Beatification of Aaron Spelling moves Mod Squad creator one step closer to sainthood
The Catholic Church has announced the beatification of Aaron Spelling barely five years after his death, pushing his elevation to sainthood ahead of that of Mother Theresa and the late pope John Paul II. A Vatican panel last week verified a miracle ascribed to the TV producer who brought the TV show Charlie’s Angels among a broader canon of deeply affecting work into 20th Century culture. Pope Benedict XVI, himself a huge Dynasty fan, had approved the surprising move, given that it is the first time a Jew—and married person—has been granted such a distinction. Benedict has championed Spelling’s canonization since the producer’s passing in 2006. Certification of a second miracle is necessary for sainthood.
Tens of thousands of devotees are expected to join in simultaneous celebrations April 22 in St. Peter’s Square and the Television Academy of Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, which will be followed by a reception at widow Candy Spelling’s Century City condominium.
According to the Vatican, Benedict approved the church’s findings that, with the survival of William Shatner’s post-T.J. Hooker career, Spelling had performed a miracle after his death, which is a prerequisite for beatification. Spelling’s own career had been on the ropes after Nightingales, but in a miraculous turn of events took off again with 7th Heaven, which Benedict called “an ecumenical triumph—Protestant-leaning, Catholic in spirit, and Jewish in execution.”
A cardinal in the Pope’s inner circle, requesting anonymity, said that Benedict had quietly submitted a bid for the Spellings’ $150 million Beverly Hills mansion when Mrs. Spelling put it on the market in 2009, as “a sort of Vatican West, given the pomp and scale of the property.” The bid was accepted but the purchase fell out of escrow because of the church’s continued lawsuit obligations; the home is still on the market.
Asked what is necessary now to seal the canonization, the Vatican was elusive except to say that they are pursuing the angle of a resurgence in roles for Jaclyn Smith (one of the original Charlie’s Angels cast) as well as the continued, unearned attention paid to the Spellings’ daughter Tori as proof of the second miracle. Spokespersons for Ms. Smith and Ms. Spelling did not return calls for a comment.