|1968−73||The Mod Squad||Executive producer|
|1974||The Death Squad||Television film|
|Chopper One||Executive producer|
|The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped||Television film|
|Cry Panic||Television film|
|Death Sentence||Television film|
|Hit Lady||Television film|
|Death Cruise||Television film|
|Only with Married Men||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Fireman's Ball||Executive producer||Television film|
|1975||The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Fireman's Ball||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|Murder on Flight 502||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Legend of Valentino||Executive producer||Television film|
|1976||One of My Wives Is Missing||Executive producer||Television film|
|The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe||Executive producer||Television film|
|Death at Love House||Executive producer||Television film|
|33 Hours in the Life of God||Television film|
|The Sad and Lonely Sundays||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Boy in the Plastic Bubble||Executive producer||Television film|
|1972−76||The Rookies||Executive producer|
|1977||Little Ladies of the Night||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Love Boat II||Executive producer||Television film|
|The San Pedro Bums||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|The San Pedro Beach Bums||Executive producer|
|1978||Cruise Into Terror||Television film|
|Wild and Wooly||Executive producer||Television film|
|Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Users||Executive producer||Television film|
|Beach Patrol||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Power Within||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Return of the Mod Squad||Executive producer||Television film|
|Love's Savage Fury||Executive producer||Television film|
|The French Atlantic Affair||Executive producer|
|1975−79||Starsky & Hutch||Executive producer|
|1980||Waikiki||Executive producer||Television film|
|Murder Can Hurt You!||Executive producer||Television film|
|Casino||Executive producer||Television film|
|B.A.D. Cats||Executive producer|
|1981||Aloha Paradise||Executive producer|
|The Best Little Girl in the World||Executive producer||Television film|
|Sizzle||Executive producer||Television film|
|1976−81||Charlie's Angels||Executive producer|
|1981−82||Strike Force||Executive producer|
|1982||Massarati and the Brain||Executive producer||Television film|
|Scared Silly||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch||Executive producer||Television film|
|Don't Go to Sleep||Executive producer||Television film|
|1983||At Ease||Executive producer|
|Shooting Stars||Executive producer||Television film|
|Venice Medical||Executive producer||Television short|
|Making of a Male Model||Executive producer||Television film|
|1984||Dark Mirror||Executive producer||Television film|
|1977−84||Fantasy Island||Executive producer|
|1979−84||Hart to Hart||Executive producer|
|1985||Hollywood Wives||Executive producer|
|MacGruder and Loud||Executive producer|
|International Airport||Executive producer||Television film|
|Hollywood Beat||Executive producer|
|1982−85||Matt Houston||Executive producer|
|1984−85||Finder of Lost Loves||Executive producer|
|Mr. and Mrs. Ryan||Executive producer||Television film|
|Dark Mansions||Executive producer||Television film|
|Life with Lucy||Executive producer|
|1982−86||T. J. Hooker||Executive producer|
|1977−87||The Love Boat||Executive producer
|1985−87||The Colbys||Executive producer|
|1987||Harry's Hong Kong||Executive producer||Television film|
|Cracked Up||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Hope Division||Executive producer||Television film|
|Free Spirit||Executive producer||Television film|
|1988||Nightingales||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|CBS Summer Playhouse||Executive producer|
|Divided We Stand||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|The Loner||Executive producer||Television film|
|1989||Day One||Executive producer||Television film|
|Just Temporary||Executive producer||Television film|
|1990||Rich Men, Single Women||Executive producer||Television film|
|The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage||Executive producer||Television film|
|Just Life||Executive producer||Television film|
|1991||Jailbirds||Executive producer||Television film|
|Dynasty: The Reunion||Executive producer|
|1992||Back to the Streets of San Francisco||Executive producer||Television film|
|Grass Roots||Executive producer||Television film|
|Sexual Advances||Executive producer||Television film|
|2000 Malibu Road||Executive producer|
|The Round Table||Executive producer|
|1993||And the Band Played On||Executive producer||Television film|
|A Stranger in the Mirror||Executive producer||Television film|
|Gulf City||Executive producer||Television film|
|1994||Jane's House||Executive producer||Television film|
|Winnetka Road||Executive producer|
|Love on the Run||Executive producer||Television film|
|Green Dolphin Beat||Executive producer||Television film|
|Texas||Executive producer||Television film|
|Heaven Help Us||Executive producer|
|1994−95||Models Inc.||Executive producer|
|Robin's Hoods||Executive producer|
|Madman of the People||Executive producer|
|Burke's Law||Executive producer|
|1995||University Hospital||Executive producer|
|The Invaders||Executive producer|
|Crosstown Traffic||Executive producer||Television film|
|1996||A Season in Purgatory||Executive producer|
|Pier 66||Executive producer||Television film|
|Malibu Shores||Executive producer|
|After Jimmy||Executive producer||Television film|
|Kindred: The Embraced||Executive producer|
|1997||Pacific Palisades||Executive producer|
|Odd Jobs||Television film|
|1998||Love Boat: The Next Wave||Executive producer|
|Buddy Faro||Executive producer|
|1999||Rescue 77||Executive producer|
|Safe Harbor||Executive producer|
|Forbidden Island||Executive producer|
|1992−99||Melrose Place||Executive producer|
