Friday, January 1, 2010


Released by Kim Potts/TV Squad

It's been 30 years since Tom Selleck introduced us to his Hawaii-dwellin', Tigers cap-wearin', Ferrari-borrowin', generally-mooching private investigator Thomas Magnum.

'Magnum P.I.' premiered Dec. 11, 1980 and ran for eight seasons on CBS -- and was a top-20 rated show for the first five. It followed formal Naval intelligence officer-turned-P.I. Magnum as he lived on the palatial estate of wealthy writer Robin Masters; the estate was operated by fussy Jonathan Higgins, who may or may not have been the same person.

Magnum's BFFs Rick and T.C. helped him out on his cases, and, though the action mostly revolved around the four main characters, a slew of guest stars passed through the show, including Frank Sinatra, Carol Burnett, Sharon Stone, Ian McShane, Ted Danson, Dana Delany, Dennis Haysbert, Tyne Daly, Angela Lansbury and TV uber-producer Stephen J. Cannell.

And though playing the P.I. in 'Magnum' cost Selleck the lead in 'Raiders of the Lost Ark' -- his 'Magnum' shooting scheduled would have conflicted with the 'Raiders' production, though a writers' strike later made the issue moot, after Harrison Ford had already landed the part -- movieland's loss was a big gain for TV viewers.

In honor of the show's 30th anniversary, we're checking in with what the 'Magnum' gang has been up to since the show's May 1988 series finale.

Tom Selleck:
Thomas Magnum

He won an Emmy and a Golden Globe, and made Hawaiian shirts, short shorts for men and, of course, the mustache, sexy. Magnum was a seemingly irreverent beach bum who had actually been a Navy intelligence officer and athlete, and who went out of his way for his friends and clients. At the end of the series, Magnum found out he had a daughter and he resumed his Naval career to give her a stable life. Post-'Magnum,' Selleck focused on his big-screen career, starring in a sequel to his hit 'Three Men and a Baby,' 'In & Out' and, most recently, 'Killers.' He also operates a working avocado ranch in California, and has never really left TV land, with a memorable stint as Courteney Cox's boyfriend Richard on 'Friends,' taking over for James Caan on 'Las Vegas,' starring in and producing the popular 'Jesse Stone' movie franchise for CBS and, this year, starring as NYPD commissioner Frank Reagan in CBS' family cop drama 'Blue Bloods.' Selleck has also confirmed that he and co-stars Ted Danson and Steve Guttenberg are awaiting the script to begin another 'Three Men and a Baby' sequel, and fans continue to hope that the star will have some part in the long-in-development 'Magnum, P.I.' big-screen movie that, throughout the last decade, has been rumored to be headed to theaters with everyone from George Clooney to Jason Lee as the movie Magnum.

John Hillerman:
Jonathan Higgins

Higgins, a WWII veteran and a member of Scottish nobility, was tougher than his fussy image might have made him appear, as he retired, post-military career, to the Hawaiian estate of author Robin Masters, where he became the majordomo of "Robin's Nest." He spent much of his time exasperated by Magnum and his tendencies to come and go, say and do, as he pleased. The two liked and respected each other, though, despite the fact that Magnum often prompted Higgins' trademark "Oh. My. God, Magnum!" response, as well as the ire of Higgins' Dobermans, Zeus and Apollo, who he referred to as "The Lads." In the series finale, Higgins confirmed Magnum's suspicion that Higgins was Robin Masters, but then later told him he had lied, leaving viewers with a cliffhanger. As for Hillerman, who was best known as Ann Romano's boss Mr. Connors (who referred to her as "M.S. Romano") on 'One Day at a Time,' his post-'Magnum' career has consisted of a stint as Jason Bateman's grandpa Lloyd on 'The Hogan Family,' and a pair of guest appearances on 'Murder, She Wrote.' The 77-year-old Hillerman, who, like Selleck, won both an Emmy and a Golden Globe for 'Magnum,' is now retired and living in his native Texas.

