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Born: Jan. 29, 1945 Detroit, Michigan, USA
Though Selleck has all the looks, style and charm of a big-screen hero, his success to date has been centred on the small screen with starring roles like Magnum, P.I. and a popular supporting role on Friends.
Tom started off modelling in print, billboards and TV ads. He was quite successful in that arena and ended up signing a seven-year contract with 20th Century-Fox in 1967. He appeared in the daytime soap The Young and the Restless and the primetime melodrama Bracken’s World.
He was the stud who got ogled by Mae West in his film debut, Myra Breckenridge which he followed with small roles in The Seven Minutes, Terminal Island, Coma and a starring role in the low-budget horror flick Daughters of Satan. He also made a slew of TV movies before landing the long-running Magnum, P.I. The show, which was often quirky and light-hearted, blasted Selleck into international stardom. Though the show kept Selleck busy for most of the 80’s, he did miss out on the chance to work as Indiana Jones in George Lucas and Steven Spielberg’s Raiders of the Lost Ark as CBS would not release him from his Magnum contract.
Except for 1997’s In & Out, 1988’s Three Men and a Baby and its 1990 sequel, most of Selleck’s big-screen appearances have been disappointing critically and financially. As an actor Tom is charming and engaging and it would be great for him to find a film role that really captures and capitalizes on those assets.
When Tom landed a recurring role on Friends as Monica’s boyfriend it was well-received and people thought it was time for him to return to series television. He landed a series, The Closer, shortly after but it suffered from poor ratings and critical slams.
Tom’s most famous incident in recent times centers around his appearance on The Rosie O’Donnell show on May 19th, 1999. They started off plugging his new movie, The Love Letter, but the discussion quickly turned sour. He denied being a spokesman for the NRA to which Rosie responded, “You can’t say I will not take responsibility for anything the NRA represents if you’re doing an ad for the NRA. You can’t say that. Do you think you can?” Selleck said, “I didn’t come on your show to have a debate. I came on your show to plug a movie. That’s what I’m doing here. If you think it’s proper to have a debate about the NRA, I’m trying to be fair with you. This is absurd.” The atmosphere was quite tense and the audience was silent for most of the exchange.
Though most of Hollywood decided to let 1999’s Star Wars Episode I The Phantom Menace have its first weekend to itself, Tom Selleck and his castmates went head-to-head with the space opera in the romantic comedy The Love Letter. We all know who won that weekend.
Since The Love Letter, Tom has focused on making TV movies including Running Mates, Crossfire Trail and Ike: Countdown to D-Day.