Belfast Telegraph

Tom Selleck: I learnt to take risks

Tom Selleck has recalled how his acting career started with the 20th Century Fox New Talent Program.

The 70-year-old has had a long career, from starring roles in TV shows like Magnum P.I. to classic movies including Three Men and a Baby. But if it hadn’t been for his parents and the values they taught him when he was younger, it could have all been very different.

“My dad was a risk-taker. Both my parents encouraged taking risks. So I think they instilled in me the courage to try things,” he revealed to Variety. “And I played sports. So that taught me to work under pressure. And I’ve been fortunate to turn that into a long career.”

Tom first got his big break when he joined the 20th Century New Talent Program in 1967. But at the time, the actor had been preparing to work for an American airline.

“I was in my last semester of business school at USC. I was in management training for United Airlines” he recalled. “I had done a couple of commercials and was on The Dating Game, but I had never done a play in my life. My acting experience was zero.”

However the Blue Bloods star didn’t gain that much of an upper hand from being in the program because of the way the movie industry was changing at the time.

“As the power of the independent producers grew and the studios waned, it was definitely less of an advantage,” he explained. “Producers were not always that courteous on interviews. I remember one producer said to me, ‘So you work the big triangle.’ And I said, ‘What’s that?’ He said, ‘You go from the talent school to the commissary to the pay window.’”

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