Roger E. Mosley:
Theodore "T.C." Calvin

Former Naval aviator and officer T.C. (who was often seen sporting his Da Nang cap) was one of Magnum's closest pals (the two had been prisoners of war together during the Vietnam War), and, as the proprietor of a tourist chopper business called Island Hoppers, one of Magnum's go-to guys when he needed to get somewhere that the Ferrari wouldn't take him -- or when he needed muscle back-up. In the series finale, as Magnum goes off to raise his daughter, T.C. also reunites with his wife and children. Mosley, meanwhile, has remained active in TV land since 'Magnum,' with recurring roles on 'Hangin' with Mr. Cooper' and the Showtime drama 'Rude Awakening,' and a reunion with Selleck and Larry Manetti on an episode of 'Las Vegas' in 2007. Mosley also had a memorable role as the doomed partner of psycho cop Ray Liotta in the big-screen thriller 'Unlawful Entry,' and, currently, he plays the grandfather of Donald Faison's character -- Donald Faison -- in NBC's Web comedy 'FCU: Fact Checkers Unit.'

Larry Manetti:
Rick Wright

Rick was Magnum's other best friend, also a fellow Vietnam War vet (he was T.C.'s door gunner during the war); in fact, the three each sport a Team Ring, a black ring with a Croix de Lorraine -- a symbol of wartime bonding -- on it. A well-connected playboy with a fondness for fancy clothes, Rick ran the exclusive King Kamehameha Club, which was owned by Robin Masters, and also did many a favor for his P.I. buddy. In the series finale, Rick was engaged to marry former hooker Cleo, though, in another cliffhanger, we never actually see him say the words "I do." After 'Magnum,' Manetti guest starred on TV shows like 'Quantum Leap,' had recurring roles on 'Walker, Texas Ranger,' 'Renegade' and 'JAG,' and reunited with Selleck and Mosley at the 2009 TV Land Awards, where the trio was given the Hero Award for their 'Magnum' days. Manetti also wrote the fun book 'Aloha Magnum,' about his experiences on the show and meeting fellow celebs, including 'Magnum' guest Frank Sinatra, with whom he became friends. Autographed copies of the book are for sale at Manetti's website, which also includes his personal photos from the 'Magnum' set.

Jeff MacKay:
Lt. Mac MacReynolds

The only TV character who possibly loved doughnuts more than Homer Simpson, Mac was Magnum's Navy intelligence pal who was killed off in a car bomb -- that was meant for Magnum -- and returned later as a ghost and as a completely different character, con man Jim Bonig. MacKay, a cousin of Robert Redford who had already co-starred with Larry Manetti in the 1970s series 'Black Sheep Squadron,' also starred in the cult classic, one-season adventure series 'Tales of the Gold Monkey' and voiced Fireflight in the 'Transformers' cartoon during his stint on 'Magnum.' After the show wrapped, he reunited with John Hillerman in the short-lived drama 'Berlin Break,' and played Patrick Labyorteaux's father on 'JAG.' MacKay died of liver failure in 2008.

Kwan Hi Lim:
Lt. Yoshi Tanaka

Magnum often encountered funny Honolulu homicide detective Tanaka while working on cases, and the two became friends, bonding over their mutual love of the Detroit Tigers. In a Season 8 shocker, Tanaka was killed off during an undercover drug investigation. Lim, who didn't begin his acting career until he was in his forties, was also an attorney who continued to practice law while starring on shows like 'Hawaii Five-O' and 'Magnum.' After 'Magnum,' he made an appearance in the Vietnam War series 'Tour of Duty' and continued his legal career, working as a family court judge in Hawaii. Lim died in Hawaii in 2008.

Gillian Dobb:
Agatha Chumley

An English socialite with a big crush on Higgins, Agatha's feelings, sadly, were not reciprocated. They were good friends, however, especially since she provided him with a connection to the high culture he felt he lacked in the presence of Magnum and his friends. Agatha, to Higgins' annoyance, was actually fond of Magnum. As for Dobb, she was a local actress who, according to 'Magnum, P.I.' set designer Rick Romer's blog, was very much like her character: the charming, fan-favorite Agatha. 'Magnum' was her only major acting job, and she died, at age 71, in 2001.

Orson Welles:
Robin Masters

Yes, that Orson Welles. Welles was the voice -- his face was never shown -- of wealthy author Robin Masters, who wrote bestselling novels with titles like 'The Seamy Side of Dawn,' 'Blood of the August Kitten' and 'Die and Die Again.' After Welles died of a heart attack in 1985 (just hours after appearing on 'The Merv Griffin Show'), Magnum began to question whether or not Robin Masters actually existed, or if Higgins was actually Masters.

No comments:

Post a Comment