Aaron Spelling

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Aaron Spelling
Aaron Spelling.jpg
Spelling in 1985
Born(1923-04-22)April 22, 1923
Dallas, Texas, U.S.
DiedJune 23, 2006(2006-06-23) (aged 83)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery
Alma mater Southern Methodist University
Occupation(s)Film and television producer

Aaron Spelling (April 22, 1923  June 23, 2006) was an American film and television producer and occasional actor. [1] 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).


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. [2] [3] Forbes ranked him the 11th top-earning deceased celebrity in 2009. [4]

Early life

Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas. He was the son of Pearl (née Wald) and David Spelling, Russian Jewish immigrants. [5] His father worked as a tailor and changed his surname from Spurling to Spelling after emigrating to the United States. [6] 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) [7] and an older half-sister, Becky Seltzer Giller (1910–1978). [8] [9]

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. [10]

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. [11]


Spelling in 1965 Aaron Spelling TWA ad photo.JPG
Spelling in 1965

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). [12] Spelling appeared in episode 112 of I Love Lucy ("Tennessee Bound," season 4, 1955) [13] [14] and Alfred Hitchcock Presents ("Breakdown", 1955)., [12] 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.) [15]

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. [16]

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. [17] The show was the first success for Spelling and pioneered the multiple guest star format, later seen on The Love Boat and Fantasy Island. [18]

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. [19] 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 [20] [21] 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. [20] 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 . [22] 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) [23] 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 , [24] and Nicholas Hammond portrayed Spelling in television movie Dynasty: The Making of a Guilty Pleasure. [25]

Personal life

Spelling married actress Carolyn Jones in 1953, in California when he was 30 and she was 23. They divorced in 1964. [26] He briefly dated actress Jill Haworth when he was 42 and she was 19. [27] 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. [28]

In 1988, Spelling bought the 6-acre (2.4 ha) property of Bing Crosby's former Los Angeles house. [29] 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. [30] [31] Spelling's widow Candy listed the home for sale in 2008 for $150 million. [31] 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. [32] [33] [34]

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. [35]

Legacy and death

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. [36]

In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer. [37]

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. [38] [39] He also suffered from Alzheimer's disease. [40] 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. [41] 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. [42]


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
1986 'night, Mother
1987 Surrender
Three O'Clock High Executive producer
Cross My Heart Associate producer
1988 Satisfaction
1990 Loose Cannons
1991 Soapdish
1999 The Mod Squad Executive producer
2000 Charlie's Angels Executive producerFinal film as a producer
As writer
1960 Guns of the Timberland
One Foot in Hell
As an actor
1953 Vicki Harry Williams
1954 Three Young Texans Catur
Alaska Seas The Knifer
Black Widow Mr. OliverUncredited
The Bamboo Prison Skinny
1955 Wyoming Renegades Petie Carver
I Love Lucy Gas Station Man
Mad at the WorldWillie Hanson
Target Zero Pfc. StranglerUncredited
Kismet Beggar
Dementia Nightclub Patron
1957 The Spirit of St. Louis Mr. Fearless


