“Why westerns get segregated into a genre in Hollywood, I don’t know. It’s just good entertainment.” Tom Selleck
Lofty, athletic, muscular actor/producer Tom Selleck, with his wavy dark hair, chiseled good looks, iconic moustache, sex appeal and good sense of humor, has become one of Hollywood’s hottest television sex symbols as well as a favorite for drama, action and comedy roles. The two-time recipient of the Golden Apple Award hit his highest point of prominence while portraying the easy-going detective, Thomas Sullivan Magnum, in the popular CBS series “Magnum P.I.” (1980-1988). His spectacular performance nabbed a number of awards, including an Emmy and a Golden Globe. He is also memorable for playing a love interest in the hit NBC sitcom “Friends” (1996-2000), and has recently appeared as troubled ex-husband Ivan Tiggs in the acclaimed drama serial “Boston Legal” (2006). Selleck acquired critical appreciation for his starring role of General Dwight D. Eisenhower in the made-for-TV movie Ike: Countdown to D-Day (2004) and was handed three Western Heritage Awards for his significant efforts in the Western television films Last Stand at Saber River (1997), Louis L’Amour’s Crossfire Trail (2001) and Monte Walsh (2003).
“I just really want people to see this movie and I hope they like it, because to me, Monte Walsh probably reflects my sensibilities more than any other I’ve done in the Western genre. I’m really proud of it and I think it may be the best role I’ve ever had.” Tom Selleck on Monte Walsh
On the big screen, Golden Boot winner Selleck, who made his debut in the unsuccessful Myra Breckenridge (1970), has created a prolific career with numerous projects under his belt. The green-eyed actor is recognized for playing roles in the thriller Runaway (1984), the hit Three Men and a Baby (1987), the Australian western Quigley Down Under (1990) and the blockbuster comedy In & Out (1997). In 1993, however, he was panned by critics and netted a Razzie Award for his performance in the biopic film Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992).
Outside the limelight, one of People Magazine’s “50 Most Beautiful People in the World” (1998) is a member of the Sigma Chi Fraternity. The founder of a production company named T.W.S. Productions has been married twice. He was married to first wife, actress-model Jacquelyn Ray Selleck, from 1970-1982, and has a son with her. Five years later, he tied the knot with his current wife, actress-dancer Jillie Joan Mack. The pair shares a daughter named Hannah Margaret Mack Selleck (born in 1989).
Childhood and Family:
In Detroit, Michigan, Thomas William Selleck, who would later be famous as Tom Selleck, was born on January 29, 1945. His father, Robert Selleck, was a real-estate investor and his mother, Martha, was a homemaker. Tom has two brothers, Robert Selleck Jr. and Dan Selleck, both of whom are real-estate developers.
Tom moved with his family to Sherman Oaks, California, when he was a little boy. Growing tall and athletic, he won a basketball scholarship to the University of Southern California, in Los Angeles. While majoring in business administration, he began to model. Later, he was encouraged by a drama couch to give acting a try.
In 1970, Tom married fashion beauty Jacqueline Ray. The couple later split up after twelve years of marriage. They share a son named Kevin Selleck. Tom then married actress Jillie Mack on August 7, 1987. Tom and Jillie have a daughter named Hannah Margaret Mack Selleck, who was born in 1989.
Quigley Down Under
Tom Selleck launched a career in modeling while still a student of the University of Southern California. He appeared in print, on billboards and in TV commercials and later signed a seven year acting contract with 20th Century-Fox. His acting debut took place with a guest role in an episode of “Lancer,” and a recurring role in the primetime showbiz melodrama “Bracken’s World” (1967). He was also seen in a supporting role in the made-for-TV film The Movie Murderer (1970). He also received a start in films when actress Mae West, who was impressed by his performance in a Pepsi ad, placed a young Selleck in a role of a stud in her starring vehicle Myra Breckenridge (1970).
