Aaron Spelling

Producer, Screenwriter, Playwright
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 ... Read more »
Born: 04/21/1923 in Dallas, Texas, USA

Filmography

Producer (233)

7th Heaven 1992 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Beverly Hills 90210 1992 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Burke's Law 1992 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Charmed 1998 - 2006 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Love Boat: The Next Wave 1992 - 2001, 2003 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Models Inc. 1992 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Savannah 1992 - 2006 (Tv Show)

Executive Producer

Clubhouse 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Summerland 2003 - 2005 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Wanted (TNT) 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

10-8 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Beverly Hills, 90210: 10-Year High School Reunion 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Kingpin 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Queens Supreme 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Titans 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Safe Harbor 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Buddy Faro 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Rescue 77 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Mod Squad 1999 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Melrose Place 1991 - 1998 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Pacific Palisades 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Kindred: The Embraced 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Malibu Shores 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Pier 66 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Best Moments of 90210 1995 - 1996 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Heaven Help Us 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

James A. Michener's Texas 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Madman of the People 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Robin's Hoods 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

University Hospital 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

A Stranger in the Mirror 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Love on the Run 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Winnetka Road 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Partners 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Heights 1992 - 1993 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

2000 Malibu Road 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hearts Are Wild 1991 - 1992 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Soapdish 1991 (Movie)

(Producer)

Just Life 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Just Temporary 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Loose Cannons 1990 (Movie)

(Producer)

Day One 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dynasty 1980 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

HeartBeat 1987 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

San Berdoo 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hotel 1983 - 1988 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Nightingales 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Satisfaction 1988 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Loner 1987 - 1988 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Cross My Heart 1987 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Harry's Hong Kong 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hope Division 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Life With Lucy 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Surrender 1987 (Movie)

(Producer)

The Colbys 1985 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Love Boat: The Christmas Cruise 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Love Boat: The Shipshape Cruise 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Love Boat: Who Killed Maxwell Thorn? 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Three O'Clock High 1987 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

'Night Mother 1986 (Movie)

(Producer)

Crossings 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Glitter 1984 - 1986 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Mr. & Mrs. Ryan 1985 - 1986 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

T.J. Hooker 1981 - 1986 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Finder of Lost Loves 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hollywood Starr 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hollywood Wives 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dark Mirror 1983 - 1984 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

At Ease 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Don't Go to Sleep 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Mr. Mom 1983 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Scared Silly 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Venice Medical 1982 - 1983 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Sizzle 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Strike Force 1981 - 1982 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Aloha Paradise 1980 - 1981 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Charlie's Angels 1976 - 1981 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Casino 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hart to Hart 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Producer

The French Atlantic Affair 1979 - 1980 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Beach Patrol 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Friends 1978 - 1979 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Starsky and Hutch 1975 - 1979 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The San Pedro Beach Bums 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Vega$ 1977 - 1978 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Death at Love House 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

S.W.A.T. 1975 - 1977 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Baby Blue Marine 1976 (Movie)

(Producer)

Charlie's Angels 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Oath: 33 Hours in the Life of God 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Producer

The Oath: the Sad and Lonely Sundays 1975 - 1976 (TV Show)

Producer

Death Sentence 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Producer

Savages 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Producer

Starsky and Hutch 1974 - 1975 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

California Split 1974 (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Chopper One 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Firehouse 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hijack! 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Producer

Satan's School For Girls 1973 - 1974 (TV Show)

Producer

A Cold Night's Death 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Home For the Holidays 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Letters 1972 - 1973 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Mod Squad 1968 - 1973 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

If Tomorrow Comes 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

In Broad Daylight 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Rookies 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Producer

Two For the Money 1971 - 1972 (TV Show)

Producer

But I Don't Want to Get Married! 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Producer

Love, Hate, Love 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Make Room For Granddaddy 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

River of Gold 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Run Simon Run 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Producer

The Most Deadly Game 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Yuma 1970 - 1971 (TV Show)

Producer

Carter's Army 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Producer

The Monk 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The New People 1969 - 1970 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Guns of Will Sonnett 1967 - 1969 (TV Show)

Producer

The Danny Thomas Hour 1967 - 1968 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Rango 1966 - 1967 (TV Show)

Producer

Amos Burke, Secret Agent 1965 - 1966 (TV Show)

Producer

Burke's Law 1963 - 1965 (TV Show)

Producer

Honey West: Who Killed the Jackpot? 1964 - 1965 (TV Show)

