Aaron Spelling's knack for tapping into the public's taste for light entertainment made him both the most prolific and one of the wealthiest producers in television history.
Although seldom a darling of critics, Spelling was associated with a dizzying roster of commercial successes, including such long-running series as "Dynasty," "The Love Boat," "Fantasy Island," "Charlie's Angels," "Melrose Place," "Beverly Hills, 90210" and "7th Heaven."
With over 5,000 hours of TV and more than 70 series bearing his name, as well as dozens of made-for-TV movies and a smattering of feature films, Spelling was recognized by Guinness World Records as the most prolific TV producer of all time. He received a special People's Choice Award that cited his "innate sense of the public taste."
In a sense, Spelling represented one of the final ties to a time when independent producers could amass enormous wealth by developing popular hits, during an era when the major networks were prevented from supplying their own programming — federal rules that have since been rescinded. And though Spelling remained active as a producer until his death — including most recently the series "Charmed" — his company, which he took public in 1986, was sold and became a unit of Viacom, functioning the last few years as a small division of a vast media conglomerate.
A soft-spoken Texan who started his Hollywood career as an actor and became increasingly eccentric later in life, Spelling was such a major supplier of programs to ABC in the 1970s that the network was only half-jokingly nicknamed "Aaron's Broadcasting Company."