1959−60 Johnny Ringo
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
1965The DecoratorExecutive producerTelevision short
1963−66 Burke's Law
1965−66 Honey West Executive producer
The Smothers Brothers Show Executive producer
1967 Rango
Off to See the Wizard Executive producer
Cricket on the Hearth Executive producerTelevision film
1968 The Danny Thomas Hour
1967−69 The Guns of Will Sonnett
1969 The Over-the-Hill Gang Executive producerTelevision film
Wake Me When the War Is Over Executive producerTelevision film
The Monk Executive producerTelevision film
The Pigeon Executive producerTelevision film
The Ballad of Andy Crocker Executive producerTelevision film
1969−70 The New People Executive producer
1970 Carter's Army Executive producerTelevision film
The Love War Television film
Death Valley Days
How Awful About Allan Executive producerTelevision film
But I Don't Want to Get Married! Television film
The Old Man Who Cried Wolf Executive producerTelevision film
Wild Women Executive producerTelevision film
The House That Would Not Die Television film
The Over-the-Hill Gang Rides Again Executive producerTelevision film
Crowhaven Farm Executive producerTelevision film
Run, Simon, Run Television film
1970−71 The Young Rebels Executive producer
The Most Deadly Game Executive producer
1971 Love Hate Love Executive producerTelevision film
Yuma Television film
River of Gold Executive producerTelevision film
Congratulations, It's a Boy! Television film
Five Desperate Women Television film
The Last Child Executive producerTelevision film
A Taste of Evil Television film
In Broad Daylight Executive producerTelevision film
The Death of Me Yet Television film
The Reluctant Heroes Executive producerTelevision film
If Tomorrow Comes Executive producerTelevision film
The Trackers Executive producerTelevision film
1972 Two for the Money Executive producerTelevision film
The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Executive producerTelevision film
No Place to Run Television film
Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole Television film
Rolling Man Executive producerTelevision film
The Bounty Man Television film
Home for the Holidays Executive producerTelevision film
Every Man Needs One Executive producerTelevision film
1973 A Cold Night's Death Executive producerTelevision film
Snatched Executive producerTelevision film
The Great American Beauty Contest Executive producerTelevision film
The Letters Television film
The Bait Television film
Satan's School for Girls Television film
Hijack! Executive producerTelevision film
Letters from Three Lovers Executive producerTelevision film
The Affair Executive producerTelevision film
StoneCo-executive producerTelevision film
1968−73 The Mod Squad Executive producer
1974 The Death Squad Television film
Firehouse Executive producer
Chopper One Executive producer
The Girl Who Came Gift-Wrapped Television film
Cry Panic Television film
Savages Television film
Death Sentence Television film
Hit Lady Television film
Death Cruise Television film
Only with Married Men Executive producerTelevision film
The Fireman's Ball Executive producerTelevision film
1975 The Daughters of Joshua Cabe Return Executive producerTelevision film
The Fireman's BallExecutive producerTelevision pilot
Murder on Flight 502 Executive producerTelevision film
The Legend of Valentino Executive producerTelevision film
1976 One of My Wives Is Missing Executive producerTelevision film
The New Daughters of Joshua Cabe Executive producerTelevision film
Death at Love House Executive producerTelevision film
33 Hours in the Life of God Television film
The Sad and Lonely Sundays Executive producerTelevision film
The Boy in the Plastic Bubble Executive producerTelevision film
1972−76 The Rookies Executive producer
1975−76 S.W.A.T. Executive producer
1977 Little Ladies of the Night Executive producerTelevision film
The Love Boat II Executive producerTelevision film
The San Pedro Bums Executive producerTelevision pilot
The San Pedro Beach Bums Executive producer
1978 Cruise Into Terror Television film
Wild and Wooly Executive producerTelevision film
Kate Bliss and the Ticker Tape Kid Executive producerTelevision film
The Users Executive producerTelevision film
1979 Friends Executive producer
Beach Patrol Executive producerTelevision film
The Power Within Executive producerTelevision film
The Return of the Mod Squad Executive producerTelevision film
Love's Savage Fury Executive producerTelevision film
The French Atlantic Affair Executive producer
1975−79 Starsky & Hutch Executive producer
1980 Waikiki Executive producerTelevision film
Murder Can Hurt You! Executive producerTelevision film
Casino Executive producerTelevision film
B.A.D. Cats Executive producer
1976−80 Family Executive producer
1981 Aloha Paradise Executive producer
The Best Little Girl in the World Executive producerTelevision film
Sizzle Executive producerTelevision film
1976−81 Charlie's Angels Executive producer
1978−81 Vegas Executive producer
1981−82 Strike Force Executive producer
1982 Massarati and the Brain Executive producerTelevision film
Scared SillyExecutive producerTelevision pilot
The Wild Women of Chastity Gulch Executive producerTelevision film
Don't Go to Sleep Executive producerTelevision film