Producer

Last of the Private Eyes 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)

Producer

Luxury Liner 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)

Producer

The Dick Powell Show 1961 - 1963 (TV Show)

Producer

The Lloyd Bridges Show 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Losers 1962 - 1963 (TV Show)

Producer

Amos Burke: Who Killed Julie Greer? 1961 - 1962 (TV Show)

Producer

Zane Grey Theater 1956 - 1962 (TV Show)

Producer

Guns of the Timberland 1960 (Movie)

(Producer)

Johnny Ringo 1959 - 1960 (TV Show)

Producer

A Season in Purgatory (TV Show)

Executive Producer

A Taste of Evil (TV Show)

Producer

After Jimmy (TV Show)

Executive Producer

All Souls (TV Show)

Executive Producer

And the Band Played On (TV Show)

Executive Producer

B.A.D. Cats (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Back to the Streets of San Francisco (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Congratulations, It's a Boy! (TV Show)

Producer

Cracked Up (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Crowhaven Farm (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Cruise into Terror (TV Show)

Producer

Cry Panic (TV Show)

Producer

Daniel Boone (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dark Mansions (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Day One (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Death Cruise (TV Show)

Producer

Divided We Stand (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Dynasty: The Reunion (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Every Man Needs One (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Family (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Fantasy Island (TV Show)

Producer

Fantasy Island (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Five Desperate Women (TV Show)

Producer

Grass Roots (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Green Dolphin Beat (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hart to Hart (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hit Lady (TV Show)

Producer

Hollywood Beat (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Hotel (TV Show)

Executive Producer

How Awful About Allan (TV Show)

Executive Producer

International Airport (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Jailbirds (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Jane's House (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Letters From Three Lovers (TV Show)

Producer

Little Ladies of the Night (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Love on the Run (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

Love's Savage Fury (TV Show)

Executive Producer

MacGruder and Loud (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Making of a Male Model (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Massarati and the Brain (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Matt Houston (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Murder Can Hurt You! (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Murder on Flight 502 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Nightingales (TV Show)

Executive Producer

No Place to Run (TV Show)

Executive Producer

One of My Wives Is Missing (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Only With Married Men (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Return to Fantasy Island (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Rich Men, Single Women (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Rolling Man (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Satan's School For Girls (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole (TV Show)

Producer

Sexual Advances (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Shooting Stars (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Snatched (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Terror on Track 9 (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Affair (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Bait (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Ballad of Andy Crocker (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Best Little Girl in the World (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Bounty Man (TV Show)

Producer

The Boy in the Plastic Bubble (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Daughters of Joshua Cabe (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Death Squad (TV Show)

Producer

The Death of Me Yet (TV Show)

Producer

The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped (TV Show)

Producer

The Great American Beauty Contest (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The House That Would Not Die (TV Show)

Producer

The Last Child (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Legend of Valentino (TV Show)

Producer

The Letters (Movie)

(Executive Producer)

The Love Boat (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Love Boat II (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Love War (TV Show)

Producer

The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The New Love Boat (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Old Man Who Cried Wolf (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Over-the-Hill Gang (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Pigeon (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Power Within (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Pretenders (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Reluctant Heroes (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Return of Mod Squad (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Rookies (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Round Table (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The San Pedro Bums (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Three Kings (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Trackers (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Users (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch (TV Show)

Executive Producer

The Young Rebels (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Vega$ (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Velvet (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Waikiki (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Wake Me When the War Is Over (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Wild Women (TV Show)

Executive Producer

Wild and Wooly (TV Show)

Executive Producer
Actor (39)

When Melrose Place Ruled The World 2004 - 2005 (TV Show)

Actor

TV Land Moguls 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

TV Revolution 2004 (Tv Show)

Actor

The E! True Hollywood Story: Heather Locklear 2003 - 2004 (TV Show)

Actor

Brilliant But Cancelled 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

TV's Most Memorable Weddings 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

The Perfect Pitch 2002 - 2003 (TV Show)

Actor

Dynasty: The E! True Hollywood Story 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Inside TV Land 1999 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Intimate Portrait: Jennie Garth 2001 - 2002 (TV Show)

Actor

Dominick Dunne: Murder He Wrote 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

The 70s: The Decade That Changed Television 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Actor

Beverly Hills 90210: The Final Goodbye 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Sunset Beach 1996 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

The Mod Squad: The E! True Hollywood Story 1999 - 2000 (TV Show)

