‘Beverly Hills, 90210’s’ behind-the-scenes drama
What you didn't know about this popular 90s TV show
If you have a cast of young, attractive movie stars, it’s only a matter of time before things get dramatic. From trashing dressing rooms to escaping fans in laundry hampers, the cast of the original ‘Beverly Hills, 90210’ had enough behind-the-scenes drama to give the reboot cast a run for their money.
1. Jennie Garth and Shannen Doherty were always feuding
Actresses Jennie Garth (far right) and Shannen Doherty (center) were apparently usually at odds with each other. Garth played the part of Kelly Taylor, and Doherty was Brenda Walsh. Their characters Kelly and Brenda had an on-screen rivalry, but you might not expect that to go behind the scenes too!
A report in E! News says Tori Spelling (left) would often try to play peacemaker: “Poor Tori, the youngest of the three of us … was always trying to smooth things over,” Garth wrote in her 2013 memoir.
NEXT: Doherty often caught the attention of the media because of antics like this.
2. Doherty got into a fight at a nightclub
A 1992 report in Variety said that Doherty, then 21, got into a shoving match with aspiring actress Bonita Money, 32, at the Roxbury nightclub on Sunset Boulevard. Apparently what started the fight was that Doherty’s date and 90210 costar, Brian Austin Green, stepped on Money’s boyfriend’s toes.
Doherty was hit in the face but didn’t require medical attention other than some ice, her publicist Susan Culley told the media. Both women were issued misdemeanor battery citations and had to appear in Beverly Hills Municipal Court.
NEXT: Speaking of Brian Austin Green and the women he hung out with …
3. Brian Austin Green wasn’t keen on his GF joining ‘90210’
Fans thought otherwise — they really liked Tiffani Amber-Thiessen’s (left) part in Beverly Hills, 90210. Larry Mollin told TDW: “When we cast her, Brian was so upset! Oh my God, he felt betrayed! … We were totally shocked and had no idea.” After some head-scratching, they realized why Brian (right) was pissed.
“But, then, of course, we realized why: because other people would be kissing … his girlfriend!” Sounds like someone was a little possessive?
NEXT: Here’s what one actress did to separate herself from her famous producer father. Hint: It’s similar to what Nicolas Cage did.
4. Tori Spelling auditioned under a fake name
Actress Tori Spelling eventually got the role of Donna Martin. She’d originally wanted to be Andrea or Kelly and auditioned for the parts under the name “Tori Mitchell.” Some people might have taken advantage of having a famous father who was a producer on the show (Aaron Spelling), but Tori Spelling was fearful of nepotism.
“Tori’s Donna Martin would go on to become a fan-favorite, appearing in all 10 seasons of the show and being at the center of iconic moments,” says the report on E! News. One such iconic moment was the “Donna Martin graduates!” chant.
NEXT: This actress was in her late 20s when she auditioned.
5. Gabrielle Carteris lied about her age when auditioning
Actress Gabrielle Carteris originally wanted to play the role of Brenda but landed the part of the smart, sometimes socially awkward, editor of the West Beverly Blaze, Andrea Zuckerman. Unbeknownst to 90210’s producers, Carteris was older than she led them to believe — 29 years old, in fact.
“I actually talked to a lawyer about how could I sign these contracts and lie about my age and still be able to do the show. Is it OK?” Gabrielle Carteris told Access Hollywood. “(The lawyer said) ‘Yes it is, as long as you just say you’re over 21.’”
NEXT: Her audition was “horrible.”
6. Doherty had a terrible audition
Shannen Doherty (center) read for the part of Brenda Walsh but thought her audition was “horrible.” “I actually remember walking out and saying: ‘I lost that job. I blew it,’” she told The New York Times. But Doherty learned that sometimes things aren’t as they appear.
“And the casting director came out and sort of winked at me and said, ‘I wouldn’t count yourself out yet, kiddo,’” Doherty told the paper. “And I was like, ‘O.K., whatever.’” Then — surprise, surprise — Doherty landed the part of Brenda Walsh!
