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Larry King Live

Tom Selleck Discusses 'Running Mates'

Aired July 21, 2000 - 9:00 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight, he's argued guns with Rosie, romanced Monica on "Friends." Now, he's running for president -- not really -- as a Democrat. Tom Selleck for the hour, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

First, we begin with a congratulations. Tom Selleck has been nominated for an Emmy as a best guest actor in a comedy series for his appearance on "Friends." We'll see portions.

Congratulations.

TOM SELLECK, ACTOR: Well, yes, thank you. Go figure.

KING: Were you surprised?

SELLECK: I was really surprised. I found out yesterday, on the plane, actually. Coming back from some screenings of this movie, our producer said: You were nominated for an Emmy. I said: Oh, come on. And I didn't know what for.

KING: You forgot.

SELLECK: It's just nice. You know, it's been a while.

KING: Congratulations, hey, you know, for one of the major figures in American television to come back like this in a series, in a comedy, is very nice.

SELLECK: Yes. It was great.

KING: First, let's -- we have got lots to talk about -- and thanks for coming -- been a while.

SELLECK: Yes, I haven't see you...

KING: First, let's talk about what we're going to see on TNT on August 13th. The Democrats start their convention the next day. Their former communications director, under Jimmy Carter, Gerald Rafshoon, one of the executive producers of a film called "Running Mates" ...

SELLECK: Yes.

KING: .. in which you play a Democratic governor of a state with a moral question of who to select, right? Is that the concept? SELLECK: Well, I think what it is, this guy is kind of a maverick, and a maverick that hopefully people will admire. The only problem is, as he's kind of faced with that question that I would guess happens in politics most of the time, which is: I'm so close now, and my intentions, you know, are so good, why don't I just put my standards and ethics on hold for a little while. And then when I get in office, I'll be good again. And I think that's a fatal compromise. And this movie is about that process at that point. You know, it was really interesting and real well-cast. You know, a lot of interesting...

KING: Do you play a liberal?

SELLECK: I play a liberal maverick. I don't know what he is. You know, the movie does a very good job, I think -- and Hollywood is not always that good at this -- of finding and defining the middle. And in that sense, I think, you know, it's about corruption in the Democratic Party. But it could just as easily be about corruption in the Republican Party.

KING: Is it a guy you like?

SELLECK: Yes. I like him. And I don't want to do -- him to do what it looks like he's going to do.

KING: And he also has a past that we bring in to this, right, with some...

SELLECK: Well, he has a past. Well, my particular presidential candidate had the good taste to get involved with four women at different points in his life...

KING: Not an intern.

SELLECK: ... not at once. But Faye Dunaway, Nancy Travis, Laura Linney,and Teri Hatcher are kind of my leading ladies, and...

KING: Did you like this script right away?

SELLECK: I liked it. And I knew it was a good script. But what -- and I've never been there, so I don't know -- but it had a kind of authentic quality to it. And when I met Gerry Rafshoon, who you just talked about, I realized why -- because Gerry had kind of passed through the script a couple times, and some -- a real sense of what's going on behind the scenes. It's funny. And yet it's kind of Capra- esque in that sense.

You want him to do the right thing. And yet, there's a very dark side and potential kind of tragic outcome. So...

KING: And President Carter, who saw it, said that it's very realistic.

SELLECK: Well, he didn't tell me that. Supposedly...

KING: No, he told me that, because it's in the column, Monday. It better have happened.

KING: He did say it.

SELLECK: Did he?

KING: Yes, they showed it to him at his home. And he said it was -- that's the way politics is.

SELLECK: Well, I had heard that. And certainly, Gary Rafshoon was so close to President Carter for so long. I'm thrilled he liked it. We just screened it in Washington, D.C. two nights in a row.

KING: How did it do -- to who, pundits?

SELLECK: Senator McCain came.

KING: Oh yes?

SELLECK: And a lot of the people who think they're the real stars of the movie, like Mark Shields, and Al Hunt, and Kate O'Beirne. And I'm leaving people out now. But they all came and they had fun.

KING: Are you the -- you're the governor of Minnesota...

SELLECK: Governor of Michigan. KING: Michigan -- you have the nomination of the party?

SELLECK: He has got the nomination pretty well wrapped up, but really now, the question of money and politics and...

KING: Who is he going to pick?

SELLECK: The fat cats really want their choice for vice president and that's what he's up against. And that's the best way for him to get elected and do all the good things he wants to do.

KING: Pretty good timing on the eve of the Democratic election.

SELLECK: Yes, we worked -- we raced to get it done.

KING: By the way, we've had a misconception all these years. You are not a registered Republican, are you?

SELLECK: No, I'm...

KING: You're an independent?

SELLECK: For about the last decade, I've been an independent. It suited me a little better, particularly as a public figure, particularly -- I just don't quite fit in the box I always get put in. And besides that, I've been doing a lot of charity work with young kids and a lot of that involved work with the late Barbara Jordan, who is a real hero of mine, and...

KING: I was just at the Austin Airport... SELLECK: Yes.

KING: ... and they named the whole international terminal after her.

