Downsizing, TV style: Goodbye to Spelling Manor
Friday, December 16, 2011
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Granted, it’s a problem that maybe 1 percent of Americans could ever face: a 30-day deadline to move out of a 56,500-square-foot home after two decades of filling it with “stuff,” as owner Candy Spelling puts it.
The widow of TV producer Aaron Spelling (”Dynasty,” “Charlie’s Angels” and scads more shows) takes on the task with such can-do spirit that it’s easy to admire her, if not quite sympathize with her.
The process, involving 30 moving vans and meticulous planning by the uber-organized Spelling, is detailed in HGTV’s two-part “Selling Spelling Manor,” which debuts 9 p.m. EST Thursday. The second episode airs 4 p.m. EST Jan. 2.
“I took my attachment and separated myself from it,” Spelling said. “I couldn’t get emotional about everything I was packing.”
Spelling, whose husband died in 2006, sold the French-style house on 4.7 acres in the city’s exclusive Holmby Hills section for $85 million in July. The buyer was British heiress Petra Ecclestone, 22, daughter of sports entrepreneur Bernie Ecclestone.
The one-month escrow was part of the deal and not a TV stunt, said Spelling and the special’s executive producer, Stuart Krasnow.
As Spelling, her staff and movers scurry to pack up Spelling Manor (as the family dubbed the estate), viewers get a peek at some of its five kitchens, 27 bathrooms and bowling alley, arcade, and silver storage and gift-wrap “specialty areas.”
“She’s Martha Stewart up there,” Krasnow said of the space in which Spelling would wrap close to 1,000 presents a year. “It’s her way of saying I didn’t assign this to somebody. The generosity was important to me to show.”
Besides the furniture and artwork occupying Southern California’s largest house, Spelling had to evaluate her varied collections for donation, sale or storage.
“Only when I started moving did I start to think I have tendencies to be a hoarder,” Spelling said, good-naturedly, then added: “I’m an archivist. That makes it sound a little better, doesn’t it?”
Among her acquisitions: thousands of stuffed Beanie Babies, the result of urging her household to stuff themselves with McDonald’s Happy Meals; hundreds of rare Madame Alexander dolls from the 1930s to the 1970s; 5,000 bound scripts from her husband’s TV series.
The Beanie Babies were set for sale on eBay, with proceeds going to the nonprofit organization LA’s Best, which benefits afterschool programs; Spelling is a board member.
Aaron Spelling’s scripts are being donated to Boston University, while the rare dolls are to be sold at auction. A climate-controlled warehouse is getting the bulk of the house’s contents for Candy Spelling and children Tori (of “Beverly Hills 90210” and reality series fame) and Randy to gradually sort through.
Spelling’s new home is a custom-built condo, reportedly purchased for $47 million, on the top two floors of a Los Angeles-area high-rise. It’s about the size of the 17,000-square-foot attic she left behind.
That means serious downsizing. But she’s getting a rose garden, albeit a fraction of the ones at Spelling Manor, and a pool with an expansive city view.
It’s part of a new, relatively simpler lifestyle, said Spelling, who is still attending black-tie events but has traded “ball gowns and huge jewelry” for simpler evening dresses.
“I’m guess I’m more mature and not so insecure. Aaron put a big importance on a lot of that and was really very thrilled to give it all to me. But I’m glad to not have to be bothered with it,” said Spelling, 66, who wryly called herself a “trophy wife” in the past.
She hopes the recently married Ecclestone will create her own happy family history at the manor. For Candy Spelling and her offspring, the memories and even the Halloween memorabilia remain to be divided.
“Both Tori and Randy mentioned the witch with the cauldron. I hope there’s not a little fight over that,” Spelling said.
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