Tom Selleck

“Icon” is usually used to talk about 60s movie stars or dead painters, but this time around, we’re going with someone a little closer to home. Ladies and Gentlemen, Magnum P.I. himself: Mr. Tom Selleck.

Perfectly Embodied:
There’s a lot to unpack here—the Ferrari, the Hawaiian shirt, the easy smile—but it all flows from the same source. We tried not talking about it, but the more you consider the man, the more obvious the prime source of his Selleckness becomes. It’s the one thing that lets him get away with the high-and-tight swim trunks and any number of other offenses to the “understated” part of understated cool.

We’re talking, of course, about the mustache.

Oh, the mustache.

Like most American mustaches, it arrived on the scene in the Burt Reynolds era, the one brief, shining moment when the furry lip seemed unironically masculine. Fast forward through a little so-ironic-its-sincere internet love (exhibits A, B and C), and the basic fuzzy appeal hasn’t changed. It’s shorter and a little more serious…but it’s not going anywhere.

Words of Wisdom:
I live a pretty simple life.

The Backstory:
He’s right, of course. Kicking around TV and low-level movies for the past few decades, more interested in making meandering, character-driven westerns than becoming a star, there was no indication Mr. Selleck was headed for iconic status. But the lizard brain of the internet was onto something. Easy-going machismo is hard to come by these days…and Mr. Selleck’s a prime source.

Ron Swanson should be paying royalties.

—R.B.

CONTRIBUTORS

  • Russell Brandom