On this day: Aaron Spelling dies

June 23 2009: A television legend

By Deborah Weitzmann, June 23, 2011

The legendary television and film producer died at the age of 83 after suffering a stroke.

Born to Jewish parents on 22 April 1923, in Dallas, Texas, Spelling enjoyed more than five decades of career success on both the small and big screens. His world renowned and widely celebrated work launched the careers of many major stars of the 1980s.

In the latter half of the 1970s, Saturday night TV was dominated by Spelling's Starsky and Hutch, perhaps the most popular and well-loved Los Angeles cop-show ever aired.

Hit series Charlie's Angles, which aired from 1976 to 1981, further captivated world-wide audiences, with three famous female detectives bringing sex-appeal and glamour into many homes. In addition, the popular soap-opera Dynast, which Spelling co-produced, quickly became the most widely viewed series in TV history.

Another example of Spelling's genius was Beverly Hills 90210, which starred his daughter Tori and charmed teenage viewers worldwide with its portrayal of American high school life.

Spelling, who worked mainly for TV network ABC, was so influential that industry figures often dubbed it 'The Aaron Broadcasting Company'.

His success also made him a wealthy man – the LA mansion he had built was sold to Formula 1 heiress Petra Ecclestone for a figure of up to $150 million. The 57,000 sq ft estate included a bowling alley, car parking for 100 cars and an in-house beauty parlour.

What the JC said: In the Guinness Book of World Records, Aaron Spelling has a niche as the most prolific – and arguably the richest – television producer of all time…If some masochist were to try and watch his entire output consecutively, 24 hours a day, it would take close to four months…And for all but the most reclusive, it is almost impossible to escape a Spelling production on the small screen anywhere. His shows are distributed to 97 countries and one of his happier moments, he says, was walking down a street in London and hearing the theme music from one of his shows.

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    Last updated: 9:08am, June 23 2011