SELLECK: Did they?

KING: What a woman she was.

SELLECK: What a woman. And our whole point with our Character Counts Coalition was, we didn't have some hidden political agenda. And I just felt, if I was going to be co-national spokesperson, along with Barbara, the best thing to do would be to register independent, put my money where my mouth is, and try and find consensus rather than all the disagreements.

KING: Because you have supported George W. Bush and Bill Bradley.

SELLECK: I did, I guess, didn't I?

KING: Isn't that right? So you did based on character counts?

SELLECK: I think character is real important. And you know, and I think the public does. You know, I think the public's really ready to vote for anybody who goes outside this kind of -- these narrow parameters of how they think they have to behave to get elected. You know, the first candidate, I think, who answers a question with I don't know or it's none of your business, or more importantly, you know, the sky will not fall if the other person is elected, I think the public will vote for them regardless of their ideology. I don't think ideology is as important.

KING: One of the appeals of McCain, right?

SELLECK: Very much so, what a great guy.

KING: Yes.

SELLECK: He's a great guy, because he came to our screening.

KING: You think he might be a vice presidential nominee, you think?

SELLECK: I hope so. I mean...

KING: You would like it if he picked him?

SELLECK: I would. I mean the Republic -- obviously survived me not endorsing anybody. But I mean, it's -- that makes for a very interesting race. It makes for an interesting debate. I think what the senator has had to say about the corruption of money in politics is important. Although I don't completely agree with his solution, I mean -- we just need a debate on this stuff, and not a bunch of polling and pandering.

And that's the method of getting elected nowadays.

KING: The movie, "Running Mates," by the way, will premiere on TNT. They'll show it the night of August the 13th. That's the night before the Democratic Convention opens in Los Angeles. It will play many times. He plays -- Tom Selleck -- James Reynolds Pryce, a man of high principles pressured by the party's money men to support a choice for vice president, The movie is titled "Running Mates" on TNT August 13th. We will talking more about it later.

We have lots to talk about with our friend Tom Selleck. Here's a scene, I think, from "Running Mates." Watch.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "RUNNING MATES")

SELLECK: Applause is not enough. It's not enough! Every delegate on the floor, every citizen in the gallery, every American in your cars and houses, if you really are serious about taking America back, stand up. Stand up wherever you are and be counted. Stand up and pledge with me: A government of the United States is not on the auction block. And America is not for sale!

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: Tom Selleck is our guest. He had an on-the-air run-in with Rosie O'Donnell last year. He had gone on her talk show to talk about a new movie with the massacre at Columbine still on many peoples' minds, Rosie slammed him as a spokesman for the NRA.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE ROSIE O'DONNELL SHOW")

SELLECK: I'm not -- I can speak for the NRA.

ROSIE O'DONNELL, TALK SHOW HOST: But you're their spokesperson, Tom, so you have to be responsible for what they say.

SELLECK: I'm not a spokesperson. I'm not a spokesperson.

O'DONNELL: But if you put your name out, and say, I, Tom Selleck...

SELLECK: Now, wait, don't put words in my mouth. I'm not a spokesperson. Remember how calm you said you would be. Now you're questioning my humanity.

O'DONNELL: No, not your humanity. I think you're a very humane man. I'm saying that if you say...

SELLECK: OK, well, then, just say, I disagree with you, but I think you're being stupid.

O'DONNELL: But you can't say that I will not take responsibility for anything the NRA represents, if you are saying that you are going to do an ad for the NRA.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You did not expect that, one would imagine.

SELLECK: A lot of heat and no light.

KING: Yes, what -- I know you hadn't talked about it, but...

SELLECK: Look, I haven't talked about it much.

KING: What's your thoughts now in retrospect?

SELLECK: Well, they're the same as they were at the time, you know. For a show like Rosie's, you do pre-interviews. You know, I'm on someone else's nickel -- it's a quarter now -- and, you know, I just told them in the pre-interview that I didn't think that was appropriate when I got a little movie that I've got a supporting role in, I'm trying to promote that is going to open opposite "Star Wars."

And they knew that. And I guess Rosie felt compelled to do it anyway.

KING: So, you were certainly surprised?

SELLECK: Oh, yes.

KING: And why...

SELLECK: So was audience by the way.

KING: They were?

SELLECK: It was one of those -- you know those nightmares actors have? I looked out at the audience, and they're all like this. I mean, it was strange.

KING: Why did you not immediately react and go on and speak about it? I mean, we called and your wonderful manager is a great lady...

SELLECK: Yes.

KING: ... said, you know, Tom likes your show. He would do anything, but he doesn't want to go on about this.

SELLECK: I really felt I had -- when I go out in the public, it's usually promoting a product I'm in for somebody else who has paid me. And I felt I had an ethical obligation to keep the focus on this movie, as big an event as that came to be. Plus I happened to -- I had done so much publicity for it, I had laryngitis for about a week. I really couldn't talk.

That wasn't an excuse, but I just didn't feel it was appropriate. Rosie is a nice person. You know, I think the problem on the show is more one -- and I think we've all been there, you know -- learning how to handle your success when you get the kind of power that comes with it. KING: You think she has had a difficult time with that?

