Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas. He was the son of Pearl (née Wald) and David Spelling, who were Jewish emigrants from Poland. His father worked as a tailor and changed his surname from Spurling to Spelling after emigrating to the United States. Spelling had three brothers: Sam, Max, and Daniel, and a sister, Becky. At the age of eight, Spelling psychosomatically lost the use of his legs due to trauma caused by constant bullying from his schoolmates, and was confined to bed for a year. After attending Forest Avenue High School, he served in the United States Armed Forces during World War II. He later graduated from Southern Methodist University in 1949, where he was a cheerleader.He married actress Carolyn Jones in 1953, in California. They divorced in 1964. Spelling married Candy Gene (née Marer) in 1968. 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 is 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.
Spelling sold his first script to Jane Wyman Presents in 1954. That same year, he guest starred 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. Beginning in 1968, Spelling began producing successful television shows including The Mod Squad, The Rookies, Charlie’s Angels, Beverly Hills 90210 (which starred his daughter Tori), 7th Heaven, Charmed, Jane’s House and Sunset Beach. Spelling founded Spelling Entertainment in 1972. 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.
In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer. On June 18, 2006, Spelling suffered a severe stroke at The Manor, his estate in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. He died at his estate on June 23, 2006 from complications of the stroke, at the age of 83. A private funeral was held several days later, and Spelling was entombed in a mausoleum in Culver City’s Hillside Memorial Park Cemetery. On August 27, 2006, Spelling was posthumously honored at the 58th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards by former employees Joan Collins, Stephen Collins, Heather Locklear, Farrah Fawcett, Kate Jackson and Jaclyn Smith. On April 4, 2007, it was announced that 7th Heaven’s May 13, 2007 series finale would be dedicated to Aaron 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. 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.
- April, 22, 1923
- Dallas, Texas
- June, 23, 2006
- Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California
Cause of Death
- Hillside Memorial Park
- Culver City, California