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Tom Selleck Had A Surprising Military Career

The actor had to give up a promising job to complete his service.

Tom Selleck Had A Surprising Stint In The Military
(KEVIN WINTER / STAFF / GETTY IMAGES)

Tom Selleck is well-known around the world for his appearances in Magnum P.I. and the Three Men and a Baby movies. Did you know, though, that the star also served in the military?

Selleck’s Time In The National Guard

Selleck began his acting career while studying at the University of Southern California. He appeared on The Dating Game and in a Pepsi commercial, which led to him being offered a seat in Twentieth Century Fox’s 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.”

The Vietnam War was raging at the time he was working for the studio, and the actor was issued draft orders. From 1967 through 1973, Selleck served in the California National Guard’s 160th infantry regiment.

He advanced to sergeant, earning the California National Guard Federal Service Ribbon, California State Service Ribbon, and California Drill Attendance Ribbon.

Selleck is quite proud of his military experience. “I am a veteran, and I am proud of it,” the actor stated. “I was a sergeant in the United States Army infantry, National Guard, during the Vietnam War.” In that sense, we’re all brothers and sisters.”

His Post-Military Career

After leaving the National Guard, Selleck returned to Fox only to find out that he had been fired. However, he continued to work as an actor, eventually landing his big break in 1980 when he was cast as the lead in Magnum P.I. Over the course of its eight-year run, the show was routinely ranked as one of the top 20 U.S. television series in the Nielsen ratings.

The actor’s career skyrocketed, and he quickly found himself in blockbusters like Three Men and a Baby and hit shows like Friends and The Closer. Selleck is still in the business today, starring in the popular police drama Blue Bloods.

Despite the fact that Selleck’s military service is over, the actor continues to support the National Guard and veterans’ organizations. Selleck may no longer be in the military, but it’s evident that he cherishes his time in the National Guard.

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