NEXT: This actor wasn’t that into 90210’s script.
7. Ian Ziering thought the script was ‘superficial’
The actor portraying Steve Sanders had just moved back to New Jersey when he got the call about 90210. New Jersey is a very different place from the glitz and glam of Beverly Hills, California. Perhaps that influenced Ziering’s initial thoughts on the script of the TV program?
“I mean, the pilot was all about the glitz and the glamour of Beverly Hills,” he told Entertainment Weekly. “The obnoxious kids, and the fish-out-of-water story of Brenda and Brandon Walsh. I couldn’t discern from that first script that the show would become very issue-oriented.”
NEXT: Let’s just say the tea was SPILLED in this memoir.
8. ‘Various combinations of people slept with each other over the years’ …
This was revealed by Jason Priestley in his memoir. What did you expect to happen with a roomful of young, attractive actors? On-set relationships are a tale as old as time — The O.C., Riverdale, Gossip Girl, and more have had their fair share of love and drama behind the scenes.
Beverly Hills, 90210 is no different. Priestley, who played Brandon Walsh on 90210, dated costar Christine Elise (who played Emily Valentine) for five years. According to E! Online, Priestley said his relationship with Elise was his “full-fledged adult relationship.”
NEXT: Daddy’s always watching … No really, he is …
9. Aaron Spelling kept a close eye on his daughter’s story lines
Every time the writers pitched stories about 90210 episodes, producer Aaron Spelling would always ask what his daughter’s character, Donna Martin, would be doing that episode. Donna wasn’t even one of the main characters — she was a supporting role. One of the producers thought Aaron’s concern for Tori was endearing.
“Tori was really out there,” 90210 writer and executive producer Larry Mollin told Vulture. “She was just enjoying herself. So even though the old man couldn’t control her, he could control Donna Martin.” Tori Spelling thought that Donna’s abstinence story line might have been her dad being protective of her.
NEXT: He didn’t feel the same way back.
10. This is who Tori Spelling crushed on
In her memoir, Tori Spelling (center) admitted to crushing on fellow 90210 costar Brian Austin Green. In fact, she called it an “insta-crush” (meaning “crush at first sight,” I’m guessing?). However, Green admitted during his August 2019 appearance on the BUILD Series that he never had a crush on Spelling. Unrequited love!
Ah, what could have been … But I’m sure Tori is over her crush — she’s now married to her second husband, Canadian actor Dean McDermott, and has five children.
NEXT: She may be a huge star, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t struggle with anxiety like all of us “normal” people do.
11. Garth struggled with anxiety
Jennie Garth admitted in her memoir that she struggled with anxiety: “I felt comfortable — almost comforted — by all of the workers buzzing around me during the day, but after hours, I’d find myself getting anxious when strangers approached me.” Sometimes a busy mind is comforted by busy surroundings, I guess?
“Simple tasks … became overwhelming exercises in having to be ‘on’ when my natural inclination was to shut down and not interact with anyone. I … began to suffer a level of anxiety that was, at times, nearly paralyzing,” Garth wrote.
NEXT: To escape crazed fans, 90210 actors had to take extreme measures.
12. The cast escaped fans in laundry hampers
The actor portraying Dylan McKay, the late Luke Perry, was basically putting fans’ lives at risk if he was nearby — some would faint and stop breathing! Yes, he was THAT much of a heartthrob. “I had a girl in Denver, she just wasn’t breathing,” he told Rolling Stone. “She fainted right in front of me.”
“And I was going, ‘Hey, hey, breathe, hey, hey.’” Fed up with having to deal with fans going ham, Luke Perry once escaped a Seattle mall in a laundry hamper “when throngs of adolescent female fans ran (lemming-like) into the barricades,” wrote Jay Martel in Rolling Stone. It’s really difficult being a hot actor, isn’t it?
