There is one man that comes to mind when we think of the words Hollywood, dimples and mustache…Tom Selleck.
The “Blue Bloods” star, now 78, is still remembered best for his starring in the role of Thomas Magnum in the hit series, Magnum P.I. The smash hit series ran from 1980 to 1988 and earned Selleck a Golden Globe, an Emmy and a slew of other nominations.
But before his rise to fame, the towering 6-foot-4 Selleck was an athlete who played for the University of Southern California basketball and baseball teams. But after being encouraged by a drama coach to pursue acting, and he dropped out of the university during his senior year to make his dreams a reality.
“I was in my last semester of business school at USC. I was in management training for United Airlines,” he told Variety on life prior to the “new talent” program. “I had done a couple of commercials and was on ‘The Dating Game,’ but I had never done a play in my life. My acting experience was zero.”
Taking his acting dream seriously, Selleck took part in Fox’s “new talent” program in the late 60s, but he wasn’t an overnight star. Young Tom Selleck first appeared on The Dating Show in 1965 and 1967, and acted in various commercials. Then in 1967, he received draft orders and ultimately joined the California National Guard and served until 1973.
Upon returning to civilian life, he was dropped from his contract with Fox. “I did six months active duty in the middle of my time at Fox,” Selleck told Military.com. “I had my job when I came back, and then they fired me [laughs].”
The military left a strong impression on Selleck, who recalls his service with pride. “I am a veteran; I’m proud of it,” he added. “I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.”
Over the next few years, Selleck took on various small roles to make ends meet, until he was launched into millions of living rooms as Magnum P.I. Here, we take a look back at the dimpled mustachio’d hunk through his 58-year career.
Tom Selleck through the years
A young Tom Selleck played basketball for University of Southern California for one season.
Selleck appeared as a contestant on The Dating Game first in 1965, and then again in 1967. To our surprise, the 20-year-old lost both times.
Other small roles of Selleck’s included the 1978 film Coma, a mystery thriller about otherwise-healthy patients falling into comas when they are put in operating room #8.
Selleck’s career moves in the 1980s are what put him on the map as the star he is today, starting with Magnum, P.I. Donning his typical Hawaiian shirt and swoon-worthy stache, it’s not a surprise that this show was such a major success with a leading man like him.
Selleck starred in his first leading role in High Road to China an adventure-romance film set in the 1920s. Selleck played a hard-drinking biplane pilot hired by society heiress Eve “Evie” Tozer (Bess Armstrong) to find her missing father (Wilford Brimley)
Although it wasn’t a box office success, Runaway, a 1984 science fiction film, put Selleck on the same screen as Gene Simmons, Kirstie Alley and Cynthia Rhodes.
Selleck won a Golden Globe award for Best Television Actor Drama Series for Magnum P. I.
With his newfound fame and recognition, Selleck found himself rubbing elbows with the biggest names in both Hollywood, and the world. In 1985, he shared a dance with Princess Diana at a White House dinner.
His work in the TV and film industry was recognized enough to earn him a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Three Men and a Baby was a box office hit, and was another example of Selleck holding his own in a comedy setting.
The 90s brought continuous fame for Selleck, as he acted in various movies over the decade, one of them being Quigley Down Under.
The year 1990 also brought Three Men and a Little Lady, the sequel to Three Men and a Baby.
Mr. Baseball was another 90s classic, where Selleck plays Jack Elliot, a professional baseball player who joins a Japanese team and must adjust to a new environment and cultural differences.
Selleck did a stint on the hit sitcom Friends, where he played Dr. Richard Burke, Monica’s love interest.
Tom Selleck starred in the Jesse Stone film series. The nine films, which were based on a series of novels by Robert B. Parker, follow the actor as a police chief in Massacussetts.
Selleck landed his role on Blue Bloods series, where he plays the character of Frank Reagan, a New York police commissioner who leads the cast as the patriarch the Reagan family, most of whom are involved in New York City law enforcement.
Today Selleck is still starring in Blue Bloods and is just as handsome as ever. Selleck told Entertainment Tonight, “We did eight [seasons] on Magnum [P.I.] and I thought I’d never get that lucky again and now we’ve done 13 and going strong.”
What is Tom Selleck up to today?
Selleck has been married Jillie Mack since 1987, and the two share a daughter, Hannah Selleck, aged 34. The couple lives on a 63-acre ranch in Ventura, California. He currently continues his work on Blue Bloods. In 2022, told TV Insider that he was working on a book about his years in show business.
“I’m proud of my work, I still love what I do, and I have my family,” Selleck told People. “I’ve been enormously fortunate.” We can’t wait to see what other projects lie ahead for him!
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