SELLECK: I don't know. I mean, it -- I think she did that day. I mean, that's the best judge for me. But look, she is a nice person. I just, you know...

KING: Have you talked to her since?

SELLECK: No, no. I mean -- I knew Rosie well enough, where all she had to do was, you know, pick up the phone or say, you know, I'm sorry it went that way. I apologize. But she has never seen fit to do that, so...

KING: Yes. And just if -- you feel it's unfair to be asked about one thing when you're there for another?

SELLECK: Well, she is not a journalist. She is a talk show host.

KING: And it's...

SELLECK: There's a big difference.

KING: It's a daytime variety show.

SELLECK: You know, when you go on a talk show, you now, there's an implied contract that what we're going to do -- there's a certain risk in it -- but what we're going to do is mutually beneficial. It was hard enough going on the show when she had "Star Wars" twice -- incidentally shooting at each other -- all over the front of her desk when I'm promoting this little movie that doesn't have a chance in hell. And I'm -- it's not my movie.

I'm just doing DreamWorks a favor, you know, because I'm in it for about three cups of coffee. So I just didn't think it was appropriate. I didn't -- it took all the focus away from the movie. And DreamWorks, I want a relationship with them. I don't want a reputation as someone who goes out and toots their own horn when they're on someone else's nickel.

KING: So, it's an episode...

SELLECK: But I was a gentleman. And that's what my parents taught me to be, so...

KING: In other words, you didn't walk off?

SELLECK: I didn't walk off.

KING: Think about it?

SELLECK: And I didn't call anybody names. Oh, yeah, I had about eight urges to get up, but...

KING: To get up. Did you ever think of defending...

SELLECK: I did.

KING: ... the NRA position? Let's just say, wait a minute, hold it, and then state your position.

SELLECK: No.

KING: There's a position.

SELLECK: Well, I told her what I thought. I know Rosie works with kids. I work with kids. Regardless of how she feels about gun control, or how I do -- and she mischaracterized my beliefs -- you know, we have a climate that is disturbing to most Americans. And the question we ought to be asking ourselves, in addition to however we feel about guns is, guns were available virtually without restriction a generation or two ago. And we didn't have this kind of culture.

So where is our culture going and what are the other causes? And what can we do to give our kids the means to decide what's right and wrong a little better, and to cope? I don't think our kids cope too well.

KING: What do you think it is, since we're much better educated and the tools around us are so much better?

SELLECK: I don't have the answers. I have got a few questions. But, look, we have a rather toxic brew of electronic media that's certainly a contributor. And I'm not suggesting we do anything in terms -- I don't believe in censorship. My industry, the movie and television industry, is out of balance in that area. I think there's a million things. Any kid who is that disturbed seems to be encouraged to nurse a grievance, as opposed to cope.

And this culture of victimhood, coupled with the rather toxic combination of somebody who does one of these things knows they're going to be the most famous person in the world, is a beginning in terms of what kind of debate do we have?

KING: And it seems to be getting worse, then.

SELLECK: It does seem to be getting worse...

KING: Our guest is...

SELLECK: ... no matter how many gun laws we pass.

KING: Our guest is Tom Selleck, nominated for an Emmy. We'll talk about that. We'll talk about an extraordinary career, and more about "Running Mates." And we'll include your calls. He's our guest for the hour.

Bob Costas tomorrow night.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "RUNNING MATES")

LAURA LINNEY, ACTRESS: What is this? You never bought into Morris. Why are you protecting him?

SELLECK: And why are you provoking him? Morris can walk out of here, drain off enough votes to create a split the party won't survive. And we lose.

LINNEY: Can the rhetoric. You sound just like him.

SELLECK: I thought you were smarter than this.

LINNEY: I was smart enough to get us here.

SELLECK: You see the name? You see the picture? I got us here. You're a hired hand. You're a hired hand. You're good. You're smart, but you work for me.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "FRIENDS")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Hey, Monica, there's a customer here who wants to compliment the chef. Should I let him in?

CORTNEY COX ARQUETTE: Sure, I love this part.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTRESS: Come on in.

SELLECK: Hi.

COX ARQUETTE: Richard.

SELLECK: Actually, I'm not here to compliment the chef.

COX ARQUETTE: Oh, that's okay. I hate when people come back to compliment the chef. Like I have nothing better to do. So what's up?

SELLECK: Well, it was great seeing you the other night.

COX ARQUETTE: Good to see you too. Did you come down here to tell me that?

SELLECK: No. I came here to tell you something else. I came here to tell you I still love you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: You like doing that?

SELLECK: I love doing that show.

KING: Because?

SELLECK: Well, you know, one of the reasons I like particularly doing it this year is, you know, they asked me to come back. And I couldn't tell anybody when I was publicizing it because they asked me to come back for the last two episodes. And I didn't want people to know how many episodes I was doing. But what that meant was they asked me back for what could have been the last two episodes of the show ever. It just kind of meant that I was some small part of their universe, and I made a contribution beyond a piece of stunt casting and that they really felt he was known enough and part of the lives of those characters, because I'm a big fan of the show, and the actors and the writers that, but you know, he would, that I would be asked at that point in time was a big deal for me.

