Tom Selleck opened up about being “scared to death” while appearing on the comedy series Friends.
The actor made his television debut in 1965 as a college student on the set of The Dating Game. He returned to the role in 1967 and has appeared in many other television series and films.
In 1980, Selleck had his big break when he was cast to play Thomas Magnum on Magnum, PI. Selleck fit the character so well that the producers clung to him with all their might.
Years have passed since he played that memorable role, and Selleck is now a renowned Hollywood veteran. As a result, the actor’s recent revelation that he was initially reluctant to guest star on iconic comedy series Friends was startling.
‘I was scared to death’
During his appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, Selleck revealed that he was afraid to resign from the Friends role for a string of appearances as Dr. Richard Burke, the short-term boyfriend of Courteney Cox’s character, Monica Geller.
For the actor, his years of acting experience didn’t feel valuable at the time, as he had never starred in a sitcom until the offer came along.
He explained, “I was scared to death.” [an episode of] Taxi a long time ago, but I hadn’t done a sitcom before. And that’s why I was really nervous.”
Luckily for the Journeyman actor, his co-star Courteney was a “huge help” in welcoming him on set and settling him into his role.
“Courteney helped a lot. Courteney is a huge help,” he added. “But this group is an incredible group of friends. They obviously became friends both in life and on the show. And it shows. It was a wonderful place to work.”
Speaking about joining the ensemble, Selleck not only starred alongside Courtney, but also shared the set with Jennifer Aniston, Lisa Kudrow, David Schwimmer, Matt LeBlanc and Matthew Perry.
Being a guest on a show is ‘the hardest thing’
Explaining his fears about joining the cast of “Friends,” Selleck noted that he’s worried not only because he’s never worked on a comedy before, but also because everyone on the show is already on the hook, and he is just a mere guest star.
“I try to relax the new actors because it’s really hard to get on a show where everyone’s on the ball. It’s like Friends,” he said. “You were in the loop.”
In Season 2, Selleck played Courtney’s cigar-obsessed and considerably older lover. He was only supposed to appear in three episodes but ended up appearing in nine. In season three, the couple split after Selleck’s character refused to consent to children. He later reappeared in season six just before Matthew Perry’s character proposed to Courtney’s character.
Selleck and Courtney Had Several Memorable Scenes on Friends
For his appearance on the talk show, the actor wore a dark blue three-piece suit and tie with a light blue shirt. He also sported his distinctive mustache, which was also seen in his feature on Friends.
Selleck and Courtney’s characters Richard and Monica appeared in many memorable situations during the actor’s brief tenure on Friends. When Monica and Richard met in season two of The One Where Dr. Ramoray Dies” set for a sexy time in the bedroom alongside Rachel and Ross, the housemates ran into a significant problem in their preparations when they learned there was only one condom left.
Another memorable moment occurred during their split in The One With the Jam, which included one of the sitcom’s most memorable quotes: “I needed a plan. A plan to get over my husband. What is the opposite of man? Jam!” Monica said in the episode.
Tom Selleck’s personal life
Selleck is now 77 years old and has a filmography matched by only a handful in the industry. The actor is no longer actively performing, but does appear on a few shows from time to time, including a 2021 appearance as the narrator on Out Where The West Begins and a recurring role as Frank Reagan on CBS’s Police Proceedings. Drama series Blue Bloods.
Aside from his career, the actor has married twice, first to Jacqueline Ray, his “Magnum PI” co-star, and then to Jillie Joan Mack in 1987, five years after his divorce. Selleck has an adopted son named Kevin from his first marriage and a daughter named Hannah from his second marriage.
As of May 2022, Mack is still Selleck’s partner. They’ve managed to stay out of the spotlight, which may have helped preserve their long-term relationship.