Childhood & Early Life
Candy Spelling was born Carole Gene Marer, on September 20, 1945, in Beverly Hills, California, U.S., to Jewish couple Augusta Rosen and Merritt Marer. Her father was the founder of a chain of furniture stores. Even though the business flourished in its initial years, it collapsed later, due to over-expansion.
Spelling attended the 'Beverly Hills High School' and the 'Chouinard Art Institute' in Los Angeles.
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Spelling published her autobiography, 'Stories from Candyland,' in March 2009. It was listed as one of 'The New York Times' bestsellers in a couple of weeks of its release.
She simultaneously made her TV debut as a celebrity panelist on the ‘E!’ reality show 'Bank of Hollywood.'
In 2010, Spelling became a stage-play producer on ‘Broadway.’ Her first co-production was the revival of the musical 'Promises, Promises,' starring Sean Hayes, Kristin Chenoweth, Brooks Ashmanskas, Tony Goldwyn, and Katie Finneran. It was nominated for multiple 'Tony' awards (eventually winning two). It also won a 'Grammy.’
Her second production was the 2011 ‘Broadway’ revival of 'How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying,' with Daniel Radcliffe in the lead role.
One of Spelling's most prominent TV appearances was in a two-episode special for ‘HGTV,’ titled 'Selling Spelling Manor,' aired in December 2011 and January 2012. The two episodes covered a documentary on her lavish 56,500-square-foot Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, manor (larger than the ‘White House’), listed as the most expensive home in the country. She sold the property to British-born heiress, model, fashion designer, and socialite Petra Ecclestone in 2011.
Spelling produced the 'Tony'-nominated ‘Broadway’ show 'Nice Work If You Can Get It,' starring Michael McGrath and Judy Kaye. It premiered in April 2012. She is also credited as the producer of the 2013 ‘Broadway’ musical 'After Midnight,' which premiered at the 'Brooks Atkinson Theatre.' Like her previous production, this was also nominated for seven 'Tony Awards' and won in the category of “Outstanding Choreography” (Warren Carlyle).
In 2013, she produced and appeared in another ‘HGTV’ special, 'Beyond Spelling Manor,' which documented the construction of her condominium and her days in search of an apartment in New York City.
In May, the following year, Spelling's memoir, 'Candy, at Last,' was published. She has also written columns for ‘TMZ’ and ‘The Huffington Post.'
Spelling's next stage production was the 2016 'Tony'-winning musical revival 'The Color Purple,' with Cynthia Erivo in the lead. Cynthia won a 'Tony' for her portrayal of the central character, 'Celie.'
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In 2018, Spelling's ‘Broadway’ revival of Eugene O'Neill's original play 'The Iceman Cometh,' starring Denzel Washington and Tammy Blanchard in the lead roles, received eight 'Tony' nominations, two 'Drama League' nominations, and one nomination each for the 'Drama Desk' and the 'Outer Critics Circle' awards.
She also produced the revival of the Rogers and Hammerstein musical 'Carousel,' starring Lindsay Mendez (which won a 'Tony Award'), and the ‘Broadway’ revival of Edward Albee's 'Pulitzer'-winning two-act play 'Three Tall Women.' Laurie Metcalf and Glenda Jackson won 'Tony' awards for their performances in the revival.
Some of her other productions are the musical 'Moulin Rougel The Musical' (which premiered in 2018), the 2019 jukebox musical 'Tina: The Tina Turner Musical' (starring Adrienne Warren), the 'Tony'-nominated ‘Broadway’ show 'King Lear' (starring Glenda Jackson), 'Hillary and Clinton' (starring Laurie Metcalf and John Lithgow), and 'Tootsie' (starring Santino Fontana). ‘Tootsie’ won a 'Tony' Award.
Spelling was a guest judge on the ‘ABC’ reality show 'Wrap Battle.'
In 2012, Spelling was appointed to the board of directors of the animal-welfare non-profit 'American Humane.' She was made the vice-chair of the board in 2015.
The 'American Humane Association' has presented its highest honor, the 'National Humanitarian Medal,' to Spelling. She was part of the judging panel for the 'American Humane Association Hero Dog Awards' and chaired their fund-raising event 'Bark for the Cure.'
She is also a board member of the 'Los Angeles World Affairs Council,' a founding board member of the 'Los Angeles Parks Foundation,' the commissioner emeritus on the board of 'Recreation and Parks for the City of Los Angeles,' a craft ambassador of the 'Craft & Hobby Association,' a ‘Board of Governors’ member of the after-school enrichment program 'LA's Best,' and a member of the 'UCLA Health System Board.'
As a member of the board of directors of 'LA Inc.,' the 'Los Angeles Convention and Visitors Bureau,' she was named the "Ambassador for Tourism" for Los Angeles.
Spelling played a key role in the expansion of the Los Angles day-care center for underprivileged families, 'Centro De Niños.' The 'President's Council of Service and Civic Participation' has honored her for her charitable works.
Spelling joined the board of directors of 'Los Angeles Ballet' in 2019.
Family & Personal Life
Spelling's first marriage, to Howard Frederick Leveson, was short-lived. They married in1963 and divorced the following year.
She then married film/TV producer and screenwriter Aaron Spelling. They remained together from 1968 until his death in 2006. They had a daughter, Victoria Davey ("Tori"), in 1973. Tori grew up to become a popular actor, TV personality, socialite, and author. Their son, Randy Gene Spelling (born in 1978), grew up to be an actor and then turned a life coach.
Spelling has seven grandchildren.
Spelling had an estranged relationship with Tori. Their relationship seemed to have improved somewhat later. Due to the nature of their relationship, people doubted whether Tori would have any share in her father's $500-million estate after his death. Spelling established a trust fund worth $10 million, for Tori's eldest child, Liam.
While living in her Holmby Hills manor, Spelling had a huge entourage to serve her family. However, she did not share a good relationship with all of them.
She had a tiff with her personal fashion designer, Nolan Miller, who specialized in power suits and beaded gowns. He had his boutique set up in the manor and lived there, even after his divorce. When Spelling ventured into fashion designing, she accused Miller of copying her design for a gown that Suzanne Somers had worn on a TV show.
Spelling had an issue with another staff, Dominick Dunne, whose 'Vanity Fair' article, published after Aaron's death, accused Spelling of having an affair with former California coastal commissioner Mark Nathanson. She did not take the article positively and justified her stand, saying her relationship with Mark had been platonic. Dunne reportedly received a fair amount of money from the Spellings.