The Stunning Transformation Of Tom Selleck

Tom Selleck is one of those actors who is instantly recognizable, no matter what generation you're part of or what show or movie you know him from. The Hollywood veteran has been acting for over fifty years, with his career really taking off in the 1980s with "Magnum, P.I.," and – unsurprisingly – he's certainly changed throughout the years (via IMDb).


Selleck was born in Detroit back in 1945, the second of four siblings, to Robert and Martha Selleck. However, as a toddler, he moved to Sherman Oaks in California as his father, a carpenter at the time, aimed to forge a career in real estate (via AARP).

"He worked for his realtor brother on straight commission and bought a 1,000-square-foot house for $10,000 on the G.I. Bill," explained Selleck, who speaks warmly of his parents, to AARP. "They walked their talk. I don't have any tragic stories of parental rejection. They taught me everything I know."

Tom started acting while at college

Per Classmates, Tom Selleck attended Grant High School and sported a buzz cut for at least part of his time there, before enrolling at Los Angeles Valley College, and then the University of Southern California. Here, he played for the USC Trojan men's basketball team, and became a member of Sigma Chi fraternity. It was at USC that a career in acting was first suggested to him.


During his senior year, Selleck dropped out of university, and began to study acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse. He began to land a few small roles from 1965 onwards, appearing in various commercials and movies, and in 1967 joined the California National Guard after receiving a draft notice. From 1967 up to 1973, he served in the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California National Guard (via Military).

In 1971, he married his first wife, model Jacqueline Ray, and adopted her son Kevin Shepard too (via People). Meanwhile, he began landing leading roles in a number of Western films, still looking for his big break.

Tom's big break came in 1980

By the time Tom Selleck finally got his big break with the role of Thomas Magnum in CBS crime drama "Magnum, P.I.", he was into his mid-thirties, and wasn't having the best luck in the world. Per AARP, he'd starred in six TV pilots that had been passed on, and had been going nowhere until landing the role.


Without a doubt, Selleck truly made the role of Magnum his own too. He described the original Magnum as being a "very James Bond-like" character, whereas Selleck wanted to portray him as more of a less flashy, more regular guy, pushing for him to be based on Jim Rockford of "The Rockford Files," as portrayed by James Garner.

Something else important to Selleck was the history of Magnum as a Navy SEAL, something that ended up with Magnum in the Smithsonian – making him emotional. "I don't want to get too emotional, but I am very proud of this," he explained. "Magnum was recognized as the first show to portray Vietnam veterans in a positive way. My silly Hawaiian shirt and Detroit Tigers cap are in their collection."


Tom stepped away from the limelight...and Magnum, P.I.

He married his second wife, Jillie Mack, in 1987, and they have one child together. The pair first crossed paths in 1984, when Selleck went to see his friend Brian Blessed in a London performance of the musical "Cats" – Mack was kitted out in a cat costume – and they were to get married three years later in Lake Tahoe (via AARP).


After the couple married and then a year later welcomed daughter Hannah, he decided to take a break, quitting the show that made him a household name. As he told People,- he "didn't like what I was being offered."

"I put up with the articles that said he's disappeared, he's done," Selleck shared. "And you do get done, I'm well aware of that. It was a big lull, but it put a lot of things in perspective."

They moved houses, something that his wife wasn't sure about at first, but she looks back on as a good decision now. "It's the best place to raise a child ... It was such the wisdom of Tom," she noted. "He knew he needed to buy back his anonymity, to replenish the soul." However, this of course would not be the end of Selleck's acting career. His role in "Friends" as Dr. Richard Burke, a love interest of main character Monica Geller, might have only been a recurring one, but it's one of his most famous roles even today, arguably reviving his career.


We last saw Tom in the Friends reunion show

In recent years, Tom Selleck has remained in the acting world. Since 2005, he's taken on the lead role of Jesse Stone in a number of made-for-TV movies based on the novels by Robert B. Parker, and joined NBC's "Las Vegas" in 2007. Then, in 2010, he started on CBS police drama "Blue Bloods," and remains on the show (via IMDb).


In an interview with Good Housekeeping, he spoke fondly of his wife and marriage, explaining that "I just still enjoy my wife's company enormously. She's hilariously funny, and we make a point, no matter how busy we are, to stop and spend time together. We make sure we sit down and enjoy a nice long dinner." Or, as he said to People, "My first priority is time with my family."

Recently, he also appeared in the eagerly-awaited "Friends" reunion special (per Variety), popping up in the trivia game segment, but while he's not shying away from TV, it's clear that right now, he's focused on spending time with his family.