Spelling shares her latest sTORI
As the daughter of one of TV's most prolific producers, it figures that Tori Spelling would herself become a ubiquitous presence. Her father, Aaron Spelling, produced "Beverly Hills 90210," the 1990s series that put herand the rest of the castinto the pop culture zeitgeist. But the press was especially cruel to Tori. "They said I was the ultimate example of nepotism, a lousy actor who nonetheless scored a lead role in her father's hit TV show," she wrote in her memoir.
She's worked hard to prove the naysayers wrong. There have been TV movies and a handful of films. And a sly career move: in the 2006 VH-1 series "So NoTORIous," which she starred in and executive produced, she poked fun at herself and her persona.
She followed it up with her 2008 autobiography, sTORI Telling. Spelling didn't hold back. She offered up revelations about her cosmetic surgery (nose, breasts), her lavish first wedding (she wore a $50,000 Badgley Mischka crystal-beaded gown), the failure of that marriage and her privileged upbringing, and dished on "Beverly Hills 90210."
Now comes Mommywood, an account of Tori's adventures in parenting. Husband/actor Dean McDermott is her co-star ("It really helps to have a partner who is just as hands on, because then we're both available at any given time"), along with their kids Liam, age two, and daughter Stella, who's nearly one.
The book taps into the public's infatuation with Hollywood's burgeoning mommy brigade. The playdates and school drop-offs and pick-ups of celeb tots like Apple, Kal-El, Zuma, Pax, Maddox, Shiloh, Harlow, Violet and Suri are the stuff of endless magazine spreads. It all looks idyllic from a distance. But as Tori knows, things aren't always so picture-perfect for the kids of the rich and famous. Her own childhood, she's admitted, "was really weird."
Born Victoria Davey Spelling 36 years ago, she grew up with her younger brother on the west side of Los Angeles in posh Holmby Hills. Her parents would later famously tear down Bing Crosby's old house, and several others, to construct a 46,000-square-foot French Chateau-style extravaganza with 123(!) rooms, including a single-lane bowling alley, 3 gift-wrap rooms, a doll museum, an entire floor of closets, a guards' room, a staff dining room and a projection room.
But then, they were Hollywood royalty. No TV producer before or since has equaled Aaron Spelling's output of more than 140 TV movies and 70-plus weekly series, including "The Mod Squad," "Dynasty," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Charlie's Angels," "Melrose Place," "7th Heaven" and "Charmed." And, of course, "Beverly Hills 90210."
Taking on new roles
Cast as virginal Donna Martin, Tori was perpetually singled out for being the boss' daughter. She later vied for roles that took her beyond high school. "I begged casting directors to forget that Donna Martin ever existed," she recalled. She has since become known for a string of movies that are Lifetime channel staples. She's a college innocent lured into a Malibu escort service in Co-ed Call Girl; a former stripper hooked up with the mob in Deadly Pursuits; in Hush she's a wife trying to protect her husband from an obsessive former girlfriend. Etc.
It was during the making of 2006's Mind Over Murder that she fell in love with co-star McDermott. Never mind that both were already married. They eloped to Fiji for a barefoot ceremony less than a month after her divorce from writer-actor Charlie Shanian. "We didn't want anyone to get hurt," she later said. "But I'd found my soulmate. How could I deny that?"
Candy Spelling wasn't thrilled with her daughter's actions. The mother-daughter angst and anger grew following the death of Aaron Spelling. The tabloids and media bloggers loved it. The two have since declared a truce.
But Tori hasn't shied away from her upfront ways. Ten helicopters hovered overhead, and TV cameras rolled, when she and McDermott held a garage sale in which the castoffs included memorabilia from her first marriage. Their own marriage has become a reality showfor three seasonson the Oxygen network. And while she's promoting Mommywood, Tori will doubtless be asked about reprising her role of Donna Martin on this season's new "90210," which airs on the CW.
For someone who was for so long derided, she's having the last laugh.