Tom Selleck on 'Magnum, P.I.' Creator Glen A. Larson: "He Gave You the Confidence to Take the Risk"

Rocco Ceselin
Glen A. Larson

The star pays tribute to the late writer-producer, also behind 'Battlestar Galactica,' who died Nov. 14

This story first appeared in the Nov. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Few television writer-producers can boast a résumé like that of Glen A. Larson, who died Nov. 14 of esophageal cancer at age 77. Magnum, P.I., Quincy, M.E., Battlestar Galactica, Knight Rider, B.J. and the Bear and The Fall Guy — all created by Larson, who began his career as a pop singer and composed the music for many of his shows (including the Knight Rider theme song). Magnum, which Larson created with his friend and future NCIS creator Donald Bellisario, aired on CBS from 1980 to 1988 and made a star of a Hawaii-based, Ferrari-driving Tom Selleck, who remembers him here.

I met Glen when he was interested in me doing Magnum. He came to me, and I had some problems with the script. He said, "Well, come on over to Hawaii, and we'll talk about it." I went with him to Hawaii and brought my son, and it was a great trip. We had fun, and we talked every night. We were always looking for Robert Mondavi Cabernet '74 Reserve; that was a favorite of his, and we had it every night that week I spent in Hawaii. I still drink it when I can find it.

See more The Long, Historic Career of Glen A. Larson

Eventually — and this really says who Glen is — I still had some issues with the script, and Glen was accommodating. Don Bellisario came in to take the show in a different direction, and Glen graciously stepped back. That's something a guy could hold a grudge over, and Glen never let it affect our relationship. Glen had his name on the show and stepped back with a graciousness that I don't think anybody could find fault with. It wouldn't happen with a lot of people.

Tom Selleck in
Magnum, P.I.

I will never forget that trip to Hawaii. It was one I couldn't afford at the time, and having dinner every night with him was fun. Glen was great at not applying pressure or the hammer — it was just a time to get to know him. Glen and I remained friends, and like most people in the industry, you bump into each other. I saw him during Magnum because he had a house there. I never heard an angry or resentful word from his mouth — everything was a touch of irony and humor.

Read more Glen A. Larson Mourned by Hollywood

What I remember was his comfort with the process. Television and acting is often a business of gaining the confidence to risk putting yourself in front of a camera every day, and he certainly had the ability to give you that confidence without feeling like you were being placated. What he generated was a confidence in you that gave you the confidence to take the risk.