TV producer Spelling dies Jun 24, 2006 19:13:37 GMT -5
Post by lennie on Jun 24, 2006 19:13:37 GMT -5
Prolific television producer Aaron Spelling, whose shows such as Beverly Hills 90210 and Dynasty helped shape United States prime-time television, has died just days after suffering a stroke.
Spelling's publicist Kevin Sasaki said the 83-year-old died at his home in Los Angeles about 6:25pm local time, he had been hospitalised briefly after a stroke over the weekend.
Among Spelling's other television shows were Fantasy Island, Starsky and Hutch, Hart to Hart, Charlie's Angels, and Love Boat.
He is survived by his wife, Candy, daughter Tori Spelling, who starred on Beverly Hills 90210, and son Randy Spelling, also an actor.
Spelling, a decorated war veteran, lifted himself out of poverty to become one of the richest and most powerful men in Hollywood.
The Texas native was listed in the Guinness Book of Records as the world's most prolific producer.
Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas, on April 22, 1923, the son of impoverished Russian and Polish immigrants, he was taunted during his childhood for his Jewish roots.
He served in the US Air Force from 1942 to 1945, and was honoured with a Bronze Star Medal and a Purple Heart.
He began his Hollywood career in 1953 as an actor, playing villains and losers in TV Westerns like Gunsmoke, an unusual career choice for a painfully shy and skinny kid.
He quickly decided he was better off behind the camera, working as a writer and then as a producer. His first major hit came in 1963 with Burke's Law, which starred Gene Barry as a millionaire detective.
Spelling tapped into the counter-culture with The Mod Squad, an action series about three young delinquents who become crime-fighters. It ran on ABC from 1968 to 1973.
Soon after, Spelling virtually owned prime time at ABC -- dubbed Aaron's Broadcasting Company. During the 1980s, he was the king of soaps with Dynasty, a rip-off of Dallas, which made Joan Collins a star for her portrayal of the bitchy Alexis.
After a fallow period, Spelling bounced back in 1990 with Beverly Hills, 90210, which followed the travails of fresh-faced teens in America's most exclusive zip code. The show co-starred his daughter, Tori, as the virginal Donna.Melrose Place, which revolved around young adults in a West Hollywood apartment complex, followed in 1992, making a star out of villainous vixen Heather Locklear.
Spelling found one of his greatest successes with 7th Heaven, about a church minister's family. It just began its 10th season on the WB Network.