It’s a sad story, to be sure. Take what you know about the actress, Shannen Doherty and put it aside. Take what you know about the human being Shannen Doherty and put her in your best thoughts.
Here’s the latest on Shannen’s battle for survival and how she got where she is today.
SHANNEN DOHERTY BATTLING CANCER
Shannen Doherty’s acting life and the trials and tribulations it brought pale in comparison to her personal life. She was first diagnosed with Crohn’s disease back in 1999 but even that was only the beginning of her health struggles. In 2015, the actress revealed that she was diagnosed with breast cancer. The fight, to this day, has been a valiant one.
Her diagnosis had shown that multiple tumors were present, so a lumpectomy was not an option for the actress. Instead, a single mastectomy was performed on the hopes that all cancer cells would be removed. Unfortunately, that was not the case as earlier this year Shannen Doherty revealed that the cancer has returned and that it was at Stage 4.
She told ABC News, “I’d rather people hear it from me. I don’t want it to be twisted. I don’t want it to be a court document. I want it to be real and authentic. And I want to control the narrative. I want people to know from me, I just didn’t want them to know yet.”
Sadly, a diagnosis of metastatic breast cancer is a death sentence. Now 49-years-old Shannen Doherty continues the fight, a fight she will not give up on. She says, “I feel like I’m a very, very healthy human being. It’s hard to wrap up your affairs when you feel like you’re going to live another 10 or 15 years.”
That said she has also been realistic about her chances. And it seems she has, unfortunately, begun planning for her death. She’s working on writing letters and leaving video messages to her loved ones. In a recent interview she says of these, “There are things I need to say to my mom. I want my husband to know what he’s meant to me.”
That doesn’t mean she has given up. Shannen says, “It’s like anybody with Stage IV faces this sort of thing, where others want to put you out to pasture… I’m not ready for pasture. I’ve got a lot of life in me.”
In addition to battling typically terminal cancer, Shannen Doherty is in the middle of a lawsuit filed against State Farm. Her suit claims that the company completely disregarded her medical condition when they were calculating what she was owed after being displaced due to the Woolsey Fire that damaged her home in 2018.
In part, the lawsuit reads via Today, “Plaintiff Shannen Doherty is dying of stage 4 terminal cancer. Instead of living out her remaining years peacefully in her home, Ms. Doherty remains displaced and battling with her insurance company.”
In the meantime Shannen Doherty is living her life to the fullest, as evidenced by this crazy video she posted with her friend Sarah Michelle Gellar…
WHERE IT ALL STARTED
Shannen Doherty got her start on the Michael Landon created and produced TV series Father Murphy, which was a spin-off from Landon’s Little House on the Prairie. Landon appreciated Doherty’s work so much that she then appeared in a recurring role as Jenny Wilder on Little House for the TV series’ final two seasons.
That same year she found time on Little House, Shannen Doherty also got work on The Phoenix and Voyagers! as well as voicing Teresa on the animated feature The Secret of NIMH and grabbing a minor role in Ron Howard’s Night Shift. Shannen Doherty’s time as Jenny Wilder wouldn’t end when the series was canceled, no, she would revisit the prairie and the Wilder’s again in TV movies Little House: Look Back to Yesterday, Little House: The Last Farewell, and Little House: Bless All the Dear Children.
With her star on the rise, Shannen Doherty found more and more roles. She was in Magnum, P.I., Airwolf, The New Leave It to Beaver, and Outlaws as well as TV movies such as Robert Kennedy and His Times, The Other Lover, and Alf Loves a Mystery. She really began to find her TV footing when she was cast in the series Our House that also starred Wilford Brimley and Deidre Hall and enjoyed a three-season stint. All this led to her first major role in a feature film, starring in Heathers. Up next for Shannen was the one that put her on the map for good.
BEVERLY HILLS 90210
Shannen Doherty became a household name when she appeared in the Aaron Spelling hit series Beverly Hills, 90210. The show also made stars out of many of the other cast members, mainly Jason Priestly, Luke Perry, Jennie Garth, Ian Ziering, Brian Austin Green, Tori Spelling, and Gabrielle Carteris. The series ran for 10 seasons with Doherty appearing in the first four.
It was fellow cast mate Tori Spelling who was able to get her father’s attention in casting Shannen after she saw Doherty’s performance in Heathers. For a while, it all seemed like a nice fit. The series was a massive hit, and all seemed fine.
Whether it was fame and fortune or just overall attitude and personality, Shannen Doherty eventually began to wear out her welcome to the entire cast, even Tori Spelling. Former executive producer Charles Rosin was not a fan. He told Entertainment Weekly in a 2000 interview, which also included Doherty and the rest of the cast, “She had habitual lateness. Her lateness was appalling, and she had a callous attitude and an indifference. She was clearly not very happy on this show anymore. She had showed up late two days before, so they were remaking a shot at 7:45 in the morning. Everybody was there, and she didn’t show up until 9:45. Once Jason Priestley said, ”I’ve had it,” it was the beginning of the end.”
The show’s creator, Aaron Spelling, seemed to agree, but to a lesser extent, “It wasn’t like she ruined the show or anything. It just upset the cast members tremendously. I remember them calling me and saying, ”Please, can’t you get her here on time?”
Shannen Doherty countered, “There was definitely a time that I did not want to be there. I was unhappy. It sounds odd to say that I was on a hit show making a lot of money and I was unhappy, because it makes me sound unappreciative — I wasn’t. It’s just that the sacrifice at the time seemed too large to me. The sacrifice of a camera pointed in my face 24 hours a day while I was desperately trying to grow up, to figure out my spirituality, to figure out my boyfriends. I mean, I was a teenager.”
She also added during the interview, “There are things that I would call bullshit, and [the lateness charge] is probably one of them. I was late maybe four times in four years. A bunch of times [other cast members] were extremely late. I don’t think that lateness had anything to do with it…. There were a lot of petty jealousies on that show, and I had never dealt with that before.”
Spelling summed it up, “She thought it was time to go. And the cast did too.” Good riddance.
With Shannen Doherty beginning to carve out a name (good or bad) for herself, she decided to take that leap. This leap would be called Playboy and she leaped right from 90210 into taking her clothes off for Hugh Hefner. The first time she appeared nude was the December 1993 issue. She then followed that up with a spread in the March 1994 issue, and then finally in the 2003 December issue.
SHANNEN DOHERTY AFTER BRENDA
It is quite possible that Shannen Doherty is more trouble than she is worth to Hollywood producers. There is no doubt she can carry her own on film but is her presence worth it? Obviously, Aaron Spelling felt it was because despite the drama on 90210, in 1998, he cast her in his new series Charmed.
The series followed the three Halliwell sisters, who just so happened to be witches. Shannen Doherty, for all her past onset issues, received many strong critical reviews. It was felt she was the heart and soul of the series and her departure after the fourth season made an impact and not for the better.
It was also obvious that her rumored issues weren’t hurting her chances of nailing other roles. She was in Kevin Smith’s Mallrats as well as his Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back. She was in many TV movies which included The Ticket, Satan’s School for Girls, The Battle of Mary Kay, View of Terror, and The Rendering. She was on the TV series North Shore which only lasted 11 episodes but was also seen on Love, Inc. and Mari-Kari.
In what came as a big shock, giving the nature of her departure, Shannen Doherty eventually agreed to reprise her role as Brenda Walsh in the attempted reboot of Beverly Hills, 90210. She came back as a guest star in the first season (the reboot actually lasted five) and while appearing in four of the first six episodes, she eventually agreed to do three more. It turned out much better the second time around for Doherty and company.