KING: You also, apparently, love comedy.

SELLECK: I love comedy.

KING: Handle it well. You're most successful movie was a comedy.

SELLECK: Yes, well, "Three Men and a Baby."

KING: "Three Men and a Baby," not bad.

SELLECK: We couldn't have done any better. It was the number one movie in the world.

KING: Can't do better than that?

SELLECK: No.

KING: "Magnum PI" certainly had a touch of irony.

SELLECK: As much as we could find. And absolute silliness at times, which I always...

KING: Is comedy more difficult?

SELLECK: Yes, yes. Well, particularly comedy on film.

KING: Where do you find your pace?

SELLECK: Exactly. Although this particular kind of comedy that I just saw on the monitor over there on "Friends," is difficult, too, because you can very easily, you know. It's very much like doing a film. We talk and the camera records it. Well, we're doing the same things on "Friends," except they have an audience there. But I believe if I start playing to that audience, it won't be good on film. You have to stay real, and you can't start pandering to those laughs on the studio. They will laugh.

But hopefully the best thing about "Friends" for me, because I'm not a standup comic, it's a bunch of actors who take an actor's approach to the work, and "Friends" is apt to make you cry as well as laugh, and that's the real key to good comedy.

KING: Why did you not wear the mustache? Why did you shave it off for the Pryce role in "Running Mates?"

SELLECK: Well, Dewey lost and... KING: That's funny.

SELLECK: And nobody else had one, except Taft, I guess, and Roosevelt. And I don't know whether any other candidates did, but it just seemed to me in this century, it would be -- you have baggage, you know, I've been working successfully, worked a lot longer when no one paid me, but I've been working about 20 years now, and you learn as you have a body of work, you have a certain amount of baggage, some that's good, some that's bad. You have to learn when it works for you, and when it doesn't. The mustache in this show would have been a distraction, and...

KING: In other words, that governor wouldn't have had a mustache?

SELLECK: Probably not. Look at all our candidates, nobody seems to. That seemed to be a good enough reason. Although there was a little anxiety. I don't know, maybe it's a Samson thing.

KING: You're known so much, they must have said, hey.

SELLECK: Yes, they won't recognize him. I'm quite comfortable that way because I was born that way. But I'm not sure everybody at the network was. They're happy now, but I think there was a little concern, you know. I kind of gleaned that. So I accidentally shaved it off on a weekend, and said, oh, I didn't know anybody had a problem, so I just showed up.

SELLECK: "Running Mates" has some funny moments, too, I'm told.

KING: A lot of funny moments. I mean, if politics aren't funny, what are they? You know, we take it seriously, we're down the drain.

We'll be right back with more of Tom Selleck.

We'll be taking your calls in a little while, too. Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THREE MEN & A BABY")

SELLECK: Smith, his left eye swollen, and a cut above his right eye, now much more bloody, countered with a barrage of vicious body blows.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: What are you reading her?

SELLECK: It doesn't matter what I read. It's the tone you use. She doesn't understand the words anyway. Now where were we? The champ began the fifth round like a man possessed, going straight for his opponent's body with ferocious energy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "IN & OUT") UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I am not gay.

SELLECK: What was Streisand's eighth album.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: "Color Me Barbra."

SELLECK: Stud.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Everyone knows that.

SELLECK: Everyone where? The little gay bar on the prairie. You know what you need?

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: I need a wedding.

You, you -- you kissed me!

SELLECK: You noticed.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: no mustache there either.

SELLECK: No, it would have gotten in the way, clearly.

KING: All right, now, with all the things you had, you remember that you sued a magazine successfully that had printed things involving you. Why did you take a gay part?

SELLECK: Well, I didn't take a gay part; I took an about part in a movie that was almost completely cast with a great ensemble, although I did get hung up a bit on, you know -- you take a part, and if you took the part, if it's the right part to take, the first thing you do after you jump up and down and say I got the part, is you get scared to death, because you don't know how to do it, and you should be taking risks as an actor. So I wrestled for two, three days with, you know, how am I going to play a gay character? Then I realized that if, on the last movie I did before that, if I wrestled with the same ideas about that role and said after three days, I got it, I know this guy, he's a heterosexual, I'd be nowhere. You know, so I suddenly realized that that was up to the script, and how I was cast, and that's a result, and actors can't play results. So I concentrated on the fact this guy was a unethical journalist, and pretty desperate about his career, and who he was, rather than what he was, and that's actually the same thing I did in "Running Mates," when I started saying, how do I be presidential, you know? It's the same kind of trap for an actor. If you're not presidential, they just cast the movie wrong.

KING: Was the kissing scene tough to do? I mean, we don't do that.

SELLECK: Well, Larry...

