Best known for his roles in Magnum, P.I., Blue Bloods and Friends, Tom Selleck has been a regular screen presence since the early 1970s. But how much do you really know about the mustachioed man? Well, we’ve done a little private investigating of our own and uncovered 20 little-known facts about the much-loved star.
20. His first TV appearance was on a dating show
ABC’s The Dating Game has welcomed many future famous faces during its various incarnations, including Arnold Schwarzenegger, Robin Gibb and Farrah Fawcett. And long before he became Magnum, P.I., Tom Selleck also graced the dating show. In fact, he appeared on it twice: first in 1965 and then again two years later.
19. He appeared in several deodorant commercials
Selleck wasn’t a stranger to the TV commercial during his early days either. In fact, in 1972 the actor starred alongside fellow The Dating Game contestant Farrah Fawcett in an ad for Dubonnet. He also flogged toothpaste and appeared in promos for both Right Guard and Safeguard Deodorant Soap during the early ’70s.
18. He advertised a mortgage company that was accused of misleading older borrowers
However, it was one of the companies Selleck advertised more recently which found itself in hot water. In 2016 American Advisers Group was fined a whopping $400,000 for promoting reverse mortgages with misleading commercials. The company was accused of deceiving older borrowers in particular with their ad content.
17. He has a Razzie to his name
Selleck was awarded Worst Supporting Actor at the 1992 Razzies for Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. However, the star, who appeared as King Ferdinand of Spain, took it in good spirits. In fact, while appearing on The Chevy Chase Show he became only the third ever actor to voluntarily accept the award.
16. He only enjoyed one scene with his hero
Selleck actually only agreed to appear in Christopher Columbus: The Discovery upon learning that he’d appear alongside Marlon Brando in seven scenes. But he was left devastated when producers trimmed their time on screen together to just one. And to make matters even worse, Brando didn’t even speak during it.
15. He was once accused of stealing water
In 2015 Selleck was accused of illegally transporting water across district boundaries in order to hydrate his avocado farm. Calleguas Municipal Water District alleged he’d used a tanker truck to transport the H20 from a neighboring district’s fire hydrant dozens of times in two years. And in the end, Selleck settled the case with a $21,000 payout.
14. He has an avocado farm but hates avocados
The water-stealing story is even stranger given the fact that Selleck doesn’t actually like avocados. Yes, the actor told People magazine in 2012 that the fruit makes him gag. So much so, in fact, that he nearly vomited during an appearance on David Letterman’s show after the host made him eat one.
13. His first Broadway show ran for just two months
Selleck was in his fifties when he made his Broadway debut, but unfortunately A Thousand Clowns didn’t prove to be worth the wait. Critics unfavorably compared his lead performance as Murray to that of Jason Robards, Jr. in the 1960s. Indeed, the revival of Herb Gardner’s comedy lasted just two months before closing.
12. He turned down the lead role in Baywatch
Selleck became a bona fide sex symbol thanks to Magnum, P.I. but didn’t appear to be comfortable with such a status. In fact, he actually turned down the part of Mitch Buchannon in ’90s phenomenon Baywatch over fears he’d be trading on his looks. Of course, David Hasselhoff had no such qualms.
11. He had an affair with model Marie Helvin
Selleck himself wasn’t attached when he embarked on an affair with Marie Helvin while shooting Magnum, P.I. But the model, who met the star during a trip to Hawaii, very much was. In her autobiography, Helvin admits she called time on her relationship with Selleck after realizing her marriage was crumbling.
10. He struck out while playing for the Detroit Tigers
Selleck was left red-faced while preparing for his leading role in 1992’s Mr. Baseball. Because while training with the Detroit Tigers he was asked to play in an actual game against the Cincinnati Reds. And unfortunately for the star, he was struck out by Reds’ pitcher Tim Layana after messing up six pitches.
9. His stepson has had major financial and addiction problems
Selleck’s stepson Kevin has had numerous problems over the years. He entered rehab for alcoholism aged just 22. He left Grammy-nominated rockers Tonic after a fight with his band members. And in 2011 he was forced to cough up $6,000 to his credit card company for an unpaid bill.
8. He wept publicly while watching one of his shows
Selleck may be renowned as one of the ultimate men’s men, but he’s not afraid to show his emotional side. In fact, the star once burst into tears during a screening of a Jesse Stone TV movie. In the film, Selleck plays a police chief left devastated after splitting with his beautiful wife.
7. His first wife blames him for their split
Perhaps he was crying, however, because he had experienced a painful divorce himself. According to his first wife – former model Jacqueline Ray – though, Selleck was entirely to blame for their split. The actor reportedly began dating various Hawaiian girls while filming Magnum, P.I. And having supported him throughout his decade-long rise to fame, a heartbroken Ray soon filed for divorce.
6. He once sued a tabloid for insinuating he was gay
Rumors about Selleck’s sexuality have circulated since Magnum, P.I. In 1991 he sued a tabloid for $20m after it insinuated he was gay. Selleck was subsequently accused of homophobia, but he insists he’d have done the same had there been reports of him having an affair with a woman.
5. He wasn’t producers’ first choice to play Magnum, P.I.
It’s hard to imagine anyone other than Selleck playing Magnum. But the mustachioed man wasn’t actually the producers’ first choice to take the lead in the CBS drama. In fact, Kevin Dobson, best-known for his performances in Kojak and Knots Landing, was originally offered the part but decided to turn it down.
4. He missed out on numerous film roles because of Magnum, P.I.
Selleck missed out on numerous film roles because of Magnum, P.I. These included the lead in The Terminator and a co-starring role in Victor Victoria. Agonizingly, due to shooting delays, Selleck was also forced to turn down the part of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark.
3. His restaurant went bankrupt within a year
In 1988 Selleck teamed up with Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen and Magnum, P.I. co-star Larry Manetti to open a restaurant in Honolulu, Hawaii. But despite its celebrity backing, The Black Orchid proved to be a flop with diners and went bankrupt within 12 months. It was eventually sold in 1992.
2. He hates his most famous picture
The photo of a Hawaiian shirt-clad Selleck posing in a hammock with a pineapple and straw is one of his most famous. But the star admits he regrets reluctantly agreeing to it. Selleck told the Express in 2011 that he initially told photographers he wasn’t comfortable with the shoot, but eventually relented to be a “nice guy.”
1. He regrets his dance with Princess Diana
And that isn’t the only major regret Selleck has. In 2014 the star told Piers Morgan he was overcome with nerves during his famous White House waltz with Princess Diana back in 1985. So much so, in fact, that he failed to think of a single interesting thing to say during the entire dance.