16 Facts About Tom Selleck Fans Should Definitely Know

Sarah Kester
Tom Selleck
Pop culture | CBS

There's no denying that Tom Selleck is an icon.

Whether it's his good looks or spectacular career, he's always a 10/10 in our books. He's starred in several TV shows and movies, ranging from Friends to Three Men and a Baby to Magnum, P.I. and he's done it all with style, charm, and class.

So in honor of the legendary actor, come learn that there's more than meets the eye (read: mustache) with these 16 facts!

1. He enlisted in the military to avoid being drafted to the Vietnam War

While some people fake an injury to avoid being drafted, the actor voluntarily joined the California National Guard in the 1960s. He was part of the 160th Infantry Regiment from 1967 to 1973, where he worked his way up to the rank of Sergeant.

2. He's incredibly private

Tom Selleck
Mental Flos | CBS

In an interview with People, Tom described himself as an incredibly private person. “And I’ve always treasured the balance between work and time with my family. It’s always about them,” the actor said.

3. He once left a waitress a $2,020 tip and a handwritten note

The actor proved that he's incredibly generous when he took on the #2020TipChallenge.

It was Donnie Wahlberg who shared the exciting news in a tweet. "I found out that my TV Dad #TomSelleck has generously accepted the #2020TipChallenge at Elios Upper East Side! Love ya dad," Donnie tweeted.

4. There was a 21-year age gap between him and Courteney Cox's characters on 'Friends'

Monica
Diply | NBC

Tom played the handsome eye doctor, Richard Burke, who dated Courteney's character, Monica, for most of Season Two. The two didn't last since their 21-year age gap meant that Richard was done having kids.

5. He was on 'The Dating Game'

tom selleck
Giphy |

This was actually how his career on TV started! "I really was just a scared student at USC," Selleck told The A.V. Club. "But all of my friends, my fraternity brothers, were going on, so I went on and did it. And I, uh, did not dominate," he said about the experience.

6. He appeared in a string of different commercials

After he starred in The Dating Game (and lost!), Selleck continued to chase the screen by appearing in several different commercials. He was even in promotional materials for the military. This was all surprising since he once recalled that he never had any interest in acting.

7. He was a talented athlete

basketball
Unsplash | Markus Spiske

Thanks to his athletic skills and the fact that he's six-foot-four, the actor earned a basketball scholarship to the University of Southern California. While there, he entered a management training program for United Airlines.

8. He once played for the Detroit Tigers

hat
Giphy |

Basketball isn't the only sport he can do! He joined spring training in 1991 when he was preparing for the role of a baseball pro in 1992's, Mr. Baseball.

Magnum, P.I fans will also know that he wore a Detroit Tigers baseball cap throughout the series.

9. He had a good childhood

Friends
Pop culture | NBC

Despite growing up on the dangerous streets of Detroit and then Los Angeles, the actor had a very normal childhood.

A lot of this is credited to his parents, Robert and Martha Selleck. "I don't have any tragic stories of parental rejection. They taught me everything I know," he said in a 2015 interview with AARP The Magazine.

10. He got his big break thanks to Mae West

Mae West
Giphy |

The actress liked what she saw in Selleck and hand-selected him to play one of her “studs” in 1970’s Myra Breckinridge. “Mae was a wonderful woman,” Selleck told The Morning Call. “I escorted her to a couple of premieres and she did hundreds of interviews where she mentioned me in the same sentence as Cary Grant."

11. He almost played Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones
Ansion | Paramount

As much as we love Harrison Ford in the role, it would've been interesting to see Selleck take on Jones. But sadly, he was forced to turn it down since CBS wouldn't have let him out of his contract for Magnum, P.I.

This stemmed from the show shooting around the same time in Hawaii.

tom selleck
Giphy | CBS

But since a writer's strike held up production, this meant that Selleck would've had time to film Indiana Jones. It was even being filmed in Hawaii!

Instead, he was stuck working as a handyman until the show resumed.

12. He turned down the lead role in 1985's 'Witness'

Tom selleck
Giphy | CBS

He would've played a cop who befriends an Amish family. But after turning down the role, it went to Harrison Ford. What is it with these two?!

13. He originally hated the role of Thomas Magnum on 'Magnum, P.I.'

tom selleck
Giphy | Friends

While the show was a glamorous contrast to the small roles he had been given on TV pilots, he disliked how the role was written.

“I hated it,” he said. “He was James Bond-like He was perfect. He had girls on each arm. He owned a Ferrari.”

As a way to compromise, Selleck asked producers if he could play the character similar to the character of Jim Rockford in 'The Rockford Files.'

Tom Selleck
THR | CBS

Producers made a smart decision by agreeing. This turned the character into a more relatable one and allowed Selleck to play the character for eight seasons.

14. He has more than 50 movie and TV credits

tom selleck
Giphy |

These parts range from Three Men and a Baby, Mr. Baseball, Quigley Down Under to Lassiter. Of course, Friends fans know him best from playing Dr. Richard Burke as Monica's love interest.

15. He met his wife thanks to the musical, 'Cats'

friends
Giphy | Friends

When the then-38-year-old actor was filming in London, he kept going back to see the popular musical. Eventually, people learned why: he had become enamored with Jillie Joan Mack, the dancer who played Rumpleteazer.

A dinner date soon blossomed into an all-out romance.

tom selleck
Giphy |

Once her Cats contract was up, she even moved to Hawaii to be with Selleck while he filmed Magnum P.I. The pair got married in secret in 1987.

16. The actor has two children

tom selleck
Giphy | CBS

The first is Kevin, whom he adopted when he was married to his first wife. Then, Selleck and Mack had their one and only child, Hannah.

The actor even stepped back from Hollywood while he was raising her. "We both thought it was the best environment for [Hannah] to grow up," Mack told People in 2012.