KING: No, really? SELLECK: Yes, it was. I mean, I've done other tough things. I've jumped off a roof into a big thing of garbage and stuff. There's a lot of hard things in movies. There is -- there's always a scene when you do a movie, you go I know how to do the rest that stuff, but that scene, you know. Well, this was kind of heightened even a little. This was "that" scene, only a little more so, and I don't know how much anxiety Kevin had about it. The big thing for us was that it didn't -- I knew it would be in clips, you know, but we didn't want to do a stunt. We didn't want to do a stunt that everybody talked about. We wanted it really germane to the movie, and it really is the turnaround for this character. It's a slap in the face kind of kiss, thank God, rather than a passionate one, and we worked real hard at making it part of the movie and not much of a stunt, and then said to Paramount, and Paramount was great, and said, please don't use the clip before the movie comes out, number one, it will ruin the movie, and number two, it will just -- it just sensationalizes it. They didn't. But without Kevin, you know...

KING: He's something to work with, isn't he?

SELLECK: Frank Oz, our director, says to me, we're still wrestling with it that day, you know, and Frank says on the set that morning, he says, I got it, I got it, I know what it is, Tom. This is Cary Grant and Doris Day, and you're Cary Grant, but I think he told Kevin the same thing.

KING: We'll take a break and come back. We'll include your phone calls for Tom Selleck. We'll see him next in "Running Mates" on TNT, August 13.

Don't go away.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: We're back. No matter what else he does, a lots of people will always think of Thomas Sullivan "Magnum" of "Magnum PI." A small sample:

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MAGNUM PI")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: You are good.

` SELLECK: Thank you.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: How much fun was that?

SELLECK: I don't remember that moment, but the show was fun.

KING: Even got Sinatra to do it.

SELLECK: Well, you know, he volunteered.

KING: I know. He loved that show. He told me he loved that show. SELLECK: He said, "I want to your show," and I didn't take him seriously, and he kept pursuing it. You had Carol Burnett, a great friend, so many people.

KING: How many years that was show on?

SELLECK: Eight years, 163 hours.

KING: Still showing, right?

SELLECK: It's in 100-some countries. It's real successful, thank goodness.

KING: Aurora, Ontario, we include phone calls for Tom Selleck. You'll see him on "Running Mates" on TNT, hello. Hello? Is somebody there? Hello?

CALLER: Hi, Tom.

KING: Speak up.

CALLER: Hello?

SELLECK: Hi, we here hear you.

CALLER: Go ahead.

KING: Go ahead.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Go ahead. We hear you.

CALLER: Hi, Tom.

SELLECK: Hi, how you doing?

CALLER: I don't hear you.

KING: Well, turn your television down, and ask the question?

CALLER: Anyway, big fan of Thomas Magnum. Wondered if you would do an updated version of the character.

KING: OK. Will he return?

SELLECK: Shall I answer? Think she can hear me?

KING: Yes, we'll straighten out the phone. Well, she'll watch on television.

SELLECK: Well, yes, I get asked that question all the time, and the tricky thing about a "Magnum" feature film, which should have been done a long time ago, it can only be done at one studio, Universal. If it was the kind of thing you do with a movie, where you shop it to different studios, it would have been made. KING: They own it?

SELLECK: They own it, and there's been a lot of chaos there, about three owners. And I don't know, I think the ball's in their court. I love -- would the show work? Yes, like I said, we're in like 100 countries.

KING: I mean, would a feature film or a two-hour tele-movie?

SELLECK: A feature film would work, or any movie that you designed, it has to stand on its own, it can't just be a reunion show. I mean, there would be a reunion aspect to it. But who knows, I just love that character.

KING: A great case, and "Magnum" comes back to Hawaii to handle something?

SELLECK: Yes, he has to leave the Navy again, because he went back in the Navy when the show ended. But, you know, that's somebody else's decision. I find -- it's the best role I ever had, because I got to play a changing character for eight years.

KING: Was it a tough show to end?

SELLECK: Yes, it was real emotional. Yes, I had a seven-year deal, which by that time didn't even exist anymore; they were all five-year contracts. So I lived up to my contract, and the head of CBS and Kim LaMasters (ph) and Kerry McClukidge (ph) at Universal both said, Tom, don't announce, we know you're ending it at seven years, but don't announce, you might change your mind. Well, you know, our show was a real family. I knew all our crew, and I knew their families, and I'd come to work every day and everybody would go, what movie is he in? Has he changed his mind? Well, I just caved in about three-quarters. Maybe they were very smart, because "Magnum" -- people should know "Magnum" was not canceled. "Magnum" could have gone for about 15 years, so they wanted every episode they could get, and I just said look, you guys need the plan your life, I kept you in limbo this year, so we did an eighth season.

KING: Why did you leave?

SELLECK: I was tired from it, certainly not of it. But I was doing -- you know, when I got "Magnum," I told a friend of mine who most the business very well, I said, I got this show, and it's got this, you know, it's got this narration and I talk to the audience, and she said, you know what that means, don't you? You're going to be in every shot, because you tell the story. And I went oh, great. Well, that's good until about the middle of the second year, you know, when you're doing 90-hour work weeks and stuff. It was a hard job, maybe the best job I'll ever have. But I don't regret...

KING: Ending it?