Following his debut performance, Selleck was seen in numerous films throughout the 1970s, including a starring role in the low-budget supernatural melodrama Daughters of Satan (1972, as James Robertson). He was seen in a small role in Russ Meyer’s The Seven Minutes (1971, as publisher Phil Sanford), Terminal Island (1973, played Dr. Milford) and Coma (1978, as Sean Murphy). During this time, Selleck also landed his first starring role in the TV movie Returning Home (1975) and made his miniseries debut in “The Sacketts” (1979). Additionally, he had roles in three non-successful series pilots: the cop show Bunco (1977), the WWII adventure series “The Gypsy Warriors” (1978) and the detective “Boston and Kilbride” (1979).
Selleck eventually received his big break in 1980 when he landed the title role in the CBS detective-comedy-drama series “Magnum, PI.” Portraying Thomas Sullivan Magnum, a private investigator, Selleck’s performance was critically applauded and he was awarded the 1984 Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series. The role also brought him three Golden Globe nominations (1982-84) for Best Performance by an Actor in a TV-Series-Drama, which he won in 1985. The actor continued to receive numerous nominations until the popular show came to an end in 1988.
While working in the successful series, Selleck starred in several film roles, most notably as investigator Sgt. Jack R. Ramsay in Michael Crichton’s sci-fi/ thriller Runaway (1984) and as a substitute parent, Peter Mitchell, in the hugely popular Three Men and a Baby (1987), opposite Steve Guttenberg and Ted Danson. After Magnum, he went on to make more movies and was seen as American rifleman Matthew Quigley in the Australian hit western Quigley Down Under (1990). Two years later, however, critics negatively responded to Selleck’s performance in the John Glen-helmed biopic Christopher Columbus: The Discovery (1992), opposite Marlon Brando and Georges Corraface. Selleck’s presentation of King Ferdinand brought him a Razzie for Worst Supporting Actor in 1993.
After roles in Mr. Baseball (1992), Open Season (1995), Broken Trust (1995, TV) and Ruby Jean and Joe (1996, TV), the Magnum star proved he was back in the saddle again with his high-profile performance in the Kevin Kline hit comedy movie In & Out (1997), where he was garnered critical praise for his comedic turn of candidly gay TV reporter Peter. The same year, he won a Bronze Wrangler as the co-executive producer of the western made-for-TV film Last Stand at Saber River (1997), in which he also starred as Paul Cable. Selleck also enjoyed a flourishing recurring role on the popular NBC sitcom “Friends” (1996-2000), playing Monica’s boyfriend Richard. He was then given the starring role in the CBS sitcom “Closer” (1998). He rounded out the decade by taking on the supporting role of George Matthias in the comedy/drama The Love Letter, which starred Kate Capshaw and Blythe Danner.
Selleck then focused his work on television. He played a presidential candidate in the TNT film Running Mates (2000), served as a narrator in Special Ops: Mike Force (2001), as well as co-executive produced and starred in Louis L’Amour’s Crossfire Trail (2001), which won a Western Heritage Bronze Wrangler award. The same year, the TV star made his Broadway debut with a starring role in the revival of “A Thousand Clowns.”
In 2003, Selleck resurfaced on the small screen with starring roles in the drama Twelve Mile Road, Touch ’Em All McCall and Monte Walsh, which earned a Bronze Wrangler for Outstanding Television Feature Film. After playing Larry Starczek in Mike Robe’s Reversible Errors, opposite William H. Macy, Monica Potter and Felicity Huffman, Selleck’s career gained another boost in 2004 when Robert Harmon cast him in the starring role of Dwight D. Eisenhower in the A&E TV movie Ike: Countdown to D-Day. Delivering a fine turn as the calm and cool general, Selleck received critical acclaim.
The six-foot-four actor followed it up with the starring role of Chief Jesse Stone in the television films Stone Cold (2005, costarring Mimi Rogers), Jesse Stone: Night Passage (2006, opposite Stephen Baldwin) and Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise (2006, also with Edward Edwards). In addition to acting, he also served as a producer for the films. 2006 saw Selleck join the cast of the acclaimed ABC drama “Boston Legal” in the recurring role of Ivan Tiggs, the ex-husband of series regular Shirley Schmidt (played by Candice Bergen).