Long before audiences recognized actor Tom Selleck for his bushy mustache and deep baritone, he was just another whippersnapper seeking a comfortable career in corporate America.
It was 48 years ago, and Selleck was finishing school at the University of Southern California, where he was also on the basketball team. He had joined United Airlines as a management trainee.
"Mr. Selleck was two years into the program when Hollywood called," United said this week in an employee newsletter. "He swiftly signed a contract and the rest is history."
Now, Selleck lives in Los Angeles and regularly commutes to New York, where he shoots his CBS television show, Blue Bloods. He flies United, so the airline thought it would fun to present him with the pin he should have received for completing one year of service. The airline gave it to him earlier this month at LAX.
I was in my last semester of business school at USC. I was in management training for United Airlines. I had done a couple of commercials and was on “The Dating Game,” but I had never done a play in my life. My acting experience was zero.
My commercials agent Don Schwartz sent me to Fox, where I think the feeling was, “He’s pretty green but maybe could have a career.” They needed the OK from Richard Zanuck. Well, Zanuck was a huge fan of UCLA basketball and when he learned that I was on the USC team, and that I played the Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar) position when we prepped and studied opposing offenses for games, it was “Done!”