Tori Spelling relishes role as gay icon

LOS ANGELES Wed Apr 16, 2008 2:57pm EDT

Actress Tori Spelling, who portrays Alex in the movie ''Kiss the Bride,'' poses for a portrait in Los Angeles April 11, 2008. The movie opens limitedly in the U.S. on April 18. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Actress Tori Spelling, who portrays Alex in the movie ''Kiss the Bride,'' poses for a portrait in Los Angeles April 11, 2008. The movie opens limitedly in the U.S. on April 18.

Credit: Reuters/Mario Anzuoni

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Even in Hollywood where celebrity bashing is a standard practice, Tori Spelling has endured more than her share of mockery. But among one set of fans, the former "Beverly Hills 90210" star is adored.

Gay men, it seems, can't get enough of Tori Spelling, and she hopes to make them happy in romantic comedy "Kiss the Bride," her new movie debuting on Friday in major U.S. cities.

"I'm a huge fan of gays," Spelling told Reuters. "They love me; I love them. They consider me kind of a gay icon, which they've labeled me as."

Spelling began acting as a child on shows such as "The Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island," which were produced by her famous father Aaron Spelling. But it was in the role of kindhearted teen Donna Martin on "90210" that Spelling gained her own measure of fame and earned a fan base.

For years, popular wisdom had it that the only reason she was hired for "90210" was because her dad's company was behind the show, but she has proven adept not only at acting but also writing a book and being a mom.

In other words, Tori Spelling is no daddy's girl. But she is beloved by many gay men, and the gay theme "was probably one of the top things that made me want to do the movie," she said about "Kiss the Bride."

Spelling plays the fiancee of a boy named Ryan, who had a homosexual fling with a friend in high school. When the friend, Matt, learns Spelling's character Alex is set to marry his long-ago lover, he turns up to convince Ryan he is making a mistake by marrying a woman.

"TRICK" IS A TREAT

The actress said the response she got from doing 1999's gay-themed "Trick" was so overwhelming that she considered it "kind of a coup" to be able to make another gay-themed movie.

Spelling also has found other ways to embrace her gay fans -- including being an advocate for same-sex unions.

Last year, she became an ordained minister after two male fans asked her to officiate at the wedding they held at the Fallbrook, California, bed and breakfast she ran with her husband, actor Dean McDermott.

"They said 'We have this idea. We want you to perform the ceremony ... we're huge fans, it would be so cool if Tori Spelling married us,'" Spelling said. "I haven't done any since ... but I'm open. I'm free, my schedule is wide open."

Spelling was joking about having lots of free time.

Currently, she is filming the third season of her reality TV show, the Oxygen network's "Tori & Dean: Inn Love," and promoting a line of jewelry on the HSN shopping network. To top it all off, she is expecting her second child in June.

But as busy as she gets, she seems grateful for everything that comes her way. "I'm not happy not doing anything," Spelling said, adding that she acquired a strong work ethic from her father, who died in 2006. "When positive things are rolling in, you've got to take them when you can get them."

Good news has been rolling in this year for Spelling. Her memoir, "Tori Telling," has spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list. She wanted the book to break down the image she says people have always had of her: that of a "spoiled rich girl" riding her father's coattails, she said.

"I love hearing people say things like 'I came into reading this book really hating Tori Spelling, and now I have a whole new respect for her,'" Spelling said.

"As backhanded as that sounds ... my whole life story is kind of a backhanded compliment," she said.

(Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

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