Thomas William "Tom" Selleck (born January 29, 1945) is an American actor and film producer who plays Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV in the original 1980 series Magnum, P.I. Selleck is also best known for his role as Frank Reagan in CBS police procedural series Blue Bloods.
Selleck was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1945, to Martha Selleck (née Jagger), a housewife, and Robert Dean Selleck, who was an executive and real estate investor. Selleck is of mostly English ancestry, including recent immigrant ancestors. Tom Selleck's father was of primarily English ancestry but had distant German ancestry as well, while his mother was of English descent. Through an entirely paternal line Selleck is a direct descendant of English colonist David Selleck who moved to Massachusetts from Somerset, England in 1633. Through this line, Tom Selleck is the 11th generation of his family born in North America. Selleck's family moved to Sherman Oaks, California, during his childhood. He has an elder brother named Robert, a sister named Martha, and a younger brother named Daniel. Selleck graduated from Grant High School in 1962.
While working as a model, Selleck attended the University of Southern California on a basketball scholarship where he played for the USC Trojans men's basketball team. He is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and a member of the Trojan Knights. While Selleck was acquiring a degree in Business Administration, a drama coach suggested he try acting. He then studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, under Milton Katselas. Upon receiving a draft notice for the Vietnam War, Selleck joined the California National Guard. He served in the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California Army National Guard from 1967 to 1973.
Selleck's first TV appearance was as a college senior in The Dating Game in 1965, and again in 1967. Soon after, he appeared in commercials for products such as Pepsi-Cola.
He began his career with bit parts in smaller movies, including Myra Breckinridge, Coma, and The Seven Minutes. He appeared in a number of TV series, mini-series and TV movies. Still struggling as an unfamiliar, television actor, Selleck had a recurring role in the 1970s as "too good to be true" private investigator Lance White in The Rockford Files. An avid James Garner fan, since childhood, who watched his mentor's show, Selleck's Lance was very trusting and always lucky, much to the annoyance of Jim Rockford. White would frequently say to Rockford, "Don't worry, Jim; clues will turn up," and then a clue would just turn up, much to Rockford's consternation, for whom obtaining clues required hard work and hard knocks. Selleck's character was based on one played in Garner's earlier TV series Maverick (1957) by Wayde Preston in the episode "The Saga of Waco Williams". Despite appearing in only two episodes, in later interviews, Selleck credited Garner "as a mentor," and continued to stay friends with him, for over 35 years, until Garner's death in 2014. Upon his death, he said of his TV private investigator: "Jim was a mentor to me and a friend, and I will miss him." Two years after Garner's death, Selleck said, prior to filming his then 6th season of his top-rated series, Blue Bloods: "It's kind of like my mentor, who never wanted to hear he was my mentor (James Garner), I don’t accept the mentor role. That they feel that way is, I think flattering although it adds a certain amount of pressure."
Selleck, an accessible but relatively untested actor, spent years receiving little interest from the entertainment industry. His big break came when he was cast in the lead role as Thomas Magnum in Magnum, P.I. The producers would not release the actor for other projects, so Selleck had to pass on the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which then went to Star Wars alumnus Harrison Ford. It turned out that the shooting of the pilot for Magnum was delayed for over six months by a writers' strike, which would have enabled him to complete Raiders.
Selleck played the role of Thomas Magnum in 1980 after filming six other TV pilots that were never sold. Magnum was a former U.S. Navy Officer, a veteran of a Special Operations unit, "SEAL" in the Vietnam War, and later a member of the "Naval Intelligence Agency" (a fictional version of the Office of Naval Intelligence), who had resigned his commission with the Navy to become a private investigator living in Hawaii. The show would go on for eight seasons and 163 episodes until 1988, winning him an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1984. Selleck was famous for his mustache, a Hawaiian-style aloha shirt, a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, and the Colt Model 1911A1 .45 ACP Caliber pistol his character carried. Magnum drove a Ferrari 308 GTS in the series. The model became so identified with the role that Ferrari fans now refer to the red-painted model as a "Magnum" Ferrari.
Selleck confirmed that he was the most popular choice by fans to play the role of Magnum in the once-rumored Magnum, P.I. movie.
- He is currently married to Jillie Mack on August 7, 1987.
- He has two children Kevin and Hannah.
- Tom Selleck's mustache is the same likeness as Burt Reynolds.
- Tom Selleck on Internet Movie Database