1983 At Ease Executive producer
Shooting Stars Executive producerTelevision film
Venice Medical Executive producerTelevision short
Making of a Male Model Executive producerTelevision film
1984 Dark Mirror Executive producerTelevision film
Velvet 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 producerTelevision film
Hollywood Beat Executive producer
1982−85 Matt Houston Executive producer
1984−85 Finder of Lost Loves Executive producer
Glitter Executive producer
1986 Crossings Executive producer
Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Executive producerTelevision film
Dark Mansions Executive producerTelevision film
Life with Lucy Executive producer
1982−86 T. J. Hooker Executive producer
1977−87 The Love Boat Executive producer
Associate producer
1985−87 The Colbys Executive producer
1987 Harry's Hong Kong Executive producerTelevision film
Cracked Up Executive producerTelevision film
The Hope Division Executive producerTelevision film
Free SpiritExecutive producerTelevision film
1983−88 Hotel Executive producer
1988 Nightingales Executive producerTelevision pilot
CBS Summer Playhouse Executive producer
Divided We StandExecutive producerTelevision pilot
The Loner Executive producerTelevision film
1989 Day One Executive producerTelevision film
Nightingales Executive producer
Just Temporary Executive producerTelevision film
1981−89 Dynasty Executive producer
1988−89 HeartBeat Executive producer
1990 Rich Men, Single Women Executive producerTelevision film
The Love Boat: A Valentine Voyage Executive producerTelevision film
Just LifeExecutive producerTelevision film
1991 Jailbirds Executive producerTelevision film
Dynasty: The Reunion Executive producer
1992 Back to the Streets of San Francisco Executive producerTelevision film
Grass RootsExecutive producerTelevision film
Sexual AdvancesExecutive producerTelevision film
The Heights
2000 Malibu Road Executive producer
The Round Table Executive producer
1993 And the Band Played On Executive producerTelevision film
A Stranger in the Mirror Executive producerTelevision film
Gulf CityExecutive producerTelevision film
1994 Jane's House Executive producerTelevision film
Winnetka Road Executive producer
Love on the Run Executive producerTelevision film
Green Dolphin Beat Executive producerTelevision film
Texas Executive producerTelevision 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 producerTelevision film
1996 A Season in Purgatory Executive producer
Pier 66 Executive producerTelevision film
Malibu Shores Executive producer
After Jimmy Executive producerTelevision film
Kindred: The Embraced Executive producer
1996−97 Savannah Executive producer
1997 Pacific Palisades Executive producer
Odd JobsTelevision 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 producerTelevision film
1990−2000 Beverly Hills, 90210 Executive producer
2000−01 Titans Executive producer
2001Stop at NothingTelevision film
All Souls Executive producer
2002Home of the BraveExecutive producerTelevision film
Deep CoverExecutive producer
2003 Queens Supreme Executive producer
Kingpin Executive producer
The Law and Mr. Lee Executive producerTelevision film
Hotel Executive producerTelevision pilot
2003−04 10-8: Officers on Duty Executive producer
2004Silver LakeExecutive producerTelevision film
2004−05 Clubhouse Executive producer
Summerland Executive producer
2005 Wanted Executive producer
Hitched Executive producerTelevision film
CrazyExecutive producerTelevision pilot
Bounty HuntersExecutive producerTelevision film
1996−2006 7th Heaven Executive producer
1998−2006 Charmed Executive producer
2006Split DecisionExecutive producerTelevision film
As writer
YearTitleNotesOther notes
1957 Fireside Theatre
Big-Foot WallaceTelevision film
1958 Playhouse 90
Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse
1957−59 Wagon Train
1959 The David Niven Show
1959−60 Johnny Ringo
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 filmUncredited
1974 The Rookies
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
Fireside Theatre Olaf
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Road Worker
1953−55 Dragnet Bruce Marcus
'Bigs' Donaldson
Charlie Coleman
Charles Boyd
1956 Big Town
CrusaderAndrew Hock
Gunsmoke Weed Pindle
The Millionaire Max
1955−56 Studio 57 Docker
TV Reader's Digest Colonel Dornet
Ben Williams
1963 Burke's Law Harry PennUncredited
1995 Beverly Hills, 90210 Executive in Limo
1998 Sunset Beach Vincent Duke
2001 Charmed Aaron
Miscellaneous crew
1957−58 Zane Grey Theatre Story supervisor
1982 The Renegades Creative consultantTelevision pilot
1956 Gunsmoke Performer:"Red River Valley"Uncredited
1958 Zane Grey Theatre Writer:"The Ballad of Dan Case"
As director
1959 Wagon Train
2006−07 7th Heaven In memory of
In loving memory of
2012The Adventures of Dugg & LemmyVery special thanks

Awards and nominations

AwardYearRecipient / WorkCategoryResultRef(s)
Britannia Awards 1999HimselfExcellence in TelevisionWon [43]
GLAAD Media Awards 1994Himself Vanguard Award Won [44]
Primetime Emmy Awards 1977 Family Outstanding Drama Series Nominated [45]
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 HimselfHall of FameHonoree
Producers Guild of America Awards 2000 Himself Norman Lear Achievement Award Won [46]

See also

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