|1997−99||Sunset Beach||Executive producer|
|2000||Satan's School for Girls||Executive producer||Television film|
|1990−2000||Beverly Hills, 90210||Executive producer|
|2001||Stop at Nothing||Television film|
|All Souls||Executive producer|
|2002||Home of the Brave||Executive producer||Television film|
|Deep Cover||Executive producer|
|2003||Queens Supreme||Executive producer|
|The Law and Mr. Lee||Executive producer||Television film|
|Hotel||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|2003−04||10-8: Officers on Duty||Executive producer|
|2004||Silver Lake||Executive producer||Television film|
|Hitched||Executive producer||Television film|
|Crazy||Executive producer||Television pilot|
|Bounty Hunters||Executive producer||Television film|
|1996−2006||7th Heaven||Executive producer|
|2006||Split Decision||Executive producer||Television film|
- As writer
|Big-Foot Wallace||Television film|
|Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse|
|1959||The David Niven Show|
|1956−61||Zane Grey Theatre|
|1962||The Dick Powell Show|
|Kraft Mystery Theater|
|1962−63||The Lloyd Bridges Show|
|1965−66||The Smothers Brothers Show|
|1967−69||The Guns of Will Sonnett|
|1969−70||The New People|
|1970||Carter's Army||Television film|
|1971||The Trackers||Television film||Uncredited|
- As an actor
|1953||I Led 3 Lives||Elevator Operator|
|1954||The Lone Wolf||Loran Dane|
|Willy||Homer the dogcatcher|
|Treasury Men in Action||—|
|1955||I Love Lucy||Gas Station Man|
|Soldiers of Fortune||Charlie Applegood|
|The Man Behind the Badge||Billy|
|Alfred Hitchcock Presents||Road Worker|
|TV Reader's Digest||Colonel Dornet
|1963||Burke's Law||Harry Penn||Uncredited|
|1995||Beverly Hills, 90210||Executive in Limo|
|1998||Sunset Beach||Vincent Duke|
- Miscellaneous crew
|1957−58||Zane Grey Theatre||Story supervisor|
|1982||The Renegades||Creative consultant||Television pilot|
|1956||Gunsmoke||Performer: "Red River Valley"||Uncredited|
|1958||Zane Grey Theatre||Writer: "The Ballad of Dan Case"|
- As director
|2006−07||7th Heaven||In memory of|
In loving memory of
|2012||The Adventures of Dugg & Lemmy||Very special thanks|
Awards and nominationsEdit
|Award||Year||Recipient / Work||Category||Result||Ref(s)|
|Britannia Awards||1999||Himself||Excellence in Television||Won|||
|GLAAD Media Awards||1994||Himself||Vanguard Award||Won|||
|Primetime Emmy Awards||1977||Family||Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|||
|1978||Family||Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|1982||Dynasty||Outstanding Drama Series||Nominated|
|1989||Day One||Outstanding Drama or Comedy Special||Won|
|1994||And the Band Played On||Outstanding Television Movie||Won|
|1996||Himself||Hall of Fame||Honoree|
|Producers Guild of America Awards||2000||Himself||Norman Lear Achievement Award||Won|||
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- ^ "Aaron Spelling at IMDb". IMDb.
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- ^ Michael Mallory (Winter 2009). "'Burke's Law - A weekly whodunit so lighthearted it nearly floated away.'". Mystery Scene. KBS Communications, Inc. 2021 (108). Retrieved September 3, 2021.
- ^ "Spelling, Thomas join in TV production firm" (PDF). Broadcasting. Broadcasting Publications: 10. April 18, 1966. Retrieved August 23, 2017.
- ^ a b Broadcasting, Dec 12, 1966, pg. 103 "Aaron Spelling -partner with Danny Thomas in Thomas/Spelling Productions and president, Aaron Spelling Productions."
- ^ Broadcasting, Jul 18, 1966, pg. 48
- ^ "Aaron Spelling Awards". IMDb.
- ^ "Aaron Spelling biography". biography.com. Archived November 14, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
- ^ "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.
- ^ 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.
- ^ "Presley Romance Seems to Be Ended". Hartford Courant.
- ^ Aaron Spelling. Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale. 2006.
- ^ "Spelling's Widow Fires Back at House Sale Reports". Hollywood.com. Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved July 7, 2006.
- ^ Brown, Len (June 13, 2011). "UK Heiress Purchases Aaron Spelling Mega Mansion". Archived from the original on October 18, 2013.
- ^ 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.
- ^ 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.
- ^ "Brandon Davis Key Person in Spelling Mansion Sale". TMZ. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- ^ Laporte, Nicole (June 21, 2011). "Petra Ecclestone, Candy Spelling, Aaron Spelling and the Spelling Mansion". The Daily Beast. Retrieved November 14, 2017.
- ^ "Aaron Spelling - The Internet Pinball Database".
- ^ London, Michael (December 6, 1983). "NAACP Confers Image Awards". The Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles, California. p. 66 – via Newspapers.com.
- ^ "Prime time patriarch". Oralcancerfoundation.org. Archived from the original on September 19, 2013. Retrieved July 11, 2001.
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- ^ "TV innovator Aaron Spelling dies at 83". MSNBC. June 26, 2006.
- ^ "After Aaron: Dynasty in Distress". PEOPLE.com. Retrieved December 31, 2019.
- ^ "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". Time Warner. Archived from the original on February 16, 2005. Retrieved February 15, 2005.
- ^ "Honoree for Excellence in Television in 1999". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
- ^ "Britney, Janet, Taylor & More Stars Who Have Won The GLAAD Vanguard Award". Instinct. July 30, 2020. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
- ^ "Aaron Spelling". Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
- ^ Keeps, David A. (September 18, 2015). "When Aaron Spelling Ruled Television: An Oral History of Entertainment's Prolific, Populist Producer". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 13, 2021.
- "Spelling's final print interview". The Sydney Morning Herald. September 2004. Archived from the original on October 15, 2012.
- Aaron Spelling at IMDb
- Aaron Spelling at The Interviews: An Oral History of Television