Tom Selleck Stepped Away From His Role on ‘Magnum, P.I.’ Why?

by Joe Rutland

Years before playing Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods, Tom Selleck was known to many as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. It was one of the most popular shows on CBS and made him a household name. Throw in the scenes that were filmed in Hawaii and you had a wonderful collaboration between actors and scenery. Still, Tom Selleck walked away from the show at seemingly its height. Why would he do such a thing?

Tom Selleck Left ‘Magnum, P.I.’ Because Stardom Got Hard

It’s a funny thing about fame and fortune. This is such great stuff for an actor to get and especially one like Tom Selleck. But he found that becoming famous was burdensome. It’s the one thing that ultimately led to his decision about leaving. What he liked is having a kind of quieter, normal life.

Sure, Magnum, P.I. was getting great ratings. Still, the growing burden of being a star just proved too much to handle. He quit in 1988 and the show ended after eight seasons. Tom Selleck talked about it with People magazine back in 2020.

“I quit ‘Magnum,’ not because I didn’t like it or I was tired of it,” Selleck said. “I was tired from it. And I wanted a three-dimensional life because I didn’t have one.” Tom Selleck loves his private life outside of Hollywood. He called himself a “fairly private person.”

In the People magazine interview, he said, “I’ve always treasured the balance between work and time with my family. It’s always about them.” Tom Selleck also is not a big fan of Hollywood. He loves being out on his 65-acre California ranch with his family. We find out more from Looper.

Family Life On His Ranch Suits Selleck Just Fine

“This ranch is a great counterpoint to the acting business, which is an abstraction — you do something, it’s up on a piece of film, and everybody argues whether it’s good or bad,” Selleck said. “You dig a hole and plant an oak tree — and I’ve probably planted a thousand of them — it’s real. It’s there, and you can watch it grow. It’s a lot different from being famous, and it keeps me sane.”

But he would return to episodic TV work. He chose to pick up the role of NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods. At first, though, he was cautious about doing so. See, that series is filmed all the time in New York City. It’s not done in California and would take him away from family. This show works, though, because he splits time between the Big Apple and his ranch. Schedules are made to work for Tom Selleck and it keeps the show’s star quite happy.