‘Laverne and Shirley’: Why Tom Selleck Couldn’t Land a Role on the Show

by Joe Rutland

As hard as it might be to believe, Tom Selleck was not always an in-demand actor earlier in his illustrious career. One time, the actor was up for a part in the 1970s ABC sitcom Laverne & Shirley. We will find out more about this in a minute. But these days, Selleck can be seen on TV as NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods. Now, what in the world would keep Selleck from getting this role on the Garry Marshall-produced show?

Actually, MeTV indicates that show stars Penny Marshall and Cindy Williams would talk about this a bit. Selleck was up for a role as a date for Laverne, played by Marshall. The actresses would sit down one time and chat it up with the Archive of American Television. In the interview, Marshall would elaborate on what it took to be a male guest star there. “Can you lift me? Kiss me? That’s it,” Marshall said. Then, Williams starts laughing and turns to Marshall in the interview. Williams said, “Remember the time we turned Tom Selleck down?” Marshall started laughing and said, “I do!”

Tom Selleck Looked Like The Marlboro Man At One Time

Why would they not allow Selleck on the very popular show? Williams would elaborate in the interview. “Oh my god, they brought us a picture: We think that this guy would be perfect,” she said. “And we looked at his picture and said, ‘Well, that looks like the Marlboro guy.’ And we said no. And it was Tom Selleck.” To be honest, it is quite true that Selleck bore a great resemblance to the advertising signature character.

Yet Selleck would find work on other TV shows like Taxi and The Rockford Files starring James Garner. Of course, all of this work would lead up to him playing Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. on CBS. Laverne & Shirley is one of television’s most popular sitcoms. While it still runs on some stations, reruns can be seen on the streaming platform Pluto TV. Williams remains somewhat active in the world of show business. Marshall would go on to become a very successful producer and director after the show’s run. Sadly, Marshall died in 2018.

As we mentioned, Selleck stars in the CBS police drama. He’s also a guy who loves the comforts of home. Selleck reportedly has a schedule that allows him to get home to California. If you didn’t know, then Blue Bloods is filmed in New York City. The show will have a lot of scenes out and about the Big Apple. Tom Selleck can be seen a lot in his office at the NYPD. Other times, viewers will note that Frank is at the head of the table for dinner.