Tori Spelling. sTORI Telling. New York: Simon and Schuster, 2008.
The author, an actor and daughter of producer Aaron Spelling, tells of her awakening to Hollywood life when, at age 12, her mother she’s look pretty “when we get your nose done”. She discovered that her life was in the public domain beginning from having a role on show her father produced, “Beverly Hills 90210”.
Of the most notable rumors about her, Tori Spelling confirms it was true her father at Christmas made snow with a snow making machine (and he did so on two Christmases), corrects that she didn’t live in the large former Bing Crosby mansion until she was 17 years old, and explains the rumor she was “disinherited” was exaggerated.
Tori Spelling grew up being given many collectible untouchable dolls while wising for a doll house with which to play.
Tori Spelling tells how she wanted to act beginning when she was five years old. She denies being pushed into acting while recognizing her father did help her career, including providing her with acting lessons. She had bit roles in some of her father’s shows before “Beverly Hills 90210”.
Tori filmed the pilot for “Beverly Hills 90210” while in 10th grade and began filming the series with in the 11th grade. Tori writes of how getting a role through her father’s connections made the cast and crew dislike her from the start. She generally had just a few lines and there was some negative press about being the producer’s daughter in a role with little significance. She states she had a talent for comedy while allowed her role to include visually comedic touches that allowed her role to increase over time.
“Beverly Hills 90210” lasted ten years. There were tensions on the set, especially between Shannon Doherty, who had starred in a TV series and movies prior, versus Jennie Garth, who had worked her way in smaller roles up into a role in the series. The tensions even led to a fistfight.
Tori’s career expanded as she performed on TV movies during when the series wasn’t shooting. She notes that she was often typecast as a woman being stalked, as happened in several movies.
Tori Spelling had some bad relationships. She writes how she used a year’s salary to pay off the gambling debts of a boyfriend.
Tori spelling claims the writers didn’t seem to care about the writing quality of the scripts during the tenth season of “Beverly Hills 90210”. The actors began rewriting the scenes. Tori left the show. The Fox Network, which broadcast the series, threatened to cancel the show if she refused to return to the show. Tori thought they were bluffing and insisted she was not returning. The next day, Fox cancelled the show.
Tori got a professional break being cast in the movie “Scary Movie 2”. Her father was not affiliated with the movie and she won this comedic role on her own talent. She was allowed to improvise lines. There were some tense negotiations when Tori refused to do a nude scene or allow the nude scene to use a body double. Her father warned her that this stance could get her cut from the film. Her character’s nude scene was cut from the film. Yet, her role was edited from a starring role to a cameo.
Tori was boosted when she turned to acting in theater and received good reviews.
NBC, UPN, and WB bid on the pilot of Tori Spelling’s show “So NoTORIous”. Tori chose NBC only to have NBC not pick up the series after the pilot. She went to UPN and WB and learned that networks don’t like to be turned down and they rejected the series. Fortunately for Tori,VH1 picked up the series. When she met her costar, Dean McDermott, she writes that it was love at first sight. She admits she cheated on her marriage with Dean but observes the connection between them was so strong she didn’t regret it. Tori also notes Dean has a cute and perky nose since “he’s Canadian, and Canadian men have the best noses”.
Despite good ratings, VH1 canceled “So NoTORIous” after one season. It cost a million dollars an episode of “So NoTORIous” when an episode of a reality show could cost $200,000.
The book provides a fascinating fact about her father, Aaron Spelling. While serving in the Air Force, Aaron Spelling developed the flu before taking a flight and was grounded by the flight surgeon. The plane he missed crashed and all aboard were killed.
Tori’s next TV series was “Tori & Dean Inn Love”. It was a reality show about her and now second husband Dean McDermott running a bed and breakfast.
The book provides an honest description of key elements in Tori Spelling’s life including being raised by a nanny, having a distance mother and the strained relationship she and her mother have. Tori concludes what she has been seeking in her life is a normal life with a loving husband and child. She has found her “normal”.