NEXT: These were two surefire ways to piss off Aaron Spelling.
13. Aaron Spelling hated haircuts and sunglasses
Well, not just any haircuts, but when his actors went on break and got a haircut, he’d be furious as it changed their characters’ appearances. “Hair was very important to my dad,” Tori Spelling told The Hollywood Reporter. He also hated sunglasses on his actors.
“And if you watch, there are never sunglasses on 90210,” Tori Spelling said. “He’d always say, ‘Let them see it in your eyes before they hear it in your words.’ Luke Perry’s famous squint was probably because my dad wouldn’t let him wear sunglasses.”
NEXT: Carteris asked Aaron Spelling to include this story line.
14. This is why a pregnancy story line was written
In an interview with People magazine, Gabrielle Carteris recalled how her character Andrea went through a teen pregnancy: “Before I got pregnant with my first child, I went to Aaron (Spelling) and said, ‘My husband, Charlie, and I would like to start a family.’”
“‘I’d like for you to write it in that Andrea gets pregnant because I don’t want to hide my pregnancy. I want my baby to know I was proud and share it with the world’ … Aaron was so shocked, but he said, ‘Yes, we’ll do it.’”
NEXT: Christine Elise wasn’t liked by these people.
15. The female cast members didn’t like Christine Elise
Christine Elise (center right) was tapped to play Emily Valentine. She didn’t experience smooth sailing on set. A producer told her: “The guys are really great, I can’t make any promises about the girls.” Turns out that assessment was about right … Elise’s female castmates weren’t kind, but Luke Perry and Jason Priestley were friendly, details a report in Ranker.
Elise didn’t have nice words to say about costar Doherty: “She just was not friendly … as a guest on a show — you always feel awkward and vulnerable, so someone just not going out of their way to be nice feels hostile.”
NEXT: And you thought rock stars were the only ones that trashed rooms …
16. Ziering trashed a dressing room
It was the fourth season of 90210 when Ziering had a bit of a meltdown. There was an episode where his character, Steven, was accused of serious wrongdoing. Ziering workshopped his script and practiced during preparation for that episode. But then some changes to the script happened.
“I tore the dressing rooms apart,” Ziering told HuffPost Live. “I’m not a volatile person, I have a very long fuse, but after working so hard on this particular episode, I just didn’t feel like they were with me on this one.”
NEXT: When fame gets too tough, call the professionals.
17. Tom Jones was consulted on dealing with fame
90210 costars Luke Perry and Jason Priestley once asked Tom Jones, the singer of hits like “She’s a Lady” and “What’s New Pussycat?” about managing newfound fame. “Jason and I went out with Tom Jones, had some drinks and dinner,” Rolling Stone reported Perry saying.
(Who else should you turn to but Tom Jones, am I right?) Apparently, the boys ended up singing some off-key backup to Tom Jones on songs “I Want You, I Need You” and “Love Me,” in addition to getting industry advice. Just another night in Hollywood, I guess?
NEXT: Here’s how Jason Priestley’s goody-two-shoes reputation was tarnished.
18. Jason Priestley partied hard IRL
He may have played the ultimate heartthrob nice guy, Brandon Walsh, but Priestley (center) wasn’t much like his character in real life. At least, he wanted to appear to be. He said in his memoir that he started partying hard “to prove that I was nothing like the sanctimonious Brandon Walsh.”
Apparently, Jennie Garth said Priestley was the biggest partier out of the entire cast. He told The Hollywood Reporter: “When you’re young like that, you feel like a hamster on a wheel. All you’re doing is spinning that wheel and your world.”
NEXT: Priestley wasn’t the only troublemaker off-screen.
19. The cast got fed up with Doherty
Jason Priestley’s on-screen sister, Shannen Doherty, was also causing trouble in real life (what was UP with the Walsh family?). So much so that many on the cast of 90210 were getting super fed up with her antics. Of Doherty’s DGAF attitude, Priestley wrote in his memoir: “It was a very cool attitude until it wasn’t.”
