Aaron Spelling (1923-2006)
Born in Dallas, Texas, Aaron Spelling served in the Air Force (at that time I think it was known as the Army Air Corps) before attending Southern Methodist University in Dallas and graduating in 1949 with a Bachelor of Arts degree.
His first foray into showbiz was as an actor, with a small part in the movie Vicki in 1953. He also acted in several movies and TV shows, such as I Love Lucy, Gunsmoke, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. However, his success came in writing and producing. His first work at producing was for Zane Grey Theater in 1957. He continued to produce TV shows prolificly from then on, and was the producer for such notable series as The Mod Squad (1968), S.W.A.T. (1975), Starsky and Hutch (1975), The Rookies (1975), Family (1976), Charlie's Angels (1976), Fantasy Island (1977), The Love Boat (1977), Hart to Hart (1979), Dynasty (1981), T.J. Hooker (1982), and Melrose Place (1992), plus a lot of others.
His huge mansion was considered by some outrageously extravagant even by Hollywood standards, and is supposedly the largest single-family dwelling in California. He has a place in the Guinness Book of World Records as the most prolific television producer. He is listed as producing over 200 TV shows by imdb.com.
His children Tori Spelling and Randy Spelling are both actors.
He was said to have been a lifelong smoker until he was diagnosed with oral cancer in 2001. He suffered a stroke on June 18, 2006 and died from complications related to the stroke five days later on June 23.