“If there was a shark, we were jumping it. And it didn’t matter.” That’s what actor Grant Show recently told The Hollywood Reporter about the ‘90s series Melrose Place, centered on a group of friends and enemies living in a Los Angeles apartment complex. The show started as a spinoff of Beverly Hills, 90210 and grew to have a life of its own. July 8 marks the 25th anniversary of the series, which ended in 1999. We gathered a few facts about Melrose Place that might surprise you.
The famous swimming pool was created by digging into the floor of a soundstage. When the series ended, people sold bottles of the pool water on eBay.
Thomas Calabro, who played doctor Michael Mancini, was told he was about 10 years too old for the part during his initial audition. He wound up being the only character to stay on the show for the entire run.
Season three was supposed to end with an explosion, but producers scrapped it due to the Oklahoma City bombing. The actual explosion didn’t happen until next season.
Actors who auditioned for the show included: Courteney Cox, Dean Cain, Calista Flockhart, Julianna Margulies, Paul Rudd, Robert Sean Leonard, Sherry Stringfield, Pamela Anderson, Noah Wyle, and Kathy Ireland.
Andrew Shue, aka Billy Campbell, is the younger brother of Elizabeth Shue, who is known for Cocktails and Adventures in Babysitting.
Lisa Rinna joined the show to play Taylor McBride, but the part was originally given to Hunter Tylo. She was fired when she revealed she was pregnant, because it violated her change-in-appearance contract clause. Stephen Fanning, who was set to play Billy Campbell, was replaced by Andrew Shue after he gained weight. It’s also said he didn’t have great chemistry with Allison, played by Courtney Thorne-Smith.
The exterior of the Melrose Place apartment complex was filmed at El Pueblo Apartments, located at 4616 Greenwood Place in the Los Feliz neighborhood of Los Angeles.
Josie Bissett, who played nice girl Jane Mancini, hated playing the good girl. “I do get tired of playing a victim all the time on the show,” she told Rolling Stone. “I mean, enough already. People call for me on the street and tell me everything that I’m doing wrong. In real life, I learn from my mistakes, and Jane is just not learning. But look out, because she will very soon.”
Fox wasn’t entirely comfortable portraying the relationships of Doug Savant’s Matt Fielding. From Vulture and an interview with writer-producer Carol Mendelsohn:
When the writers wanted Matt and his Navy officer boyfriend Jeffrey to sleep together, the network wouldn’t allow two men to be shot in the same bed. “One of them had to be in the doorway,” says Mendelsohn. “Then we wanted them to kiss on the beach near Michael’s house, and broadcast standards at the time would not let us have them kiss. Instead it was ‘Matt’s lover rubs his ear.’ Fortunately, we’ve come a long way in 20 years.”
Melrose Place actor Grant Show, aka Jake Hanson, had an opportunity to play Brad Pitt’s character in Thelma & Louise (the role that gave Pitt widespread fame), but had to turn it down since he was playing a different part on a Jackie Collins mini-series.
The series ended, because the writers couldn’t explain why everyone was staying in the apartment complex as their characters grew. “You could not believe after seven years these people, who had actually attained some stature in their careers and had some money, were living in that building,” Carol Mendelsohn told Vulture:
“You tried to ignore it, but it would come up in the writers’ room all the time: ‘Why haven’t they moved?’” Dee Johnson, another Melrose Place writer/producer, said. “‘Amanda makes a ton of money. Why is she staying in that little apartment?’ In the end, it was unavoidable.”