Lawyer: 'Melrose' actress violated contract with pregnancy
December 9, 1997
A scene from "Melrose Place"
Web posted at: 3:22 p.m. EST (2022 GMT)
LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- An actress fired from the cast of the
television show "Melrose Place" violated her contract when
she became pregnant, a lawyer for Spelling Entertainment
testified this week.
Cortez Smith, senior counsel for Spelling Entertainment, was
on the witness stand all day Monday as testimony continued in
Los Angeles superior court in the pregnancy discrimination
lawsuit filed by actress Hunter Tylo.
Spelling is the company that produces the popular Fox
television show, and Smith is the attorney who drafted the
letter firing Tylo.
"I concluded that Ms. Tylo could not fulfill her contractual
obligation. In my mind, she would have undergone a material
change of appearance right when we started filming," Smith
The "material change of appearance" he referred to in
testimony was a quote from a clause found in Tylo's contract
Entertainment claims cleared the way for the firing.
Tylo was hired to play the role of a "sexy vixen" on the show
in January 1996 and fired a month later after telling
producers she was pregnant. Producers at Spelling said her
pregnancy would prevent her from appearing "sexy" on screen.
Most of the day was spent arguing various interpretations of
federal and state pregnancy discrimination laws.
"There's no case that says a pregnant actress can be fired --
especially if she can fulfill her job," said Nathan Goldberg,
an attorney for Tylo, during lunch recess. "The material
change law is such a red herring. This is a case about the
right of a woman to hold a job, to get pregnant, have a
family, and not be penalized for it."