SELLECK: Ending it. We went out the number-one show on television the week we went off, and we got -- and we were put into the Smithsonian, and my little goofy hat and my shirt, we're first show to recognize Vietnam veterans in a very positive light, which I'm very proud of.

KING: Maple Shade, New Jersey, I hope you hear us, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Tom.

SELLECK: Hi.

CALLER: Just a quick note, I've been a fan of yours since the men's cologne.

And my question to you is...

SELLECK: The failed men's cologne.

CALLER: Would you ever consider running for a political office?

SELLECK: Oh, I don't think so. I just played one on TV.

KING: Why not? Why not? You're certainly involved.

SELLECK: Well, I like being involved as a citizen, but you know, as a public figure, and I don't know how you think about this, Larry, but I know what it's like. I didn't have to prepare in this movie to know what it's like to get out of a limo and have flash bulbs go off and stuff. But I have worked very hard to keep my family life private. What we do to our politicians, we turn it up about three or four more notches. I wouldn't do that. I don't know why anybody does it, really. First of all, I'm an actor, and there's a lot of roles I still want the play. And second of all, it's just -- it doesn't interest me like acting does.

KING: Woodbridge, Virginia, hello.

CALLER: Yes, hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Tom.

SELLECK: Hi.

CALLER: How are you doing?

SELLECK: Well, I'm doing good.

CALLER: Quick note -- thank you for helping the Vietnam vets be portrayed as real people instead of just crazy people.

SELLECK: Well, thank you very much. I appreciate that.

KING: Do you have a question? CALLER: Yes, my question is, considering the animosity between the two of them, do you think it would be possible for McCain to say yes to George W. as his running mate?

SELLECK: God, I'm like a pundit.

(CROSSTALK)

SELLECK: I think it's imminently possible. I mean, first of all, you have to realize, that we have a media, and I'm part of it, that wants to create a lot of heat and not shed a lot of light. So any disagreements these two fine men might have had, I don't think maybe are quite as big as people think. I think that has to be played up, and like all our candidates, I think they're citizens first, and when called upon, I don't see any reason why they wouldn't.

KING: Bradley might run with Gore?

SELLECK: That would be a great race, wouldn't it?

KING: Gore and Bradley against Bush and McCain, all the four we've come to know and love.

SELLECK: Yes, exactly.

KING: We'll be back with more of Tom Selleck, "Running Mates" on TNT, August 13, on the eve of the Democratic Convention.

Bob Costas and Harvey McKay tomorrow night, the man who swam with the sharks.

Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, AUGUST 15, 1988)

SELLECK: I've had the good fortune to serve the first lady in the fight against drugs. And on a personal level, she helped me overcome my fear of dancing with the Princess of Wales.

(LAUGHTER)

SELLECK: And I am proud to call Nancy my friend.

Ladies and gentlemen, the first lady of the United States.

(APPLAUSE)

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "THE DATING GAME")

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Standing 6'4, it's reasonable and correct to surmise that bachelor number two is an outstanding varsity basketball player. He plans to enter the world of business along administrative lines. He is from Detroit, Michigan. We'd like you to meet Tom Selleck.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Number two, if you were to apply for a mail-order bride, how would the order read?

SELLECK: Reasonably tall, good looking, good personality, and not too inhibited.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: did she pick you?

SELLECK: No. Pretty witty, though, wasn't it?

KING: What do you mean businessman? Where was that?

SELLECK: I was in business at USC, studying business administration.

KING: You were a college student?

SELLECK: Yes, a bad one, but yes, I was. I wasn't real motivated in business. I don't think I ever got higher than a C in my major. Don't tell my kids that.

KING: Why did you go on that show?

SELLECK: Everybody else was. You know, everybody at school, at SC, it became like a thing. In fact, I hate to tell them, but a lot of friends of mine made up goofy stories with their girlfriends, and made up this whole scenario, and then they'd go on the show, and they'd put somebody in the audience, and they would point them out. I did not do that. I just lost.

KING: Why did you decide, by the way, to wear a mustache?

SELLECK: I have no idea. I mean, I'm a child of the '60s.

KING: Because you've done soap operas.

SELLECK: We were experimenting.

KING: I know. But did you wear a mustache when you were in "Myra Breckinridge?"

SELLECK: No.

KING: Did you wear one in the soap opera?

SELLECK: I think I had one -- yes, I did have one, because they actually wrote a scene where I shaved it off. I had to shave it off for a pilot I was doing, a World War II pilot, and I was in the soap opera "Young & Restless," so they wrote a scene where they -- it was very complicated. They had to make me a phony mustache, so I showed up with the phony mustache, and then you always -- the male characters on that show always did everything the women said. So she says, go shave off your mustache, and I think I said, OK. And I go in there, and I ripped off the mustache. and these days it was almost live. So I had to get this thing off and get the glue off, and yes.

KING: You were on "Young & the Restless," that was the show?

SELLECK: I was on "Young & Restless," never that much, always enough. I was on, like, about three days a month.

KING: How did they cast you? What kind of person were you?

SELLECK: I was her aggressive boyfriend, Laurie Brooks' aggressive boyfriend. And what they did, and they were very smart, is they cast people for like a day in a show, with the idea they'd cast people that might be regulars, but that's the way they'd audition you, but see, I knew that, so it made me kind of scared.

