Tom Selleck is known all over the world for his acting roles, including starring in Magnum P.I. and the Three Men and a Baby movies. However, did you know that the star also served in the military?
Selleck’s Time In The National Guard
Selleck got his start in acting while enrolled at the University of Southern California. He appeared on The Dating Game and starred in a Pepsi commercial, which led to Twentieth Century Fox offering him a spot in their talent program.
“I think, when I went to Fox, I was on my own with no frame of reference, no connection,” Selleck shared. “I’d never done a play in my life. I started at about thirty-five bucks a week, and every six months you either got fired or renewed. If you got renewed, you got a raise on their term contracts.”
While he was working for the studio, the Vietnam War was raging, and the actor was issued draft orders. Selleck joined the California National Guard in the 160th infantry regiment, serving from 1967 to 1973.
He rose to the rank of sergeant, earning the California National Guard Federal Service Ribbon, the California State Service Ribbon, and the California Drill Attendance Ribbon.
Selleck takes a lot of pride in his military service. “I am a veteran, I’m proud of it,” the actor explained. “I was a sergeant in the U.S. Army infantry, National Guard, Vietnam era. We’re all brothers and sisters in that sense.”
His Post-Military Career
After leaving the National Guard, Selleck came back to Fox, only to find out he had been fired. However, he continued to work as an actor, finally getting his big break in 1980 when he was cast as the lead in Magnum P.I. The show was consistently ranked as one of the top 20 U.S. television shows in the Nielsen ratings over its eight-year run.
The actor’s career skyrocketed, and he was soon appearing in blockbusters like Three Men and a Baby and hit shows like Friends and The Closer. Selleck is still working today, starring in the popular police drama Blue Bloods.
While Selleck’s military service is in the past, the actor continues to support the National Guard and veterans’ organizations. He might not be in the military anymore, but it’s clear Selleck looks back on his time with the National Guard with pride.
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