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Jurors to hear closing arguments in 'Melrose Place' case

December 10, 1997
Web posted at: 12:17 p.m. EST (1717 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Closing arguments were to be heard Thursday in the trial for the pregnancy-discrimination lawsuit filed by actress Hunter Tylo, who was fired from the popular television show "Melrose Place" before she appeared in a single episode.

Before defense attorneys rested their case Tuesday, a deposition given in September 1996 by Hollywood mogul and series creator Aaron Spelling was read to the Superior Court jury. Spelling was unable to appear in court, because he is recovering from surgery.

In the deposition, he testified that he was "stunned" to learn that Tylo had become pregnant after being hired to play the role of a sexy seductress on the show. Tylo is suing Spelling Television Inc. and Spelling Entertainment Group for pregnancy discrimination, wrongful termination and breach of contract. She is seeking unspecified damages.

In his testimony, Spelling said he believes pregnant women can be sexy, but it would be improper to have one play the role of an unmarried "vixen" on "Melrose Place."

At the time the deposition was taken, defense attorney Nathan Goldberg asked Spelling if he felt it was possible for a pregnant woman to be enticing. Spelling responded, "I think that's a horrible question. It's insulting. I won't answer it."

Then, without further prompting, he added, "Of course she's still enticing. Of course, pregnant women can be enticing. I'm married, we have children. My wife was enticing when she was pregnant. But she was not sleeping with a man who she was not married to."

In further testimony, Spelling described the nighttime serial as a "sensual show." He said he and the show's producers had created a role in which the actress would be required to wear skimpy, sexy clothes, and bare her stomach, arms and legs.

The "vixen" role might even require some tasteful nudity, he said.

"You try to get as much sensuality ... without actually revealing total nudity," Spelling said.

Hunter Tylo

Because of the eventual change in Tylo's body because of her pregnancy, Spelling said he agreed with the opinion of his producer, Frank South, that it would be impossible for the actress to fill the role for which she was hired.

Earlier in the week, a Spelling attorney testified that when Tylo became pregnant, she violated a clause in her contract barring her from undergoing a "material change of appearance."

Tylo claims she was discriminated against for being pregnant, and that she was wrongfully terminated. Her attorneys call the "material change" clause a "red herring."

Tylo, a longtime actress on the daytime soap "The Bold and the Beautiful," had given up her role there to move to "Melrose Place." She has since returned to the "Bold and the Beautiful" cast.

In a written statement, Spelling Entertainment said the company has offered Tylo a different role on "Melrose Place" for next fall, if the show is picked up for a sixth season.

Reuters contributed to this report.


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