Hunter Tylo vs. Aaron Spelling


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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The actress who replaced a pregnant Hunter Tylo on TV's "Melrose Place" after Tylo was fired testified Friday that the role required her to use her sexuality "to the hilt."

Lisa Rinna, who stars as Taylor McBride on the popular night-time soap opera, was hired in 1996 after Tylo's dismissal -- and before Tylo appeared in a single episode.

Tylo has sued Spelling Entertainment Group and Spelling Television Inc. -- run by Hollywood mogul Aaron Spelling -- for breach of contract, wrongful termination and pregnancy discrimination.

Spelling has denied Tylo was fired for being pregnant, but rather that she broke her contract by changing her appearance, which the producers have said was not suitable to play the role of a sexy "vixen."

"I had to use my sexuality to the hilt," Rinna said. "I had to do love scenes like I'd never done before. I had to wear less clothing, use my sexuality, my body and my looks in a way I'd never done before."

In spirited testimony that often had jurors laughing out loud, Rinna also said her character was supposed to seduce away the husband of the character played by star Heather Locklear.

"Heather Locklear is not only only one of the most beautiful women, she's very sexy," Rinna said. "In order to go head to head with her you'd better use all your sexuality, pull out all your stops."

And Rinna said her wardrobe on the show consisted of form-fitting clothes, swimsuits and "a lot of lingerie."

"Taylor likes to accentuate her features," she said. "Sometimes she's been known to stuff her bra."

Rinna described the Taylor McBride character as a manipulative woman who "very much uses her body to get what she wants" from men.

As a result, she said, the character "shows a lot of her body -- most of her body."

She said the love scenes on "Melrose Place" had a "very violent sexuality" to them that surprised her.

Rinna's testimony was sought by Spelling attorneys to show an actress couldn't play the part while carrying a baby. But Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Fumiko Wasserman sustained an opposing lawyer's objection and prevented Rinna from answering that question directly.

Incidentally, Rinna just announced she is 10 weeks pregnant, but the show's producers have said they will not fire her as a result.

Earlier Friday, Tylo wound up her testimony, tearfully telling how she sued the show's producers after being driven to consider ending her pregnancy.

"For a brief moment I'm ashamed of, I considered having an abortion," she said. "I considered it, and I'm ashamed because I don't believe in it. I look at my daughter walking now and I'm ashamed.

"I don't ever want to see a woman put in that position again," she added.

Spelling and Locklear are expected to testify later in the trial.



LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Actress Hunter Tylo broke into tears on the witness stand Thursday as she recalled learning that she had been fired from TV's "Melrose Place" after telling producers she was pregnant.

Tylo said her dismissal from the popular show before she appeared in a single episode jeopardized her family and career and plunged her into a depression that required counseling.

"I just couldn't figure out what I had done wrong," she said. "I felt that I had been called a big, fat, ugly person who didn't even deserve the chance to prove myself."

Earlier, her manager Marvin Dauer testified that Tylo was told she could keep her job if she had an abortion. Dauer also recalled an executive with the production company telling him that filing the lawsuit was the "worst mistake" they could ever make.

Tylo, who was replaced in the part of Taylor McBride by actress Lisa Rinna, is suing Spelling Entertainment Group and Spelling Television Inc. -- run by Hollywood mogul Aaron Spelling -- for wrongful termination, breach of contract and pregnancy discrimination.

Lawyers for Spelling argue that Tylo's pregnancy represented a "material change" in her appearance that made her wrong for the planned role of a "vixen" and "seductress" who would steal the husband of the character played by star Heather Locklear.

Tylo, 34, testified Thursday that she had left her six-year job on the daytime soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful" and sold her home in anticipation of working on "Melrose Place."

When she was fired less than two months after signing a contract with Spelling, Tylo said, she went into a tailspin.

"I just felt like my whole family was in jeopardy," she said. "I went into work (on "The Bold and the Beautiful") knowing that people were whispering behind my back."

"It was very humbling," she added. "My first day back there was a lot of snickering."

Tylo said she began suffering from migraines and depression, and eventually sought help from a therapist.

"I was not myself," she said. "It was such a dark period of my life. If I look back at that period of my life it looks like the lights had all been turned off."

Tylo, whose testimony was postponed until the afternoon session Thursday because she was suffering from the 'flu, is expected to return to the witness stand Friday.


LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - The manager of an actress suing the producers of "Melrose Place" for firing her after she got pregnant testified Thursday she was told she could keep her job if she had an abortion.

Marvin Dauer said the president of Spelling Television Inc. also threatened him and actress Hunter Tylo for filing the lawsuit, calling it the "worst mistake" they would ever make.

Tylo, 34, star of the daytime soap opera "The Bold and the Beautiful," is suing Spelling Entertainment Group, which is run by TV mogul Aaron Spelling, for wrongful termination, breach of contract and pregnancy discrimination.

Lawyers for Spelling argue that the actress, who was hired to portray a new character on the nighttime Fox series "Melrose Place," could not convincingly play the planned role of a "vixen" and "seductress" while pregnant.

Dauer testified that Spelling Television President Jonathan Levin was "pissed and angry" in a telephone conversation in April of 1996, shortly after learning of Tylo's pregnancy -- and about a month after hiring her to play Taylor McBride on "Melrose Place."

"He told me, 'why don't you just tell her to have an abortion, and then she can go to work"' Dauer said, adding that he was "shocked" by the remark.

About a week later, Dauer said, Spelling lawyers faxed Tylo's agent a letter firing her from the show. Dauer said he heard from Levin again several months later, after Tylo filed her lawsuit against Spelling Entertainment and Spelling Television.

"He just said, 'you're suing us, and that's the worst mistake you and Hunter will ever make in your entire life,"' Dauer quoted the executive as saying.

Also testifying Thursday was the actress' husband, Michael Tylo, an actor who has appeared on the soap operas "All My Children," "The Young and the Restless" and "General Hospital."

He told jurors that his wife began sobbing when she saw the letter terminating her from "Melrose Place."

He testified that the couple had been surprised by his wife's pregnancy, which came unexpectedly after two years of trying. His wife told the court Wednesday that she is pregnant again and expecting in January.

"It was a blessing from God," he said. "You get a blessing from God, you go with it."