Actor

Kristy McNichol: The E! True Hollywood Story 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

The King of Primetime -- Aaron Spelling 1998 - 1999 (TV Show)

Actor

An All Star Party For Aaron Spelling 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

Joan Collins: A Personal Dynasty 1997 - 1998 (TV Show)

Actor

The 13th Annual Soap Opera Awards 1996 - 1997 (TV Show)

Actor

A Day in the Lives of Melrose Place 1994 - 1995 (TV Show)

Actor

TV Guide: 40th Anniversary Special 1993 - 1994 (TV Show)

Actor

The Powers That Be 1992 - 1993 (Tv Show)

Actor

2 Years... Later 1990 - 1991 (TV Show)

Actor

The Spirit of St. Louis 1957 (Movie)

Mr Pearless (Actor)

Target Zero 1955 (Movie)

Strangler (Actor)

Wyoming Renegades 1955 (Movie)

(Actor)

Black Widow 1954 (Movie)

Mr Oliver (Actor)

Alaska Seas 1953 (Movie)

Knifer (Actor)

Three Young Texans 1953 (Movie)

Catur (Actor)

Vicki 1952 (Movie)

(Actor)

The Black Widow (TV Show)

Actor
Writer (8)

Guns of the Timberland 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One Foot in Hell 1960 (Movie)

(Screenplay)

One Foot in Hell 1960 (Movie)

(From Story)

Playhouse 90 1956 - 1960 (TV Show)

Writer

The Desilu Playhouse 1958 - 1960 (TV Show)

Writer

The Loner 1958 - 1959 (TV Show)

Writer

Man of Fear 1957 - 1958 (TV Show)

Writer

Wagon Train (TV Show)

Writer
Other (1)

The Renegades (TV Show)

Creative Consultant

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.

The son of poor Polish Jews, Aaron Spelling was born in Dallas, TX on April 22, 1923. He and his siblings, brothers Sam, Max and Daniel and sister, Becky, were among the few Jewish children in their neighborhood, and as a result, were frequently bullied because of their faith. Aaron suffered the most from the harassment, reportedly enduring a psychosomatic loss of mobility due to the intense trauma. The scrawny teen subsequently took off a year from school, where he became a voracious reader of fiction. Literature would become his primary focus upon his return to school, and his personal woes apparently dissipated by the time he entered Forest Avenue High School. After graduation, he joined the United States Air Force and served in World War II from 1942 to 1945, organizing theatrical productions for the soldiers. After his discharge, he remained in Europe for a year, allegedly studying at Sorbonne University, though in later interviews, he claimed that he spent the year traveling through southern Europe. Spelling returned to the United States in 1946, and enrolled in the journalism program at Southern Methodist University in Dallas. He also began writing plays, and won the Eugene O'Neill Award for Original One-Act Play in 1947 and 1948 before graduating in 1949.

After college, Spelling struggled to make his name as a playwright on Broadway while directing plays in Dallas. In 1953, he married aspiring actress and Texas native Carolyn Jones; shortly thereafter, the couple moved to California so both could pursue their showbiz dreams. In Los Angeles, he first worked as an actor, largely in bit roles and guest appearances on television, before selling his first Hollywood script to the drama anthology series "Fireside Theater" (a.k.a. "The Jane Wyman Show") (NBC, 1949-1963). He also contributed scripts to the acclaimed live drama "Playhouse 90" (CBS, 1956-1961), among other programs, before joining Four Star Productions, a television production company launched by actor and director Dick Powell with fellow Hollywood stars David Niven and Charles Boyer. Under the Four Star umbrella, Spelling earned his first producer's credits. Among his early creations were the short-lived Western "Johnny Ringo" (CBS, 1959-1960) and "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (CBS, 1962-63), an anthology series for the former "Sea Hunt" (syndicated, 1957-1961) star that cast him as a writer who often imagined himself as the hero of his own stories. Neither were hits, but among the series Spelling produced for Four Star were such popular favorites as "Burke's Law" (ABC, 1963-65) and "Honey West" (ABC, 1965-66), as well as the troubled "Smothers Brothers Show" (CBS, 1965-66). Both epitomized Spelling's television output: lightweight entertainment, populated with attractive stars - Gene Barry on "Burke;" Anne Francis on "Honey West" - and a breezy tone driven by sly dialogue that occasionally bordered on camp.

