Tori Spelling

Active - 1989 - 2016  |   Born - May 16, 1973 in Los Angeles, California, United States  |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

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Biography by Rebecca Flint Marx

A scion of one of the most powerful television families in Hollywood and a repeatedly maligned starlet, Tori Spelling spent years in television purgatory before finally getting respect for her acting in films such as The House of Yes and Trick. Weathering assorted rumors and attacks on her acting and appearance, Spelling has proven that, while nepotism may provide a convenient entrance into Hollywood, endurance and a sense of humor are necessities for long-term survival.

Born Victoria Davey Spelling on May 16, 1973, Spelling made her Hollywood debut in 1989, first with a small role in (appropriately enough) Troop Beverly Hills and then on the TV sitcom Saved by the Bell. In 1990, Spelling was cast in the role that would make her famous, that of Donna on Beverly Hills 90210. With fame came the widespread speculation the Spelling was hired because of her father's position as producer of the show, although Aaron Spelling claimed this was not the case. Whether truth or fiction, the allegations kicked off a series of unfavorable comments made about Spelling over the next few years, comments that were hardly made better by the dubious television programs in which she was repeatedly cast.

1997 marked a change in direction for Spelling's career. With 90210 in decline, she started acting in films, appearing in the small but well-respected The House of Yes and in Scream 2, in which she poked fun at her image with her appearance as herself. A further sign that she was gaining positive attention was her casting in Trick (1999), a critically acclaimed film that took a lighthearted and unconventional look at gay love and lust in the 1990s. With Sundance credibility firmly in hand, Spelling finally appeared ready to move forward and leave her image as a 90210 casualty behind her. Unfortunately that was easier said than done, and after failing to find her footing in film and television in the early 2000s, Spelling reprised her most famous role not once but twice -- first in Seth MacFarlane's straight-to-video feature Family Guy Presents Stewis Griffin: The Untold Story, and later in the flesh when 90210 was resurrected in 2008. Her greatest success outside of that famous zipcode, however, would come when she and husband Dean McDermott became the subjects of their own reality television show in 2007. Cleverly titled Tori and Dean: Inn Love, the series followed the photogenic couple as they became the owners and operators of their very own California bed and breakfast while starting a family as the entire world looked on.

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  • As a youngster, first TV-acting experience was an appearance in Vega$, which her father, Aaron Spelling, produced. Roles in other Spelling productions, including The Love Boat, T.J. Hooker and Fantasy Island, followed.
  • Her Beverly Hills, 90210 character, Donna Martin, remained a virgin until the 299th episode.
  • Made professional stage debut in the 2002 L.A. production of Maybe Baby, It's You, a two-person play cowritten by and costarring ex-husband Charlie Shanian, whom she met during rehearsals.
  • Has published numerous books. Her first, sTori Telling, rose to No. 1 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Best-Seller List in September 2008.
  • Appeared as her character Donna Martin on 90210, the remake of her signature series, in 2009.
  • Has appeared in a number of reality-TV series with husband Dean McDermott, beginning with Tori & Dean: Inn Love in 2007.