Aaron Spelling was born in Dallas, Texas, to Polish Jewish immigrant parents, and attended Forest Avenue High School. After serving with the United States Army Air Forces, he attended Southern Methodist University, graduating in 1949. He married actress Carolyn Jones in 1953, and they moved to California.
Spelling sold his first script to Jane Wyman Theater in 1954. He went on to write for Dick Powell, Playhouse 90, and Last Man, amongst others. Later, he found work as an actor additionally. In total he played screen parts in 22 programs (in several shows a few episodes; none of his flagships, perhaps the best known being Gunsmoke) between 1956 and 1997. During the 1950s, Spelling joined Powell's Four Star Productions.
After Powell's death he formed Thomas-Spelling Productions with Danny Thomas. Their first success was with the television show The Mod Squad. In total he wrote for 14 television productions between 1957 and 1974, including several series with multiple episodes on his credit. He also began a collaboration at this time with associate producer Shelley Hull, who, aside from "The Mod Squad", had worked with Spelling on "The Rookies" and "Charlie's Angels." Hull also worked with Spelling in 1976 on the hit ABC movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble", starring a young John Travolta. Spelling directed only once, on "The Conchita Vasquez Story", a 1959 TV Episode of "Wagon Train".
Spelling divorced Jones in 1965 and in 1968 he married Carol Jean Marer, who took his name as Candy Spelling. He was father of Victoria Davey Spelling and Randall Gene Spelling, both of whom became actors as teenagers, as Tori Spelling and Randy Spelling. They mainly appeared in several of their father's productions, most notably in "Beverly Hills, 90210". The family's 123-room home in Los Angeles, built by Spelling for the cost of USD $47,000,000, and named "The Manor", occupies 46,500 square feet (slightly over one acre) and is the largest single-family dwelling in Hollywood. It is larger than the Taj Mahal but smaller than the Pentagon.
In 1972, he created Aaron Spelling Productions, and another co-production company with Leonard Goldberg. His company went public in 1986 as Spelling Entertainment. Spelling also produced the NBC daytime soap opera Sunset Beach from 1997 to 1999, and in one of his few acting roles since the 1960s, played one of Bette's (Kathleen Noone) ex-husbands for one day in 1997. He also appeared as himself on 27 programs between 1992 and 2005. After 2000, Spelling rarely gave serious interviews, and control of the Spelling Television company has been directed by his business partner E. Duke Vincent and the company's president, Jonathan Levin.
In 2001, Spelling was diagnosed with oral cancer. On January 28, 2006, Spelling was sued by his former nurse who seeks unspecified damages for ten claims, including sexual harassment, discrimination, retaliation, sexual battery, assault, wrongful termination and intentional infliction of emotional distress. On June 18, 2006, Spelling suffered a severe stroke at his estate in Holmby Hills, Los Angeles, California. He died there five days later on June 23, 2006, from complications of the stroke, at the age of 83. The public was not allowed to attend Spelling's funeral held several days after his death. Aaron Spelling was interred in a mausoleum crypt in Hillside Memorial Park in Culver City, California.