In 1966, he parted ways with Four Star and teamed with comedian Danny Thomas to form Thomas-Spelling Productions. The company's initial offering, a comic Western with Tim Conway called "Rango" (ABC, 1967), was a dismal flop, but their follow-up "The Guns of Will Sonnett" (ABC, 1967-69), with veteran character actor Walter Brennan as an ex-cavalry scout searching for his wayward gunfighter offspring, was a modest hit. More successful was "The Mod Squad," a clever appropriation of the late '60s youth culture movement about a trio of troubled young people (Piggy Lipton, Michael Cole, Clarence Williams III) who serve as de facto police officers for the Los Angeles Police Department. The program earned three Golden Globe nods and an Emmy nomination for Best Drama Series. More importantly, the classic program showed a more socially concerned side to Spelling's work. Though he addressed issues of racism, political unrest, injustice and equality in broad terms, he was among the few television producers at that time with hit shows that bothered to tackle these subjects - let alone with a racially diverse cast.

While riding high with "The Mod Squad," Spelling attempted to strike lightning again with the youth market, but these secondary efforts - "The New People" (ABC, 1969-1970), a fantasy created by Rod Serling about a group of young plane crash survivors who attempt to establish their own society on a deserted island, and "The Young Rebels" (ABC, 1970-71), which pitted teenaged American colonists against the British during the Revolutionary War - could not duplicate the success of their predecessor. But "The Rookies" (ABC, 1972-76), a police drama again featuring Spelling's favorite arrangement - a trio of photogenic newcomers engaged in dangerous business - was a hit thanks to its mix of streetwise action and drama. The series also marked Spelling's first collaboration with actress Kate Jackson, who would subsequently appear in several Spelling-produced TV movies before experiencing global fame as one-third of "Charlie's Angels." In 1972, Spelling left Danny Thomas to open his own company, Aaron Spelling Productions (later Spelling Television), and set up a secondary company, Spelling-Goldberg Productions with producer Leonard Goldberg, who would co-produce some of his best-known shows and become almost as famous as Spelling.

The success of "The Rookies" was quickly followed by two more cop shows: "S.W.A.T." (ABC, 1975-76), which followed the action-packed adventures of a team of former Vietnam vets who worked as special tactical officers with the Los Angeles Police Department, while "Starsky and Hutch" featured two unorthodox police detectives (Paul Michael Glaser and David Soul) who tackled tough cases in the worst neighborhoods of L.A. Neither series was a critical favorite - television watchdog groups decried the exceptional violence in "S.W.A.T.," while "Starsky" was dismissed as escapist fluff - but both found favor with viewers. During this period, Spelling also produced an astonishing number of TV movies, some of high quality like "How Awful About Allan" (ABC, 1970) and "Savages" (ABC, 1974), while others oozed high camp, like "Satan's School for Girls" (ABC, 1973) and "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC, 1976), starring a pre-fame John Travolta. Spelling shrewdly shifted gears for his next series effort. "Family" (ABC, 1976-1980) attempted to tell the story of an average American family living in Southern California. Anchored by a superior cast that included stage veterans James Broderick and Sada Thompson, as well as Meredith Baxter and Kristy McNichol as their children, the series walked a fine line between heartfelt drama and melodrama, but critics and audiences were impressed. McNichol quickly rose to the ranks of teen idol, and earned two Emmys for her performance as Buddy Lawrence, while the series itself received three Humanitas Prizes and a slew of Emmy and Golden Globe nods. Off-camera, the program was embroiled in a lengthy and complex legal suit by writer Jeri Emmet Laird, who claimed that Spelling stole the idea for the show from her.

Spelling then returned to glitzier, gassier fare for his next program, probably the most iconic in his considerable pantheon. "Charlie's Angels" was initially built as a star-making vehicle for Kate Jackson as one of three attractive police academy grads hired by a mysterious benefactor (voiced by John Forsythe) to solve crimes. Joined by newcomers Jaclyn Smith and Farrah Fawcett-Majors, "Charlie's Angels" quickly vaulted to the top of the network ratings chart by virtue of its stars' physical beauty, which was frequently displayed in a variety of revealing outfits, causing TV reviewers to nickname it "jiggle TV." Within months - thanks to a red bathing suit poster and a feathered hairstyle copied 'round the world - it became clear to Spelling that the breakout star would not be the tomboyish Jackson, but the bosomy bombshell, Fawcett-Majors. Despite achieving overnight fame, its three stars felt exploited by the material, leading Fawcett-Majors to shockingly quit the series after its first season, which resulted in a lawsuit against her by Spelling for breach of contract. She was remarkably successfully replaced by another winsome blonde, Cheryl Ladd. Jackson departed under similarly unhappy circumstances at the end of the third season, forcing Spelling and Goldberg to unsuccessfully replace her with Shelley Hack and Tanya Roberts in quick succession. The show collapsed at the end of its fifth season, a bonafide pop culture phenomenon, but also a harbinger of leering, exploitative television series like "Three's Company" (ABC, 1977-1984). However, so brilliant had its run been, the show was imbedded in Generation X's collective conscious as a beloved, glamorous touchstone from their childhood.

