Tom Selleck's Dad (And Jim Garner) Gave Him A+ Life Advice After He Admitted The Original Magnum P.I. Script Was 'Horrible’

Tom Selleck's Dad (And Jim Garner) Gave Him A+ Life Advice After He Admitted The Original Magnum P.I. Script Was 'Horrible’

Tom Selleck may be known for Blue Bloods now, but that hasn’t stopped him from still looking back on his Magnum P.I. days. The 79-year-old actor was known for his famous mustache in the ‘80s and playing the titular character on the CBS crime drama. Even today, the retro TV theme song still slaps. However, the show wasn’t always a shoo-in for success, and Selleck got some wise advice from people close to him back in the day..

It's hard to imagine that a show that ran for eight seasons and spawned a reboot years later was ever in danger of not moving forward. While looking back at his long-running career with Esquire, Selleck admitted that the initial script for Magnum was actually pretty bad. Even Rockford Files star and close friend James Garner knew that something wasn’t right, as Selleck explained:

The original script for Magnum was horrible. The guy was too perfect, like James Bond.
Jim Garner gave me the best piece of advice I may have ever gotten. Jim was driving me back from the Rockford Files set. He knew me pretty well and asked, ‘What’s wrong?’ I said, ‘The studio’s assigned a script to me, and I hate it.’

Being excited for a new role only to find out that the script isn’t what you thought it would be can’t be easy. Magnum P.I. was Selleck’s first major lead role on television, and Thomas Magnum being perfect evidently wouldn't have made for a perfect show in his eyes. He got some great advice from Garner, who would know a thing or two about leading a TV show thanks to Rockford Files:

Jim was a very humble man. He said, ‘You don’t have any power, but if they want you for this part, you will never have more power than you do at this moment.’ That’s what I did. I took a stand and said, ‘No.’ The studio said, ‘Who the hell do you think you are? You’ve never even been on the air.’ But they got a new writer, and he wrote a great pilot. If it didn’t work, I don’t think I ever would have worked again. The studio would have seen to that.

Standing up for yourself can definitely be nerve-wracking no matter what's on the line, but Selleck had the support of a good friend. And it clearly worked out, so it’s a good thing Tom Selleck took James Garner’s advice. That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t still nervous about the whole situation, but his father offered another piece of great advice:

My dad said, ‘Risk is the price to pay for opportunity.’

Considering Magnum P.I. wound up being a pretty successful series, it’s a good thing Selleck listened to his friend and his father. The show would have been pretty different had there not been any rewrites, and it’s very possible that Selleck wouldn't have been the star. Tom Selleck’s supposedly accidental career has not been so easy over the last few decades, but he’s clearly learned a lot over the years.

Whether or not Selleck retires following Blue Bloods, perhaps he will continue to share the advice he’s gotten and his own advice for years to come. Magnum P.I. was big for a reason, and it might not have happened without Selleck’s father or James Garner.