Tom Selleck has been in the business for decades but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t worked hard for his phenomenal success.
The talented actor and film producer learned from a young age that you only get out of life what you put in. His father wanted a lot for Tom and the rest of their family, and he gave them all much more opportunities in life when he moved them from Detroit to California.
From starting out as a model to going on to serve in the military, as well as starring in some of the biggest box office hits, Selleck has had one of the most longstanding and rewarding careers in Hollywood.
But how did the now 72-year old reach such worldwide fame? It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides, read his mesmerizing story below, including how he has finally confirmed the rumors about his daughter’s modeling career.
1. A good upbringing
Tom grew up in Detroit, Michigan, and had a very supportive family. His parents were very hardworking and were Tom’s main inspiration when he was a little boy. His father had always dreamed of moving to California but their financial situation meant the move would be difficult to go through with. Even though his parents often struggled with money, Tom was never made aware of their issues and was left to enjoy a stress-free childhood. After many years of hoping to move, Tom’s dad finally felt in a stable position to do so. They bought a new house in Sherman Oaks, California, and it was definitely the best decision the Selleck family ever made.
2. An expensive dream
During his school days Tom was your average student, achieving good grades and joining all the sports clubs. As he grew older, he dreamed of enrolling at the University of Southern California but the costs were way too high. When he graduated from Grant High School in 1962, he worked hard to to earn a basketball scholarship which eventually landed him a place at USC.
3. The perfect height for basketball
Tom was always a tall teenager, and by the time he joined USC he was already 6’4”. His height certainly helped him in basketball and made him one of the best players in the college. Aside from sport, Tom received a major in Business Studies and joined the university’s fraternity house, Sigma Chi. During his last year at university, his drama teacher suggested he should go on to pursue a career in acting. Tom was up for testing the waters when it came to his future career, so he took his teacher’s advice on board and joined the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
4. A talent for volleyball
Tom’s talents are not just in the acting and modelling industry. When he lived in Hawaii he joined the volleyball team for Hawaii’s Outrigger Canoe Club. His team even went on to win two national championships.
5. His debut on the small screen
As well as being a talented basketball player, Tom had also tried his hand at modelling, something which he definitely had a talent for. When both his drama teacher and his fraternity brothers suggested he do acting, he certainly had the confidence to try it. He applied to be on the ’60s show The Dating Game and went on to be an overnight success after his appearance. Pepsi got in touch with him asking him to appear in a commercial. This was just the start of his showbiz career.
6. Being spotted by Twentieth Century Fox
After appearing in some popular TV commercials, Tom received the career breakthrough he had been waiting for. He was contacted by Twentieth Century Fox and asked if he wanted to sign up to their production company. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity for Selleck and there was no way he could turn it down. He signed up immediately and was already attending the trainee course the following day.
7. The Young and Restless
In the early ’70s, Selleck landed his first minor role in the hit show The Young and Restless. He starred as Jed Andrews in the award-winning soap opera and had a taste of what it’s like to star in an entertaining soap opera. The show was set in Genoa City and featured many dramatic story lines from love triangles to breakups. The show is still on air today!
8. Getting married for the first time
Selleck got hitched for the first time in 1971 to his girlfriend of one year, Jacqueline Ray. When they were together, Selleck even adopted Jacqueline’s son, Kevin, as his own. His wife also starred in her husband’s popular show Magnum PI in series three. They were together for 11 years but sadly called it quits in 1982.
9. Magnum P.I.
At the age of 35, Tom landed the most important role of his career in the TV series Magnum P.I. Selleck even relocated to Hawaii so he could be closer to the production studios, proving he knew this was the big break he needed in his career. But shortly after moving there, the show’s production was put on hold, leaving Selleck in a very awkward position. While he waited for the show’s producers to get back on track, he did some handy work for his landlord who paid him $7 per hour. It definitely wasn’t all plain sailing in the early days of his career. Luckily, the show recommenced filming and his role of Thomas Magnum is his most famous role to date.