In 1977, Spelling launched "The Love Boat," a lighthearted comedy-drama about romantic entanglements among the crew and passengers of an ocean liner. Led by TV vets Gavin MacLeod and Bernie Kopell, "The Love Boat" was buoyed by a never-ending roster of guest stars culled from current entertainment, as well as Hollywood's golden era, who queued up to exchange helium-light sweet nothings aboard the "Pacific Princess." The series soon became a staple of Saturday evening fare, and was quickly joined by another Spelling series, "Fantasy Island" (ABC, 1978-1984). The latter program grafted a supernatural element onto the "Love Boat" format via the title location, an island paradise overseen by the mysterious Mr. Roarke (Ricardo Montalban), who granted visitors their deepest fantasy, with the caveat that the results might not be what they had hoped for. Roarke's sidekick, Tattoo, played by diminutive actor Herve Villechaize, became one of the show's most popular elements, with his frequent cry of "De plane! De plane!" entering the pop culture lexicon. The series formed an unbeatable block on the Saturday night lineup for nearly a decade. By the time Spelling offered up "Vega$" (ABC, 1978-1981), a detective drama with "S.W.A.T." star Robert Urich as a dashing private eye in Sin City, the producer was responsible for nearly a third of ABC's primetime programming, prompting some wags to re-dub the company "Aaron's Broadcasting Company."

Spelling's winning streak continued unabated into the 1980s. "Hart to Hart" (ABC, 1979-1984) was based on a premise by author Sidney Sheldon about married spies; Spelling and Goldberg hired writer Tom Mankiewicz to update the story, which became a comedy-drama about a wealthy CEO (Robert Wagner) and his wife (Stefanie Powers) who solve crimes in their spare time. In a similar vein was "Matt Houston" (ABC, 1982-85), with Lee Horsley as a Texas oilman who sleuthed in his spare time. Meanwhile, "T.J. Hooker" (ABC, 1982-85) appeared to follow in the footsteps of Spelling's 1970s cop series, with William Shatner as a veteran plainclothes detective who returned to a street beat to fight crime with several new recruits. The latter series featured one of Spelling's many female discoveries, an actress named Heather Locklear, who had made her series debut the year before in his biggest hit of the decade, "Dynasty."

Created by Richard and Esther Shapiro, "Dynasty" was a sprawling primetime soap opera centered around oil tycoon Blake Carrington (John Forsythe), his new wife Krystle (Linda Evans), his brood of troubled adult children, and a vast extended family that came to include his first wife, Alexis (Joan Collins), who seemed hell-bent on bringing her former spouse to his knees. Collins' introduction in the series' second season helped boost its ratings, but the show's tone shifted from that of business intrigue to out-and-out camp, complete with absurd plot twists, freewheeling cat fights between Collins and Evans, and guest appearances from countless Hollywood names. The show hit its zenith in 1985 with the apparent massacre of all its major cast members during a wedding day attack by European terrorists. In reality, the stars' absence was forced by tense contract negotiations between Spelling and Collins, who demanded an astonishing $600,000 per episode. The show won two Golden Globes and four People's Choice Awards for Best Television Drama, as well as spawned a spin-off, "The Colbys" (ABC, 1985-87), starring Charlton Heston and Barbara Stanwyck, which also netted a Peoples Choice Award in 1986 before its swift demise. In 1991, Spelling scored huge ratings with "Dynasty: The Reunion" (ABC), which picked up two years after the final episode of the original series, and followed Blake Carrington's attempt to rebuild his empire and win back Krystle.

