We all know Tom Selleck as the legendary actor he is today, but few know the ups and downs he’s been through over the years. In this article, we are going to talk about Tom’s troubled career, his two marriages as well as his unknown affair.
Tom’s father was a real estate investor, while his mother was a full time housewife. They taught him something that he would remember for the rest of his life — great work ethic is the key to any success. Over the years,Tom embarked on many different career paths, and it is his parents’ teachings that made him who he is today.
Before acting, Tom Selleck had tried many careers. He played for the USC Trojans men’s basketball team, worked as a part-time model and even got himself enrolled under a Business Administration Program. Finally, his drama coach told him to try acting. Fortunately, Tom took the advice and studied acting under Milton Katselas of the Beverly Hills Playhouse.
During the Vietnam War, Tom received a draft notice and joined the California National Guard. Speaking about his military experience, he said, “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.”
Do you know that Tom once appeared on The Dating Game? His fraternity brothers and drama coach encouraged him to audition for the reality show. After that, Tom received an offer from Pepsi to appear in a commercial, which would later make him an overnight sensation.
Tom is a man who knows an opportunity when he sees one. When 21th Century Fox expressed their interest in getting him, he signed with the company and immediately began acting classes the very next day.
Tom next landed a minor role as Jed Andrews in The Young and the Restless. The character was involved in a love triangle, but the actor didn’t expect the same thing would happen in his real life later on.
After taking on various small roles, Tom’s breakthrough role finally came — Thomas Magnum from Magnum P.I. However, the road to a superstardom was not easy. Tom went to Hawaii for the role only for the production to stall. The filming was delayed due to a writer’s strike, and Tom had to work part-time as a handyman in order to make ends meet.
Magnum P.I. was a huge success. When the show was over after eight seasons and a total of 163 episodes, everyone knew Tom Selleck with his signature mustache, Detroit Tigers baseball cap, and Hawaiian t-shirts. But behind all the fame, some secrets remained hidden. Luckily, one of Tom’s co-stars stepped up and told us more about the show and the cast.
Tom has always been a devoted actor and a loyal friend. In 1996, his Magnum P.I. co-star Larry Manetti published a memoir called Aloha Magnum. In the book, he praised Tom’s amazing work ethic and how great a friend he was to the cast and crew members. Magnum P.I. gave Tom fame and friends, but the role was not initially for him.
Back then when they cast Magnum, they reached to actor Kevin Dobson first, but the TV actor declined the role. For Tom, it was probably the luckiest news ever! But to finish the filming of Magnum P.I., Tom also had to give up a perfect opportunity.
While shooting Magnum P.I., the producers would not release the actor for other projects, so when the team of Raiders of the Lost Ark wanted to cast him as Indiana Jones, he had to turn it down. The interesting thing is this — he could have completed Raiders if he knew that a writer’s strike would delay the shooting of Magnum P.I. for six months.
One of Thomas Magnum’s most iconic features is his mustache. Stephen Colbert once joked, “I know you have never expressed any desire to run for public office, but what about your mustache, because I would vote for that thing!”
Tom was never shy to speak out his opinion when it comes to filming. When the writing team created the initial character of Thomas Magnum, they had him down as a charming debonair, not unlike James Bond. Tom was not on board and he convinced the writers to make the character more like the average Joe that we know today.
On the set of Magnum P.I., Tom met his first wife, Jacqueline Ray, who portrayed Lisa. After dating for one year, the two lovebirds got married in 1971. However, 11 years later, they filed for divorce. The reason was partly because Jacqueline couldn’t “handle the attention Tom Selleck was getting from female fans.”
While Tom was shooting Magnum P.I., he was attracted to a glamorous model named Marie Helvin. In her memoir, Marie said, “When I visited Hawaii once, Tom Selleck was shooting for Magnum P.I. We met and a bit of an affair started, then Selleck came to London, we had dinner and went back to his hotel. But the next morning, I sent him a letter to break off this relationship because I was worried about my married life.”
In 1987, the same year Three Men and a Baby was released, Tom tied the knot with Jillie Mack. The pair met on the set of the West End production of Cats. Jillie was the actress playing Rumpleteazer. The two have a daughter named Hannah. Tom also has an adopted son Kevin Shepard from his relationship with Jacqueline Ray.
Tom is very protective of his private life. When he married Jillie, he had his brother Bob help him plan an incredibly secret wedding. So secret that they used the names “Tom Jenkins” and “Suzie Mark” while making plans for the Lake Tahoe, Nevada ceremony. Even the pastor didn’t know who they really were until moments before the wedding.
While Tom was working on Magnum P.I., he hardly had time for his family. So when his daughter was born, he decided to take a break from Hollywood and spend more time with his family. Therefore, the whole family moved to a 65-acre ranch in Ventura County, California. Tom and his wife Jillie both thought it was best for their daughter.
Besides TV shows, Tom also enjoys a successful film career. Before Magnum P.I. finished its run, Tom starred in the comedy Three Men and a Baby with Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg. The movie became the biggest box office hit that year, which made Tom even more famous.
In the mid 90s, Tom appeared as Dr. Richard Burke in Friends, an ophthalmologist that Monica Geller dates for some time. For the role he received an Emmy nomination for the Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series award.
Tom has co-starred as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in the series Blue Bloods since 2010, and the show has been renewed for its eleventh season in 2020–2021. He was so good at playing the role that he would be saluted by actual officers whenever he stepped out on set.
Throughout his career, Tom has starred in over 50 films and television shows, which have brought him an estimated net worth of $45 million. We are sure the inspiring actor will have a lot more to offer in the future.