10. The Magnum Ferrari
Magnum whizzed around the island of Oahu in his signature red Ferrari, but there’s a reason why Selleck had to drive this. The script writers originally penned for him to drive a red Porsche but Tom was simply too tall to fit inside.
11. Up for sale
The iconic red car was put on the market this year, but how much would you pay to drive Magnum’s Ferrari for yourself? The original asking price was a staggering $250,000, with the certificate of authentication being included. In the end someone bought the famous car for $180,000.
12. His second wife
Actress Jillie Mack began noticing Tom Selleck’s raw talent on screen, and she definitely liked what she saw. After going on a few dates, it soon became clear that this was the real deal and the couple tied the knot on August 7, 1987. Jillie gave birth to their daughter, Hannah Selleck, just 18 months after. Mack herself has had a pretty successful acting career, appearing in the likes of ER, Fraiser and The Wizard. Jillie and Tom are still going strong to this day after 30 years together.
13. Jillie on Magnum
Selleck’s wife, Jillie, starred in the episode titled ‘Remorandt’s Girl’ in season four of Magnum P.I. It was nice for the couple to spend time together backstage instead of Tom always being away from her. But Jillie wasn’t the only family member to appear on Tom’s infamous show. Selleck’s parents also had a stint on the series.
14. A stint on Broadway
We know he’s a pro in front of the camera, but how did Tom’s acting skills fair on Broadway? In 2001 he swapped the big screen for the stage, starring in A Thousand Clowns. He took on the role of the free-spirited Murray Burns and totally hit it off with audiences all over the country.
15. He’s a Republican
While some celebrities keep a very closed book when it comes to their political opinions, Selleck has always made it clear that he supports the Republican party. In 2008, Selleck was a huge supporter of John McCain when he ran in the presidential election.
16. His surprising net worth
His career has spanned over five decades and he’s appeared in more than 50 movies and TV roles, so it’s quite surprising that Selleck’s net worth is *only* $25 million. By any means this is a huge amount of money, but considering the height of Tom’s fame many people would expect it to be more.
17. Three Men and a Baby
One of Selleck’s biggest movies to date was his lead role in Three Men and a Baby, starring alongside Steve Gutenberg and Ted Danson. This gave him the exposure he needed and really helped establish his film career. Tom’s role as architect Peter Mitchell proved he had a humorous side to his acting skills. The film soon became the biggest motion picture to hit the box office that year, grossing over $170 million in the United States.
18. A social media page
His ‘stache is loved so much by his adoring fans that it even has its own page on Facebook. ‘Tom Selleck’s Mustache’ has over 40,000 likes on social media, proving it’s a celebrity in its own right.
19. Tom in ‘Friends’
Aside from his popular show Magnum P.I., Tom also had some success on the biggest sitcom ever, Friends. He starred as ophthalmologist, Richard Burke, who’s attractive looks caught the eye of Monica, and despite their 21 year age gap the pair instantly hit it off. He first starred in Friends at the end of season two in the episode titled ‘The Time When Ross and Rachel’, going on to appear in a further eight episodes over the following seasons.
20. His iconic moustache
Tom Selleck wouldn’t be the famous actor he is without his signature moustache. Despite not having a nickname for his iconic facial hair, his moustache totally adds to whatever character the actor is portraying and often has a life of its own during filming.
21. Officer Reagan
Tom has had countless roles in TV shows and films over the years, but his most recent role is in Blue Bloods. He portrays NYCPD police commissioner, Frank Reagan, and stars alongside Bridget Moynahan and Donnie Wahlberg. Selleck suits his role of Officer Reagan so much that real policemen would often salute him when he walked down the street after filming.