By the mid-1980s, Spelling was among the wealthiest executives in Hollywood. With his second wife, Candy, and their children, Tori and Randy, he resided in a massive 56,500 square foot home that was the largest in Los Angeles County. Its 123 rooms reportedly included an ice rink and an entire wing devoted solely to Candy Spelling's gift-wrapping obsession. Part of the funding for the prodigious building had come from Spelling making his production company public in 1986. By the late 1980s, his Spelling Productions was in possession of numerous smaller companies, including Laurel Entertainment and WorldVision Enterprises. Spelling had also branched into feature film production, with such theatrical releases as "Mr. Mom" (1983), "'Night, Mother" (1986) and "Soapdish" (1991), with Sally Field, Whoopi Goldberg and Robert Downey, Jr. In 1989, he won his first Emmy Award for producing "Day One" (CBS), a drama about the Manhattan Project and the building of the first atomic bomb.

In 1990, Spelling moved into youth entertainment with "Beverly Hills, 90210," a primetime series set at a high school in the wealthy Los Angeles neighborhood. Initially envisioned as a series built around real-life issues, Spelling and producing partner E. Duke Vincent revamped creator Darren Star's series into a hormonally driven, melodramatic soap opera along the lines of "Dynasty" for the younger set. The show, which pitted Midwestern transplants Shannen Doherty and Jason Priestly against the wealth and decadence of a gaggle of Beverly Hills teens - including Spelling's own daughter, Tori - quickly became a pop culture phenomenon, with Doherty, Priestley and co-leads Luke Perry and Jennie Garth rising to the top of the teen popularity charts. It also echoed "Dynasty" in its level of backstage machinations: Doherty proved to be a reluctant team player, and was removed from the show in 1994, while many of the stars rebelled against their newly minted teen idol status. Spelling and his daughter were consistently accused of nepotism, when Tori's acting was deemed embarrassing during the show's early years. His refusal to replace her did little to quiet his critics. Despite the headaches, the show proved to be a goldmine for Spelling, yielding not one, but two spin-off series.

The first was "Melrose Place" (Fox, 1992-99), which followed the adult goings-on in an L.A.-based apartment complex inhabited by a host of well-scrubbed, upwardly mobile twenty-somethings. It too quickly evolved from drama to soap opera, with the good-looking cast hopping in and out of each other's beds like clockwork. The arrival of Heather Locklear as the scheming Amanda, who made life for Courtney Thorne-Smith's kindly Alison a living hell, signaled the show's full immersion into soap-dom, where it developed into a guilty pleasure for viewers and even a few critics. It too produced a spin-off, "Models Inc." (Fox, 1994-95), with "Dallas" (CBS, 1978-1991) star Linda Gray as the mother of Locklear's character and owner of a cutthroat modeling agency. Despite the presence of Gray and Emma Samms from "The Colbys," it failed to repeat the success of its franchise mate. Almost a world away from the confectionary plotting of "Melrose" and "90210" was "And the Band Played On" (HBO, 1993), Spelling's production of Randy Shilts' non-fiction book about the discovery of the AIDS virus and its explosion into a global pandemic. The feature won the Emmy for Outstanding Dramatic Film, along with a host of notable awards and nominations.

After several failed attempts to mount a new series, Spelling found another hit in "7th Heaven," a family-oriented drama about a minister (Stephen Collins) and his well-scrubbed, respectful family. Initially dismissed as toothless and square, it blossomed into one of the fledgling WB Network's biggest hits, as well as the longest- running family drama in television history then to date. The series was able to weather the departure of several key players, including co-star Jessica Biel, who infamously protested her character's lack of backbone by posing semi-nude in a men's magazine at the age of 16. Spelling quickly followed this with "Charmed" (The WB, 1998-2006), a sassy fantasy-drama about a trio of witches who balanced their fight against the forces of evil with everyday issues of romance and family. The series initially made headlines when Shannen Doherty was brought from the wilderness to reunite with Spelling; however, the actress departed the show after three seasons amidst yet again, accusations of diva behavior, and was replaced by Rose McGowan. "Charmed" enjoyed the highest rated debut of any show in The WB's history, and became one of its cornerstone hits.

While shepherding his latest flock of programs, Spelling also had a hand in seeing several of his veteran series make the transition to feature films. The first of these was "The Mod Squad" (1999), which updated the action to the present and starred Claire Danes, Omar Epps and Giovanni Ribisi as the new Squad. A dreadful script helped to sink the project, but the next effort, "Charlie's Angels" (2000), was a huge success. Produced by and starring Drew Barrymore with Cameron Diaz and Lucy Liu, the film, directed by video helmer McG, took a tongue-in-cheek tone towards the material, which helped modern viewers get past the harebrained premise and leering tone of the original. John Forsythe's return as the voice of Charlie served as a welcome connection between the series and its new incarnation. A sequel, "Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle" (2003), which featured a cameo by Jaclyn Smith, repeated the box office success, if not the positive critical reaction. The following year, Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson stepped into the flared pants of "Starsky & Hutch" (2004), a broad comic version of the cop show directed by Todd Phillips, which performed modestly at the box office.

