Tom Selleck is an acting legend. The former star of Magnum, P.I., and the long-running CBS hit Blue Bloods has had a very versatile life and career. Then, there’s that mustache. Arguably, there is no actor more recognized for their ‘stache than Selleck. There’s a lot to Selleck’s life and career than you may know. What you will learn about Selleck's life here will help you develop even more admiration for him. Here are seven awesome facts about television icon, Tom Selleck.
He credits his success to Jesus Christ.
Selleck credits all his success in life to Jesus Christ, who he claims as his Lord and Savior. He is a Christian celebrity who has changed the face of show business. However, his faith was not always where it is today. He acknowledges that his journey as a Christian has been pretty rocky throughout the years but he has still been able to give credit where credit is due.
He says he always tried to conduct himself in an ethical way and that is what matters most. He attributes his fortune to Jesus Christ. Although it is an individual’s heart that makes plans for a lifetime, it is God who guides him through them, he says.
“A man’s heart plans his way, but the Lord directs his steps,” Selleck said. “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.”
He didn’t always have acting aspirations.
His career has come a long way. Before he became the cultural influencer he is today, Selleck was a college basketball player with occasional roles in Pepsi commercials and episodes of The Dating Game.
In his younger years, he was working on a degree in business and had plans for a management-training program with United Airlines when he decided to get serious about an acting career, according to Parade.
He served in the Army.
After graduating from college, Twentieth Century Fox offered him an acting contract but God wasn’t calling him to acting then. He decided to listen to God’s call to go into the army.
Selleck learned the values of the U.S. Military from his parents at an early age. Those lessons bestowed by his mother and father shaped him into not only an actor, but also a veteran and a man of integrity.
During the Vietnam War, Selleck was issued draft orders. He joined the California National Guard in the 160th infantry regiment. He served from 1967 to 1973. He later appeared on California National Guard recruiting posters.
The military left a strong impression on Selleck and he looks back on his service with pride: “I am a veteran, I’m proud of it,” Selleck said. “I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.”
He was offered the role of Indiana Jones but had to turn it down.
One of the most interesting facts about Selleck’s career is that he auditioned to play Indiana Jones in 1981’s Raiders of the Lost Ark and was actually selected to play the role. However, he had to turn down the role because CBS wouldn’t let him out of his contract to star in Magnum, P.I. To add insult to injury, Selleck may have actually been able to do both. When Magnum, P.I. was about to begin filming in Hawaii, a writer’s strike held up production. Selleck had to work as a handyman to pay the rent until the show started filming again. Raiders of the Lost Ark started filming around the same time in Hawaii.
He is an athlete.
A very interesting fact about Selleck is that he is an accomplished volleyball player. During filming of Magnum, P.I., he was known to play volleyball with members of the Outrigger Canoe Club senior team in Honolulu. He was even named honor captain of the U.S. Olympic men’s team in 1984.
If you were a Magnum, P.I. fan, you may have noticed that he often wore a Detroit Tigers baseball cap throughout the series. This was a tribute to his birthplace. Selleck is such a big fan of the team that he joined spring training in 1991 to begin preparing for a role as a baseball pro in Mr. Baseball. Selleck even had the opportunity to play in one exhibition game against the Cincinnati Reds, striking out in the eighth inning.
He initially ‘hated’ the role of Thomas Magnum.
Most people know Selleck for his role as Thomas Magnum in Magnum, P.I. but what you may not know is that prior to taking on the role, he was in a string of failed television pilots. In an interview with GQ, Selleck told the publication that he initially disliked how the role had been written.
“I hated it,” he said. “He was James Bond-like. He was perfect. He had girls on each arm. He owned a Ferrari.”
At the time, he really wanted to play a character that was more similar to Jim Rockford in The Rockfod Files, a show that he had guest-starred in. Good thing he took the Magnum, P.I. role. The series ended up running for eight seasons.
He turned down a major role on Baywatch.
Following Selleck’s Magnum, P.I. run, he ended up pursuing a film career. He played roles in Her Alibi in 1989 and Quigley Down Under in 1990. He was later offered the opportunity to return to television to play the role of Mitch Buchannon on Baywatch. He turned down the role which was eventually given to David Hasselhoff. While he didn’t take the Baywatch role, he did return to television with a recurring guest spot on Friends and the police drama Blue Bloods.
Selleck’s life is just as fascinating as his long-spanning career. The actor, who turned 75 this year doesn’t appear to be stopping anytime soon and we admire him even more for that. In our eyes, he will always be legendary.