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Jury gets 'Melrose Place' pregnancy lawsuit

December 16, 1997
Web posted at: 11:33 a.m. EST (1633 GMT)

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- A jury is deciding whether actress Hunter Tylo was discriminated against by the producers of the hit TV soap drama "Melrose Place" for being pregnant.

Defense attorney William Waldo finished closing arguments Monday on behalf of Aaron Spelling and Spelling Entertainment, saying actress Tylo was a publicity seeker and a liar.

"If Hunter Tylo, as a self-styled Christian and a self-styled role model, gets the $2.5 million (in damages) she's asked for coming into this courtroom and lying, God help us all," Waldo said.

Tylo is suing Spelling Television and Spelling Entertainment Group for pregnancy discrimination, breach of contract and wrongful termination. She said she was fired from the show days after telling producers she was pregnant.

Spelling attorneys said the company's contract with Tylo allowed it to fire her for any "material change in appearance." They maintain that as an expectant mother, Tylo could not convincingly play a seductress or a "sexy vixen" -- words they say described the role she was hired to fill.

Hunter Tylo
Hunter Tylo   

The attorneys did offer Tylo a settlement proposal before the suit was filed, offering a new contract and a different role on the show for the following season.

Tylo said the proposal was unacceptable because it would have meant less money and a year without getting paid by Spelling, and there was no guarantee "Melrose Place" would be picked up the following season.

Tylo is asking the 10-woman, two-man jury to consider awarding her up to $2.5 million in punitive damages.

The month-long case included testimony from "Melrose Place" stars Heather Locklear and Lisa Rinna, who plays the role originally intended for Tylo.

Both actresses testified that they became pregnant during the same time they worked on the show and that the show's producers allowed them to continue in their sexy roles.

 
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