22. His affair with Marie
There’s no denying that Tom Selleck was a heartthrob at the peak of his career. He once dated former model, Marie Helvin. But it turns out her short fling with the Magnum P.I. star almost cost Marie her marriage. She explains in her autobiography, “On one of my visits to Hawaii, the whole place was in uproar because Tom Selleck was there filming Magnum, P.I. We met – and I found myself very attracted to him…Then Tom Selleck came to London. Our affair had been very much a Hawaiian fling, but I still agreed to have dinner with him and go back to his hotel… The next morning, I sent him a letter – by bike – saying that my marriage was breaking up and we ought to call it off. A week or so later, he happened to be taken backstage at the musical Cats, where he met his wife-to-be.”
23. Hooking up with Mimi Rogers
In 1982, Tom Selleck and Mimi Rogers were an item. Mimi had just divorce from her husband, James Rogers, and fell head over heels for Selleck. Their love story only lasted a year before she went on to marry Tom Cruise.
24. A tell-all book
Larry Manetti, Selleck’s co-star on Magnum P.I., released a tell-all book about his experiences on set of the popular series. In Aloha Magnum, he talks about his close friendship with Selleck and what life was really like behind the scenes. He even mentions Tom’s ex-girlfriend, Mimi Rogers.
25. The grand finale
Fans were gutted to see Magnum P.I. go off their screens in 1988, but the show definitely went out with a bang as the finale was one of its best ever episodes. The final episode broke the show’s viewing records and to this day remains the sixth most-watched finale in TV history.
26. He turned down the lead on Baywatch
We couldn’t imagine Baywatch without David Hasselhoff as the lead character, Mitch Buchannon. But before Hasselhoff was offered the lead role, the producers actually asked Selleck to take on the iconic part. After careful consideration, Selleck turned down the role as he didn’t want it to effect future roles. Maybe running down the beach in a red bathing suit just isn’t his thing.
27. A trustworthy face
He’s been on our screens for years, so there’s definitely something about Selleck that we trust. The American Advisors Group chose him to front their advertising campaign after their representative Fred Thompson passed away. He took on the role perfectly and certainly made viewers believe in him.
28. A Hollywood star
When Selleck was at the height of his lead role on Magnum P.I. he was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Throughout his career, Tom has received many awards and recognitions for his great work, including an Emmy in 1984 and a Golden Globe in 1985.
29. A philanthropist
In his spare time, Selleck is a passionate philanthropist, being part of boards such as The Joseph & Edna Thompson Institute of Ethics, the Character Counts Coalition, as well as being a spokesman for the National Fatherhood Initiative. He is also a big supporter of the military and gives large donations to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund.
30. Growing up
Selleck is now 72-years old, but he admits that the first time he felt like a proper grown up was when his father passed away. His dad sadly died in 2001 – “‘I had had a lot of leadership positions, I had been in the military…but you know, in my case, when my father died, I go, “There’s nobody to go to for fatherly advice. You’re on your own, pal.”
31. Hannah Selleck
When his daughter Hannah was born, Tom wanted to keep her as far away from the limelight as possible. Even though she was born into a life of showbiz, Hannah has taken a different direction and is a passionate equestrian. Her parents have always encouraged her to follow her passion for horse riding. Tom has always made sure to take some time away from the red carpet and be there for his family.
32. A date with Diana
Tom Selleck had a dance he would never forget with the late Princess of Wales, Diana. They both attended a gala dinner at the White House, and Diana was whisked off her feet by a few of Hollywood’s leading men, including John Travolta and of course, Selleck. It’s definitely one of his finest memories.
33. A true veteran
Selleck is one of the few Hollywood stars who has served his country. From 1967 to 1973, Tom served in the 160th infantry regiment. Tom wasn’t allowed to keep his signature moustache during his time as a veteran but his good looks ensured he made it as a recruitment poster boy anyway. In a later interview, Tom expressed, “I am a veteran, I’m proud of it. I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.”
Hannah Selleck’s Career
Although she is a budding professional equestrian show jumper, Tom’s daughter Hannah is also a model! She has modelled for a number of publications including Reviver. Tom is said to be against the idea of Hannah modelling, we can see perhaps why as a father he would be.