The Biggest Stars on TV #4: Tom Selleck

Ileane Rudolph
Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images

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Tell people you've spent time with Tom Selleck, and the gushing starts: "I've been following him since Magnum, P.I.!" "He was great as Monica's boyfriend on Friends!" "I never miss Blue Bloods!" And "Will there be another Jesse Stone movie?"

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The veteran TV star is the secret sauce that makes any show he's in better.

The ruggedly handsome 6-foot-4 actor got his start — where else? — on deodorant soap commercials but soon accepted roles that took advantage of his authoritative manliness leavened by an innate modesty and humor. Even his gruff Blue Bloods police commissioner Frank Reagan can't pass up an opportunity for a wry zinger. Now in its ninth year, the family-centered cop show has surpassed the run of Magnum, the 1980s series about the Hawaiian shirt–wearing private eye that earned Selleck an Emmy Award and made the public fall in love with the actor and, of course, his luxuriant mustache.

The TV icon, who has been producing many of his projects since Magnum's sixth season, has also sold his effortless charisma in highly rated TV Westerns, such as 2001's Crossfire Trail, movie comedies and, as he's aged, the broody Cape Cod police chief Jesse Stone. (And yes, fans, he's currently writing the 10th movie in the franchise based on Robert B. Parker's bestselling book series.)

Blue Bloods (Credit: Patrick Harbron/CBS)

No matter what the role he plays, a relatable decency shines through — one that continues when the cameras stop. Over the years, each of his Blue Bloods colleagues has relayed stories of his consideration, kindness and humility. Indeed, Selleck is typically modest when discussing his impressive career longevity. "There's no magic in long-term success," he tells TV Guide Magazine. "I [just] really love the work." And clearly, so do we.

This is an abbreviated version of TV Guide Magazine's latest cover story. For more, pick up the issue, on newsstands now.