Tom Selleck Says Mae West Told Him To ‘Spread His Legs’

NEW YORK - DECEMBER 20: Lost Ones Danny and Baezs investigation into the death of a chess hustler is complicated by interference from the victims son. Also, Erin is offered an endorsement of her run for D.A. by an influential Harlem pastor in exchange for a professional favor; Gormley comes to Frank with a request regarding a disabled officer who has a connection to Danny; and Jamie tries to make amends with a man he regrets putting away as a young officer, on BLUE BLOODS, Friday, Jan. 20 (10:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Pictured: Tom Selleck as Frank Reagan and Donnie Wahlberg as Danny Reagan. Photo is a screen grab.
(Photo by CBS via Getty Images)

Now that Tom Selleck is almost done playing New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan on the hit show Blue Bloods, which has aired for 14 seasons and is coming to an end this year, the world is his oyster! With the end of the long-running hit police procedural on the horizon, Selleck has some time for new endeavors, including a recently published memoir called You Never Know: A Memoir. It’s his first book, and in a recent interview CBS daytime show The Talk to promote it.

You Never Know is kind of the story of an accidental career,” Tom Selleck shared. Asked about a quote attributed to his dad (“Risk is a price you pay for opportunity”), he added, “It means a lot. Look, my parents got in a car and put my brother Bob and [me] in it and then drove from Detroit to California. My dad took on a new business, and so he understood risk and he passed that on to his kids. I just think it’s important for people to understand that risk is the price to pay for opportunity.”

FRIENDS, from left, Tom Selleck, Courteney Cox, 1994-2004 (ca. 1996 photo).

Warner Brothers/Everett Collection

The conversation quickly turned to past experiences in Hollywood, which Selleck has been a part of for decades now (including several huge hits prior to Blue Bloods, like Magnum P.I., Friends, and Three Men and a Baby), beginning with a role he had in the 1970 film Myra Breckinridge.

“I don’t know how many people remember Mae West, but she was kind of a legend. She hadn’t done a movie in 20 years and she was older, but I had this interview at 8pm in her apartment,” he shared. “She asked me to read a script. I was really nervous, but did it. And then she goes over to her white piano — everything was white in her apartment — and she leans back against it and says, come here. Put your hands on my waist.  After I put my hands on her waist, she said, now spread your legs.”

MYRA BRECKINRIDGE, from left, Mae West, Tom Selleck, 1970, TM &

Mae West & Tom Selleck in Myra Breckinridge; Copyright ©20th Century Fox. All rights reserved/courtesy Everett Collection

“It turned out she wasn’t very tall and I’m six four, so she wanted to make sure by spreading my legs I could be shorter and it would work with the part,” he added, quickly. “I got the part.”

Selleck also recalled comic icon Carol Burnett‘s recurring guest role on the hit show Magnum P.I.

MAGNUM, P.I., (aka MAGNUM P.I.), Tom Selleck, 1980-88 (ca. 1980 photo).

ph: Gene Trindl / TV Guide / ©CBS / courtesy Everett Collection

“You haven’t lived till, you have Carol Burnett straddling your shoulders, holding on to your head,” he said. “It’s not what it sounds like. We were trying to put out a sprinkler that had gone off. And it’s very funny. Carol’s a good friend, and happy birthday, Carol. She just had a birthday.”

You can watch the full episode here.

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Classic Hollywood Hunks

September 2019

Cary Grant, Sean Connery, Rock Hudson and Paul Newman, smoldered onscreen and, in addition to being smokin’ hot, they were effortlessly cool.

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