Tori Spelling turns 50 years old this month. If you know who that is, I’m sorry to hear about your joint pain.
This is a milestone of maturity because Spelling was first famous for being young: her show about super-serious high school hijinks, Beverly Hills 90210, brought the power of the youth demographic to television in a big way. (Arguably counterintuitive for a show featuring high school juniors who looked like they were in their 30s.) Despite being a media phenomenon in the 1990s, 90210 didn’t quite launch a bunch of future superstars the way other series like the short-lived Freaks and Geeks did; Andrea became president of the Screen Actors Guild, Dylan became Archie’s dad on Riverdale, and Steve Sanders went on to join the heroic fight against sharknadoes.
But maybe nobody was more identifiable as the face of 90210 than Tori Spelling, who played the drama-prone and famously virginal Donna Martin. The daughter of producer Aaron Spelling, Tori was a notorious nepo baby long before anyone invented that term, and she played Donna as sweet-natured and hapless, a magnet for bad luck and a virtuoso of bad choices.
When Donna got caught drinking champagne and was banned from attending graduation, the whole school mobilized behind the cause, chanting “Donna Martin Graduates!” until the school board relented. I’m no history expert but I’m pretty sure that was when political activism was invented.