Tori Spelling Biography

Actress, Television Actress, Film Actor/Film Actress, Film Actress (1973–)
American actress Tori Spelling rose to fame through the hit show 'Beverly Hills, 90210' and is also known for her reality TV projects.

Who Is Tori Spelling?

Born to successful TV producer Aaron Spelling in 1973, Tori Spelling began starring on her father's hit program Beverly Hills, 90210 in 1990 and remained a central character for the entirety of its 10 seasons. The actress continued to appear on television through a series of reality shows, often accompanied by her husband Dean McDermott. She has also authored multiple books.

Early Acting Career

Actress and author Tori Spelling was born Victoria Davey "Tori" Spelling on May 16, 1973, in Los Angeles, California, as the oldest of two children. Her mother, Candy Spelling, is best known for her work as an author. Spelling's father, Aaron Spelling, was a Hollywood director known for producing the TV hits Charlie's Angels, Dynasty and Fantasy Island. As a result of her father's success, Tori was raised in the lap of luxury; her family lived in the largest single-family home in the state of California, a mansion featuring more than 100 rooms including a gift-wrapping room, doll museum and bowling alley.

Spelling's early immersion in the world of Hollywood gave her the acting bug at a young age. When Spelling turned six, her father hired an acting coach to give the young girl lessons twice a week. She began making her first television appearances around this age, landing a part on her father's television detective drama Vega$, as well as his popular shows T.J. Hooker, starring Heather Locklear, and The Love Boat, with Teri Hatcher.

'Beverly Hills 90210' Fame

By 1989, the 16-year-old Spelling was attending Beverly Hills High School in Beverly Hills, California, and had gotten a nose job after, she says, a parrot bit her. The "new and improved" Tori transferred to the Westlake School for Girls, and appeared at the audition for her father's new teen drama, Beverly Hills, 90210, under the alias Tori Mitchell. Despite the new moniker, Tori was recognized during her audition for the role of Kelly Taylor. Spelling's connections, however, didn't get her the part; actress Jennie Garth landed the coveted role, instead and Spelling was cast as the virginal Donna Martin.

In 1990, Spelling graduated from Westlake. That same year, Beverly Hills, 90210 premiered on FOX. The show skyrocketed in popularity and thrust the cast into the spotlight. In addition to Spelling, actors Gabrielle Carteris, Shannen Doherty, Jennie Garth, Brian Austin Green, Luke Perry, Jason Priestley and Ian Ziering all became teen idols.

Spelling stayed on the show for its entirety, appearing from 1990 until the conclusion of its 10th season in 2000. During her time on 90210, Spelling received attention from the press for remaining a stalwart virgin until the show's seventh season. While other cast members made numerous promiscuous trysts, Spelling held out for love. Many speculate that her father was responsible for Spelling's chastity on the show.

Film and Theater

By 1997, Spelling had also appeared in several made-for-TV movies, as well as several big screen hits, including the cult hit The House of Yes (1997), starring Parker Posey, and the blockbuster thriller Scream 2 (1997). 

By the end of the Beverly Hills, 90210, Tori was ready to move on to bigger projects. In 2002, she made her stage debut in Maybe Baby, It's You at the Coronet Theater in L.A. The show earned Spelling critical acclaim. 

Marriages and Family

After embarking on a romance with Maybe Baby, It's You co-writer Charlie Shanian, the couple married in 2004.

Spelling and Shanian's marriage proved to be short lived, however. While filming the TV movie Mind Over Murder, Spelling fell in love with her co-star, Dean McDermott. The actor, father of two children with his wife of 12 years, filed for divorce in September of 2005. A week later, Spelling broke up with Shanian. 

McDermott proposed to Spelling four months later, turning heads in Hollywood. They were marred in Fiji in May 2006.

Around that time, however, Spelling faced tragedy when her father suffered a serious stroke. Tori and her estranged mother were wedged even farther apart as her father's health declined. On June 23, 2006, Spelling's father died of complications from the stroke. According to Tori, she heard the news of her father's passing death through an e-mail to her Blackberry. The actress was devastated by the loss.

Spelling and her husband had their first child, son Liam, in March of 2007. In June of 2008, Spelling gave birth to daughter Stella. Over the following years, they would have another daughter, Hattie (born in 2011), and sons Finn (b. 2012) and Beau (b. 2017).

Reality TV: 'Tori & Dean'

In 2006 Spelling began headlining the VH1 sitcom So NoTORIous, in which she portrayed a fictional version of herself.

After her father's death, Tori and McDermott used Spelling's inheritance to set up a bed and breakfast in Fallbrook, California. They began filming the experience for their reality show, Tori & Dean: Inn Love. The show became a hit, and Spelling's new role as a mother became of great interest to viewers.

By June 2008, Spelling and McDermott's show was in its third season under the new name Tori & Dean: Home Sweet Hollywood. In the new season, Spelling and McDermott no longer run the inn, instead returning to Los Angeles to balance buying a new home, having a second child, and promoting Spelling's book tour 

In 2014 the couple launched another reality program, True Tori, which aired for two seasons.

More TV Roles

In 2009 Spelling made a cameo as Donna Martin on the remake of the Beverly Hills television show, entitled 90210, and she later teamed up with old co-star Garth for the short-lived Mystery Girls. In 2018 she appeared in the sixth installment of the surprisingly successful Sharknado TV film franchise.

The actress also continued to find her way into reality fare like RuPaul's Drag Race. In early 2019 she competed on the new TV competition series The Masked Singer.

Books and Other Projects

Spelling's 2008 autobiography, sTori Telling, became a best-seller, and she followed in 2009 with Mommywood. By 2013, she was up to her sixth book, Spelling It Like It Is.

The actress also collaborated with HSN to launch a jewelry line in 2007.

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