Tom Selleck Once Credited Magnum P.I. With Hollywood Success: ‘I’d Never Have Worked Again in This Business’

by Emily Morgan

Tom Selleck is much more than his iconic mustache. However, we may have never gotten to see it or him had it not been for “Magnum P.I.,” the show that arguably gave him his Hollywood start. 

His role on the show didn’t come easy. After starring in several unaired pilots and landing some commercials, he finally landed his big break at 35 when he was cast for the lead part on “Magnum P.I.” Yet, there was another roadblock for Selleck. 

When showrunners offered him the part, he “hated” the script. Selleck thought Thomas Magnum seemed too “James Bond” and “perfect” to be relatable. He suggested the script be re-written to make him more flawed “[Magnum] was more of a private investigator, owed money to his friends, was the least responsible guy,” he said

While Selleck got settled into his role on “Magnum,” he also auditioned for a part in what some consider the greatest film franchise of all time: Indiana Jones. However, when he auditioned for the role of Indy in Raiders of the Lost Arkhe had already signed his contract with “Magnum P.I.,” which prevented him from getting the part in the action blockbuster. 

“Some actors, that kind of thing might’ve killed them,” he said about turning down the role. “I did the right thing. I kept my word and I lived up to the contract.” 

Although we didn’t get to see him wearing Indy’s signature cowboy hat, he did become a household name similar to Harrison Ford, thanks to “Magnum P.I.”

From 1980 to 1988, viewers would come to love Tom Selleck as he graced their TV sets every week. According to Selleck, his career wouldn’t have been the success it is today had it not been for the show. 

Tom Selleck reveals what keeps him up at night

“I think if Magnum hadn’t worked out, I’d never have worked again in this business,” he admitted. Although the “Blue Bloods” star has had plenty of good fortune in his personal and professional life, he’s not immune to stress about work. 

“Every actor I know thinks their last job is their last job,” he said about career uncertainty. “You finish a job, and nine times out of 10 you’re just unemployed and you don’t know where the next one is. It’s stressful.” 

While his resume is impressive, he admits he still has much to learn. He believes that nothing lasts forever and that it’s essential to appreciate the little successes when they present themselves. “I’ve been very fortunate,” he admits. “I never wanted to be an actor, I never did a play, I never did anything. I got lucky.” 

As for his time on “Blue Bloods,” his luck is still far from running out. The series has been a top performer at 10 p.m. on Fridays and has aired since 2010. It is currently the No. 4 series on broadcast television and averages over 9 million viewers.