From growing up a California rich girl to making waves in the teen soap airwaves, Tori Spelling has made a name for herself. Find out more here about her parents, Aaron and Candy Spelling, and how they shaped her life and experience in show business.
Actress Tori Spelling, 48, had an interesting, unique life growing up in Los Angeles, California with her two parents, Aaron Spelling and Candy Spelling. The Beverly Hills 90210 star was the daughter of a multi-millionaire Hollywood producer and philanthropist mother, living out her childhood in a sprawling 56,500-square-foot mansion with her younger brother, Randy, as she entered show business in the shadow of her dad.
Although Tori definitely lived a charmed life growing up in “Spelling Manor” and making a name for herself on her own as an actress, she often had a strained relationship with her mother and didn’t have an exactly pleasant parting with her father after he died, as his multi-million-dollar estate was miserly divvied up between she and the rest of her family. Find out more below about Tori’s parents, Candy and Aaron, and see how she feels about them today.
Candy Spelling, née Carole Gene Marer, was born Sept. 20, 1945 in Beverly Hills, California. She was first married to Howard Frederick Leveson from 1963 till 1964, then married Tori’s father Aaron from 1968 until his death in 2006. The 76-year-old has served as a producer on Broadway, overseeing various productions like The Color Purple and The Iceman Cometh. Candy also wrote a a book, Stories From Candyland, in 2009, sharing details about her often troubled relationship with daughter Tori.
“Tori and I are a work in progress and probably always will be,” she wrote. “I notice that the more my self-esteem expands, the less patience I have for the pursuit cycle she creates when she shuts me out. We have a pattern, and until we can break it hand-in-hand, this is going to be the little dance she and I do together.” Tori also revealed in her memoir from 2008, sTORI Telling, that her other often criticized her looks and dressed her up in costumes beyond her maturity level, per the Independent.
Although they’ve been through rough times together, according to a 2018 report from Us Weekly, the pair were actively working on their issues and have become closer than ever. “Things were tense for a while between the two,” a source shared with the outlet. “But they are very close now and actively working through their issues.” Tori also confirmed to Andy Cohen in 2019 on Watch What Happens Live that she and her mom were “really good” and that she and her kids had visited their grandmother’s massive apartment which they affectionately deemed “the manor in the sky.”
Aaron Spelling was Tori’s father, born April 23, 1923 in Dallas, Texas and died in June 23, 2006. Like his wife, Candy, Aaron was the son of Jewish immigrants, also serving in the United States Army Corps as a pilot during World War I. During his long run in show business, he produced numerous TV hit series, such as Charlie’s Angels, The Love Boat, Dynasty, Beverly Hills 90210, Melrose Place, 7th Heaven, and more. Also like his wife, Aaron was married to another woman before, actress Carolyn Jones, from 1953-1964.
Aaron and Tori began working together on the hit teen drama Beverly Hills 90210 which debuted on Oct. 4, 1990. Tori, who played Donna Martin on the show, spoke with the Beverly Hills Show podcast on Feb. 25, 2021 about her experience working under her dad. “Everyone assumes it was really easy being the producer’s daughter, you got a hit television show. I did,” she said, “I’m grateful for that. But it also weighed on me a lot because I always felt in the back of my head like, ‘I don’t deserve to be here.’ I wasn’t cast through the process like everyone else was. I auditioned for it […] but I know the real deal, I got the job because my dad was like, ‘Write my daughter into the show.'”
Although Aaron participated in a bit of nepotism in working his daughter into his produced programs, he pulled back a bit when it came to leaving an inheritance for she and her brother. After his death in 2006, the producer only left $800,000 to Tori (and Randy) of his $500 million estate, with Candy acting as executor.
“My husband and I handed everything to our children, only later to realize that pushing up your shirtsleeves and digging in your heels is character building,” she explained in her memoir. “I think the best way to explain my perspective is to quote George Clooney‘s character, Matt King, in The Descendants. At the beginning of the movie, Matt explains his family’s intergenerational wealth. Matt says that his father wanted him to have ‘enough money to do something but not enough to do nothing.’ That pretty much sums up how I feel.”