Doherty was arguably the biggest star of 90210, later starring in Heathers, but she was the biggest diva. “Her lateness was appalling, and she had a callous attitude and an indifference,” a producer once told Entertainment Weekly.
NEXT: There came a breaking point with Doherty’s attitude.
20. Doherty was fired over a haircut
Remember what we said about Aaron Spelling hating haircuts? (It’s for continuity, gosh darn you!) Doherty gave Spelling and fellow producers a lot of reasons to fire her (being late, being a diva, having a bad attitude, etc.), but cutting her hair in the middle of the season four finale did it.
So producers gave her the boot and had the writers write her character Brenda Walsh an intriguing story line: She was to go off to London, United Kingdom, to pursue acting. (I guess she couldn’t pursue acting right around the corner in Hollywood?)
NEXT: Here’s who asked Aaron Spelling to fire Doherty.
21. Tori Spelling had something to do with Doherty’s firing
The entire cast was fed up with Shannen Doherty’s (left) overall diva attitude, so Tori Spelling (right) approached her dad on behalf of the entire cast. When you have a famous dad, you can call in a favor or two, right? This proved to be a taxing decision that Tori thought about years later.
Tori Spelling admitted to feeling terrible about being a part of getting Doherty fired. “I felt like I was a part of something, a movement, that cost someone their livelihood,” E! Online reported Spelling saying in 2015.
NEXT: This future Oscar winner was fired from the set of 90210.
22. Hilary Swank was fired from ‘90210’ unexpectedly
“I was on 90210 during the eighth season when no one watched anymore and Luke Perry was long gone,” Hilary Swank said on Conan, E! Online reports. She’d been portraying the character Carly Reynolds for 13 episodes and was on a two-year contract.
She then unexpectedly got the boot from 90210 producers. “They were like, ‘Look, it’s not working,’” Swank said. “I was like, ‘What’s not working? Me? Am I bad?’” She went on to win two Oscars, so she can’t be that bad.
NEXT: Guess which 90210 castmate joined the U.S. Air Force.
23. Douglas Emerson stopped acting after ‘90210’
Actor Douglas Emerson played the role of Scott Scanlon on 90210’s first two seasons. After his character was written off the show, Emerson eventually joined the U.S. Air Force. At first he was worried his fellow Air Force classmates would think he was “Mr. Hollywood,” he told People in a 2002 interview.
“His fears seem unfounded,” wrote Sonja Steptoe in People magazine. “For one thing, Emerson, now 27 and a staff sergeant working in Air Force intelligence, has served with distinction on high-profile missions from the Middle East to Europe.”
NEXT: 90210 fans didn’t like bad boys, apparently.
24. Jamie Walters was fired because fans hated his character
Fans apparently wrote to producer Aaron Spelling complaining that his daughter’s character shouldn’t be in a relationship with bad boy Ray Pruitt (played by Walters). After Ray pushes Donna down the stairs, his story line was going to be that he was going to go to rehab and reveal he was an abused child.
But this story line was never able to play out. Producer Larry Mollins said Aaron Spelling was adamant about Ray’s character being written off the show: “There was no arguing with him. That was all he cared about. So we had to fire (Walters).”
NEXT: Guess where the Walsh family’s house REALLY was …
25. The Walsh family’s house wasn’t in Beverly Hills
Brenda and Brandon Walsh move from Minneapolis, Minnesota, to Beverly Hills, California, in 90210. However, Mental Floss notes that the Walsh family’s house isn’t actually in Beverly Hills — at least in real life. The home used for filming exterior shots is located in Altadena, California.
More specifically, 1675 East Altadena Drive in Altadena, California. This location is about 30 miles away from the actual, real-life Beverly Hills. “Altadena, 91001 just doesn’t have the same panache,” writes Jennifer M. Wood in Mental Floss. Couldn’t have said it better!