Legendary American TV producer Aaron Spelling – who created hit shows like Charlie’s Angels, Dynasty, and Starsky and Hutch – has died. He was 83.
Spelling died at his Los Angeles mansion yesterday after suffering a stroke on June 18, his publicist Kevin Sasaki said.
Charlie’s Angels actress Jaclyn Smith said: “Aaron’s contributions in television are unequalled. To me, he was a dear friend and a truly genuine human being.”
He set a world record of producing more than 3,000 TV episodes with an array of series which also included Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, The Mod Squad, TJ Hooker, Hart to Hart and Hotel among many others. More recently he created the likes of 7th Heaven and Summerland.
He is also credited with giving Hollywood star Nick Nolte his first starring role in the 1974 TV Movie Death Sentence.
Success was not without its thorns. TV critics denounced Spelling for fostering flff and soap operas. He called his shows “mind candy” while critics referred to them as “mindless candy.”
Charlie’s Angels ushered in a genre known as “jiggle TV” for its gratuitous focus on the female form.
“The knocks by the critics bother you,” he admitted in a 1986 interview.
“But you have a choice of proving yourself to 300 critics or 30 million fans. You have to make a choice. I think you’re also categorised by the critics. If you do something good they almost don’t want to like it.”
Spelling had arrived in Hollywood virtually penniless in the early 1950s. By the 1980s, Forbes magazine estimated his wealth at 300 million dollars (£165 million).
Born in 1923, Spelling grew up in a small house in Dallas, the fourth son of immigrant Jews. His father was Polish and his mother was from Russia. His father’s name, Spurling, was simplified to Spelling.
After moving from New York to Los Angeles, he gave up acting and concentrated on writing.
He married actress Carolyn Jones who found fame as Morticia in The Addams Family. They divorced after 13 years, and she died of cancer in 1983.
Spelling and his second wife, Candy, had two children, Tori and Randy.