Spelling continued to develop and produce series for television, but by 2000, with five decades of work in the medium behind him, he handed over the reins of Spelling television to E. Duke Vincent and company president Jonathan Levin. He also took time to reflect on his storied career in his 1996 autobiography, Aaron Spelling: A Prime-Time Life. From 1998 to 2000, he was feted by his industry with a host of awards, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and the Producers Guild of America's David Susskind Lifetime Achievement in Television Award in 2000. In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer, the result of a lifelong smoking habit. He continued to make appearances at Spelling Productions, but in 2006, he suffered a severe stroke at home and was hospitalized. At the time, he was enmeshed in an ugly legal suit by a former nurse, who charged him with sexual harassment and unlawful termination. Five days after the stroke, Spelling died and was entombed in a mausoleum at Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City. A month later, he was feted by a galaxy of his former stars, including Joan Collins, Farrah Fawcett and Heather Locklear, at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards. Though he lived in the biggest home and enjoyed one of the most grandiose careers and lifestyles, it came as a surprise to some to hear virtually all of the actors who populated his many series speak of the quiet simplicity of the man and of his intense loyalty to his stable of stars. Whether they behaved or not, whether they were deemed out-of-style or not, he seemed to view them all as his children, which made his passing even more difficult.

Turmoil between Spelling's widow and daughter Tori dominated the news in the years following his death. The pair had become estranged due to many issues that had occurred while Spelling was still alive but ignited in the days following his death: Candy publicly claimed Tori's split from her Jewish husband for a married man, and her refusal to visit her ailing father had hastened her late husband's death. Tori let fly that her mother was nothing more than a "merry widow," claiming Candy had had an affair while her husband lay dying. The fracture grew even deeper when it was reported that Tori's inheritance from her father's $500 million estate was just $800,000 before taxes. In 2009, Candy put the home up for sale - at a price tag of $150 million, which made it the most expensive home in the United States. She told the press that she would not have put the house up for sale if she had had any connection with her daughter. By 2010, however, it was reported that the Spellings had resolved their differences, but while it lasted, the family's real-life soap opera shocked the country and dismayed all the actors who had grown to love Spelling as something of a father-figure, with many publicly decrying the mother-daughter war as something Spelling would never have wanted to happen in the wake of his death.

Relationships

Pearl Spelling

Mother

Daniel Spelling

Brother

Max Spelling

Brother

Sam Spelling

Brother

Becky Spelling

Sister

Carolyn Jones Actor

Wife

Carolyn Jones

Wife
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"

Candy Spelling

Wife
born on September 20, 1945 married on November 23, 1968 mother of Tori and Randy

David Spelling

Father
worked for Sears

Tori Spelling Actor

Daughter
Born May 16, 1973; mother, Candy Spelling; starred on "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox), produced by her father

Randy Spelling Actor

Son
Born Oct. 9, 1978; mother, Candy Spelling

Victoria Spelling

Daughter
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

Randall Spelling

Son
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"

EDUCATION

Sorbonne, University of Paris

Paris 1945 - 1946

Southern Methodist University

Dallas , Texas 1949
served as a cheerleader; attended on the GI Bill; school honored him with its distinguished alumnus award in 1998

Milestones

2004

Executive produced the short-lived WB drama "Summerland"

2000

Produced the NBC fall primetime serial "Titans"

1999

Served as an executive producer of the feature version of "The Mod Squad"; last project under the film production arm of Spelling Entertainment

1998

Created the WB series "Charmed" reuniting him with "90210" star Shannen Doherty; Doherty left the show in 2001

1998

Honored by ABC with "An All Star Party For Aaron Spelling"

1996

Served as one of the executive producers of "Malibu Shores", a short-lived NBC serial featuring son Randy

1996

Was one of the executive producers of the CBS miniseries "A Season in Purgatory"

1996

Had surprise success with the family drama "7th Heaven" on The WB

1994

Oversaw the syndicated efforts "Heaven Help Us" and "Robin's Hoods"

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"

1992

Stumbled with "2000 Malibu Road", a CBS series co-executive produced with Joel Schumacher

1991

Revisited another of his successes with the miniseries "Dynasty: The Reunion" (ABC)

1991

Last feature credit for eight years, "Soapdish"

1989

Won Emmy for the three-hour drama about the atom bomb, "Day One"; aired on CBS

1988

Merged company with Worldvision Enterprises into Spelling Inc.; named chairman of Spelling Inc.

