Tom Selleck stars in the magazine’s first-ever Age Issue, celebrating GQ’s lifelong commitment to looking awesome at any age. He’s featured alongside Blake Griffin, Chadwick Boseman, Norman Reedus, and Clive Owen. GQ surveyed the five modern gentlemen about getting old, staying young, looking sharp, and living well. The October issue of GQ is available on newsstands in New York and Los Angeles now and will be available nationally on September 30.
No grass grows under Tom Selleck’s feet, still acting in “Blue Bloods” and looking fit and fabulous with his 70th birthday looming.
The handsome thespian talks about his infamous mustache, the Blue Bloods series, sex, plastic surgery, and why Homer Simpson is an idiot in a GQ web exclusive interview.
On becoming the man he wants to be…
Selleck: On my good days, if I’m thinking right, I try to be. That’s not always… You know, everybody screws up.
On James Garner’s influence:
Selleck: …I worked with [James] Garner at a really critical time. I had done the leads in several pilots, but nobody saw them because they didn’t sell, and I did this thing on Rockford, and I watched Garner, because I’d been on a lot of shows where everybody was walking on eggshells and there were battles about who was coming out of their dressing room first—and you’re the guest actor, and you’ve got one scene that may be the most valuable piece of film you’ve ever had, and maybe the actor doesn’t even stay for his off-camera lines; you’re doing them to a script person.
So I just had a long time. ‘Cause from the time in ’67 when I signed at Fox, I did seven unsold pilots, and while they were the leads, nobody knew who I was because you didn’t see them. So I was unemployed for a long time, and I had a long time to say, “Boy, if I ever get a chance…” and “I’m not going to do that.” Because I was 35 when I got Magnum, which was a real blessing, because I think when I was 25, I looked 35 and sounded 15.
You’ve got to grow into yourself. It was very frustrating at the time. But I had plenty of time to observe, and then, by the time I’m 34, to work with Garner—who I think people, if they could, still take star lessons from. He understood that leads in a show like a television series involved leadership, probably: When you’re not feeling so good, put on a happy face, it’s infectious—these things sound kind of corny and stupid, but this is our life.
On the importance of fathers:
Selleck: …I get half my time in L.A., but when we’re here [filming in New York City], we all like each other, and we don’t have anybody stir the pot on Blue Bloods. I like to think I’ve set some of that example. I’m older than most of the actors. I play the patriarch, and it’s a rare opportunity to show a positive example. I’m not—I don’t believe in playing characters that aren’t flawed. He’s got issues, but at the same time, most dads on TV are idiots. Homer Simpson is an idiot.
….this is no knock on that particular piece of material, I read it to my daughter when she was very young, I read it all the time—the Berenstain Bears. And I got to about the third book and I said, “I’m not gonna read these anymore.” She said, “Why, Daddy?” I said, “Because the father’s always an idiot!” [laughs] So, look, I’m not a message guy—I think our job is to entertain—but I think there is an interesting by-product in Blue Bloods, in a way, of a patriarchal family—in this case by accident, in the context of the show, because he lost his wife. And dads are still dads, even to grown-ups. I really felt grown-up when I discovered I was on my own.
On being 70 next year:
Selleck: I guess it’s next year. I also figured something out, and I swear to God, about four days ago I did some math, and in two years I’ll have fifty years in the business, and that just scared the shit out of me. I mean, the good news is I’m still working.