KING: You were also on "The Rockford Files," right?

SELLECK: Oh, yes.

KING: Jim Donnor (ph).

SELLECK: That was the best, because I'd don't like three or four leads in pilots for series that hadn't sold, and I was sure I was going to get a shot sooner or later. And to be in that position at that time and work with Jim was the best. People should take star lessons from the guy, and I did. And I just a just watched him, and both as an actor, and as a person, and as, you know, leads -- it actually involves leadership, and he taught me that.

KING: North Haven, Connecticut, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Tom.

I'm a huge fan. Congratulations on your Emmy nomination.

SELLECK: Oh, thank you.

CALLER: Yes. And I want to know what actress have you not worked with that you would absolutely love to work with in the future?

SELLECK: Oh, boy, I don't want to list them. Meryl Streep came to mind really quick, though. She hasn't called me, though.

KING: Why this love of horses? You've done Louis L'Amour things, right?

SELLECK: Yes, and I don't know. I didn't...

KING: You're doing one for TNT.

SELLECK: Yes, I have a Western, "All in the Can," that I produced, which is a Louis L'Amour piece called "Crossfire Trail."

KING: You're in it and produced it.

SELLECK: I am in it and produced it.

KING: Did you ride horses when you were at SC?

SELLECK: No, I'm a valley guy. I grew up in the San Fernando Valley, and in a little housing tract. And I don't know. I grew up on cowboy movies, and I have a ranch now, and I have horses, and I have that lifestyle. But it's something I thought I might want, and I'm glad I was right about it, because I bought a nice ranch, and I would have been stuck with it.

KING: Love a lot of different horses?

SELLECK: Just quarter horses, nothing fancy. I don't own horses to show them. I get seen enough in public. So most of that stuff is just kind of a way for me to be private, and alone, and my daughter rides horses, and my wife does. So I don't have, like, fancy show horses.

KING: Do you have any fear when you see what happens to Christopher Reeve and Don Imus.

SELLECK: Oh sure, but you know, risk is the price you pay for opportunity, and I'm sure Chris might say that. What a great guy. Yes, I worry, I worry when my daughter rides. But I don't -- look, you can't protect your kids completely, or they're not going to grow up and do without you, and that's why we raise them.

KING: Back with more of Tom Selleck on LARRY KING LIVE, after this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "QUIGLEY DOWN UNDER")

SELLECK: I'm new here. So I ain't rightly certain. Is everybody in this country as butt ugly as you three?

(END VIDEO CLIP)

KING: We're back with the valley guy, Tom Selleck.

I heard of valley girls. You're a valley guy? From Grant High School, in Sherman Oaks, knew the Huskies of North Hollywood High, where my wife went.

SELLECK: Hey. The cutest girls. Actually, we're not of the same generation, I don't want you to get the wrong idea. But cutest the girls when I want to Grant went there.

KING: Still true.

For Endicott, New York, hello.

CALLER: Hi, Larry.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi, Tom.

SELLECK: Hi. CALLER: Hi. I just want to say quickly, that you're a very -- you seem like a very down-to-earth person, and are you excellent in comedy, so you say it's difficult. I don't feel it is, in my eyes, when I've seen you on screen. My question for you is -- and I have to say that I'm sad to say that, well, that actually you're not single. I'd like to know more about your wife. You said you have a daughter. Do you have more than one, or how many children?

SELLECK: I have two children. I have a 31-year-old son, who's made me a grandfather.

KING: From a first marriage, right?

SELLECK: From my first marriage. And I had them 21 years apart, so I can handle it, and my daughter is 11.

KING: You're a grandfather?

SELLECK: I'm a grandfather of three lovely grand children, yes.

KING: What does you your son do?

SELLECK: He's a musician, go figure. You know, he's got his degree. He was an All-American volleyball player at SC, national champ, and went back to his music, and is with a group called Tonic, who's first album went platinum, and then he wasn't seeing his family enough, pretty good kid, and left the group to stay home.

KING: And does now what?

SELLECK: Is forming a new group.

KING: That's real nice.

SELLECK: Yes. I'm proud.

KING: And what it's like with a little daughter at 11?

SELLECK: Well, it's good, except...

KING: Does she own you?

SELLECK: She owns me and we've made pacts, you know, this dating thing. She's not going to do it until she's 40...

(LAUGHTER)

... then I'm out of the picture.

KING: Your wife, was she an actress?

SELLECK: Jillie is an actress I met when she was doing "Cats." I was doing a picture in London.

KING: How can you meet someone in "Cats"? They're all in disguise. SELLECK: I kept going. I went like eight, 8 1/2 times, because I was late one time.

KING: Who was she playing?

SELLECK: Rumpelteazer. You should know that.

KING: I mean, I know the show, but I mean...

(CROSSTALK)

... fell in love with Rumpelteazer.

SELLECK: Oh, yes, you could. I mean, it was a cute little cat. No, I don't want to make hand gestures.

KING: OK. Houstonville, Kentucky, hello.

