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80s TV icon Aaron Spelling dies



The man who christened the Love Boat, enchanted Fantasy Island, re-deputized Capt. Kirk as T.J. Hooker and popularized ZIP codes in Beverly Hills 90210 has gone on to the great TV variety show in the sky.

Legendary TV producer Aaron Spelling died Friday in Los Angeles, a few weeks after suffering a stroke. With more than 140 TV movies and a slew of television series, Mr. Spelling is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific television drama producer of all time.

Though not always high art, many of his creations offered signature roles for dozens of actors and redefined the way Americans were entertained by their TV sets. A few more of his shows from the 80s era include: Vega$ (starring Robert Urich), Hart to Hart (Robert Wagner and Stephanie Powers), Dynasty (Linda Evans, Joan Collins, John Forsythe), Hotel (Connie Selleca). Other milestone series include: Starsky & Hutch (1975-1979) and Melrose Place (1992-1999).

Here are a few of our favorite Aaron Spelling productions:
-- Boy in the Plastic Bubble (1976): Based on a true story, John Travolta plays a boy who must live in a sterile environment to protect his fragile immune system. Everyone who grew up in the early 80s remembers the film, but who remembers how it ends? (Leave us a comment and prove your trivia acumen.)
-- Mr. Mom (1983): Spelling was executive producer of big-screen flick, starring Michael Keaton (in his follow-up role in Night Shift). Signature line: "Yeah. 220... 221, whatever it takes."
Satisfaction (1988): Under no circumstances is this a classic, but I can't resist dropping in the only starring role in the film career of Justine Bateman. (Hey, she once dated Leif Garrett!) The world, however, continues to celebrate the genius of her younger brother, Jason Bateman. (But not for Teen Wolf Too.)

The story goes that after ABC axed "Dynasty" in 1989, Mr. Spelling realized he was without a show for the first time in nearly 30 years. "I was so depressed, I would have quit," he wrote in his autobiography. "But I like TV too much."

[Last modified: Wednesday, June 9, 2010 2:18pm]


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