Actress Tori Spelling said Saturday that she was thankful she had the chance to reconcile with her father, TV mogul Aaron Spelling, before he died.
Spelling, 83, died Friday at his Holmby Hills mansion of complications from a stroke he suffered earlier in the week. His shows -- “Dynasty,” “Charlie’s Angels,” “Melrose Place” and “Beverly Hills, 90210" among them -- were often derided by critics but were wildly popular with TV watchers.
“I am grateful that I recently had the opportunity to reconcile with my father, and most grateful we had the chance to tell each other we loved one another before he passed away,” Tori Spelling said in a statement.
“It is a true blessing to have had a parent that loved me unconditionally and was always there for me,” the statement said. “I am honored to be Aaron Spelling’s daughter. He had a heart that was as big as his talent, and today along with many others I mourn his loss. He was a great man and even better father.”
She did not return a phone call seeking further comment. The estrangement between father and daughter had became tabloid fodder in part because Tori -- who shot to fame after being cast as the virginal Donna in “90210"-- was often portrayed in the media as something of a daddy’s girl.
She was married to actor-writer Charlie Shanian in a lavish ceremony that was hosted by her parents in July 2004 and said to have cost $1 million.
Then, she met and fell in love with actor Dean McDermott, who was also married. The two divorced their spouses and were married last month in Fiji, without family or friends present. Her father was said to be especially disappointed. Tori also reportedly offended her mother, Candy, with her new show, “So NoTORIous.” On the sitcom, the main character’s mother is portrayed as having an out-of-control shopping addiction.
In addition to his daughter and wife, Aaron Spelling is survived by his son Randy. Candy and Randy Spelling released their own joint statement Saturday expressing their gratitude for the support they’ve received: “Our extreme sadness and grief is comforted by the overwhelming number of heartfelt calls.... Our family is truly appreciative of everyone’s love and support.”
Kevin Sasaki, the producer’s publicist, said a private burial to be attended by close family and friends is planned. A memorial service will take place next month for those who knew the one-time actor who went on to become one of television’s most powerful and influential players.
Sasaki said he could not speak to reports of family estrangement, adding, “All of that stuff is gossip, rumor stuff.” He said such talk was also dismissed by Randy, whom he quoted as saying, “This is not ‘Dynasty’; this is a real family and loves each other” and who added that he wished the focus would remain on honoring the late TV legend.
Stephen Collins, who plays the Rev. Eric Camden on another popular Spelling show, “7th Heaven,” also released a statement Saturday lamenting the passing of one of TV’s most successful producers: “He was incredibly hands-on, loved his work, and told me once he’d never retire. With our show still on the air, he was good to his word. I’ll miss him terribly.”