1986

First venture into the miniseries genre "Crossings" (CBS)

1986

Executive produced a series of "Love Boat" TV-movies

1983

Had big screen hit with "Mr. Mom"

1982

Received Emmy nomination for "Dynasty"

1981

With Cramer, was executive producer of the ABC TV-movie about anorexia "The Best Little Girl in the World", starring Jennifer Jason Leigh

1979

With Danny Thomas, was executive producer of the ABC TV-movie "The Return of the Mod Squad"

1976

Executive produced the acclaimed TV-movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC), starring John Travolta

1970

Produced over 10 made-for-TV movies for ABC

1969

Received first Emmy nomination for "Mod Squad" (ABC)

1968

TV-movie producing debut "The Ballad of Andy Crocker" (ABC)

1963

Served as producer of the ABC series "Burke's Law" and its 1965-1966 revamp "Amos Burke, Secret Agent"

1961

Produced the episode of "The Dick Powell Show" that introduced the character of Amos Burke

1960

Produced first feature, "Guns of the Timberland"; also scripted

1957

Became producer at Four Star

1956

Sold his first script to Dick Powell's "Zane Grey Theater"

1953

Acted in first feature, "Vicki"

1941

Served in US Air Force; worked as a correspondent for STARS AND STRIPES; wounded by sniper's bullet in left hand and knee

Ran into a spate of bad luck with "Models Inc." (Fox), "Madman of the People" (NBC) and "Winnetka Road" (NBC)

Served as president of Aaron Spelling Productions, Inc., Los Angeles

Revived "The Love Boat" for UPN

Ventured into daytime television with the NBC soap opera "Sunset Beach"; son Randy was featured in a regular role

Attempted to translate his primetime sopa opera success to the fledling The WB with "Savannah"

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)

Served as one of the executive producers of "Charlie's Angels"; reteamed with "Rookies" star Kate Jackson

Executive produced "The Lloyd Bridges Show" (CBS)

Had a hit with the ABC police drama "S.W.A.T."

Received three Emmy nominations for the drama series "Family" (ABC)

Fox's "Melrose Place" also proved to be a hit

Worked as one of the directors on the sitcom, "The Smothers Brothers Show" (CBS)

Had success with Cramer as executive producers of "Fantasy Island" (ABC)

Formed Torand Productions Inc.

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

With Leonard Goldberg, formed and served as co-president of Spelling-Goldberg Productions

Directed several plays at Playhouse and Margo Jones Theatre in Dallas, Texas, and the Players Theatre in Los Angeles

Created first TV series, "Johnny Ringo" (CBS); also producer and writer

Scored a hit with "Beverly Hills, 90210" (Fox); daughter Tori featured as one of the regulars; son Randy had recurring role

Retemed with Goldberg as executive producer of the genial detective series "Hart to Hart", co-starring Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers

With Douglas S Cramer, executive produced the long-running anthology series "The Love Boat" (ABC)

Raised in Texas

Had another success with the anthology "Hotel" (ABC)

With Goldberg, executive produced the hit ABC cop drama "Starsky and Hutch"

Moved into the genre of primetime soaps with "Dynasty"; one of four executive producers

Rose to chairman and chief executive officer Aaron Spelling Productions, Inc.; took his company public in 1986

Served as a contributing writer to the ABC police drama "The Rookies"; also was one of the executive producers

Served as an executive producer on "T.J. Hooker"

Remake of "Burke's Law" aired on CBS

Bonus Trivia

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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.

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

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

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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).

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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?"

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"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.

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"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."

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

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

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

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

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Named Humanitarian of the Year in 1983

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

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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

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"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.

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"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.

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In January 28, 2006, he was sued by his former nurse for sexual harassment and discrimination, retaliation, sexual battery (for making "contact with the plaintiff's intimate parts"), assault, wrongful termination, and intentional infliction of emotional distress.

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On June 18, 2006, he suffered a stroke at his home in California; Spelling died five days later at his Los Angeles home

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