CALLER: Hello.

KING: Hi.

CALLER: Hi. Hi, Tom.

SELLECK: Hi.

CALLER: How are you?

SELLECK: I'm good tonight.

CALLER: I just want to ask you what your favorite movie is that you have done.

KING: Quigley Down Under.

SELLECK: Well, that's one of them, certainly. I mean, I've got -- I've got favorites for different reasons. I mean, "Three Men and a Baby" changed my life, because, you know, at the time they were saying, "Can he graduate from TV to movies?" and it was the No. 1 movie in the world. And then I always wanted to have a professional baseball player, so I got to play one in "Mr. Baseball." And then "Quigley," I always wanted to be in a big Western and "Quigley" is. And...

KING: And that's a cult film now, right?

SELLECK: Well, it's actually starting to make some ten best Western lists. I'm very proud of it, and...

KING: It wasn't a success as a movie?

SELLECK: It got released by that barber, that Italian barber who owned MGM?

(LAUGHTER) He released it for about a month and then pulled it out just to get some money. I don't know what happened. But yes, it got a terrible release, which they never count when they do all these scorecards.

But it just got in video and all the markets, it's just -- you can't find it in a videostore. It's just always rented, and I get response from people everywhere I go about "Quigley," and I'm very proud of that.

KING: And we'll be back with our remaining moments with Tom Selleck. You'll see him next on August 13th when TNT premieres "Running Mates." Don't go away.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, "MR. BASEBALL")

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING IN JAPANESE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He tells me it's decided that you are fined 50,000 yen for disobeying your manager on the field.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING IN JAPANESE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: Also 10,000 for disrespect to equipment.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING IN JAPANESE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He wants to know what's the second one is for.

SELLECK: That's for the next time.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING IN JAPANESE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: He wonders when the next time will be.

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (SPEAKING IN JAPANESE)

UNIDENTIFIED ACTOR: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) remind you you're hitting off the front foot and your top hand must come over more.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

KING: One more quick call. Indian Harbor Beach, Florida, hello.

CALLER: Hello. Hi, Tom.

SELLECK: Hi.

CALLER: I'm a big fan of your work.

SELLECK: Thank you.

CALLER: I wanted to know if "Three Men and a Baby" was offered to you, would you do another picture?

SELLECK: Oh, yes. I have no idea why not. You know, I'm very fond of Ted and Steve, and we got along so well, and I think it showed on screen. Yes, in a heartbeat.

KING: Why didn't they do anything with that again?

SELLECK: I have no idea.

(LAUGHTER)

KING: How...

SELLECK: I mean, I don't know. It would have gotten a little silly if they did, you know, "three men and a 55-year-old daughter."

KING: How did you like working with a baby? They were twins, right?

SELLECK: Well, I liked it. You know, yes. But it was neat because it's not like the babies read the script but they -- you rehearsed with a doll, and you get the scene all right. And you forget that the center of the universe is about to be in the scene when the cameras go. And this baby comes in and everything changes. And as soon as you get used to that, it's really great improvisational work and really fun.

KING: How did you handle all that sex symbol thing? I mean, you knew that...

SELLECK: I was always kind of -- yes, I knew they -- somebody thought I was.

KING: Yes. Did it embarrass you or...

SELLECK: Well, the 17-year-old inside of me really didn't think I was, because the 17-year-old was afraid to ask girls out. And I don't think that little person ever leaves you, you know. It's the same...

KING: So you -- you didn't look in the mirror and say, "I am God's gift to women"?

SELLECK: No, I didn't.

KING: Did not. But people felt that way about you. And how did it make you react?

SELLECK: I was always a little embarrassed. I never knew how to -- I'd hem and haw and qualify like I'm doing now. I'd go, well, yes, but come on, that's -- and I just finally said, well, that's a result on somebody else and I'm flattered that they feel that way, but I better not believe it.

It's like the polls, you know, that you're in. You're the person of the universe, and then the next year you're not. And if you believe you're the person of the universe, what happens when you're not?

KING: How do you think "Running Mates" will be received?

SELLECK: Well, we worked our little okoles (ph) off as we say in Hawaii to get in between the two conventions. I think -- first of all, it's a good movie. I wouldn't shill it if I didn't believe that.

KING: I know that.

SELLECK: And it fits in between the conventions and it says something important and it's funny. So I think people will want to see it. That's what we're counting on. And TNT's been great. They're really promoting it, and people are going to know it's there for the (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

KING: They're good people.

SELLECK: Yes.

KING: So are you.

SELLECK: Thanks, Larry.

KING: Tom Selleck, nominated for an Emmy as guest actor in a comedy series for "Friends," plays a presidential nominee in a new TNT movie "Running Mates" that premieres August 13th on our sister network.

Tomorrow night, Bob Costas: Selleck guested with Costas, and they had a whole lot of fun doing baseball one night. Costas will be with us tomorrow night. So will Harvey McKay. And next week, we'll be in Washington and Philadelphia, and after that, in New York, as we head east for the Republican National Convention.

Thanks for joining us. Have a great weekend, and good night.

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