- Richard Hatch, Battlestar Galatica, TV, 1978-79. In the running for Captain Apollo (like two other future TV icons David Hasselhoff, Don Johnson). Then, rather like Dirk Benedict becoming Starbuck, Hatch was all signed up literally hours before shooting began. He’s the only Galatican appearing in both the original and rebooted series, 2004-2009.
- Robert Urich, Vega$, TV, 1978-81. Selleck and Urich once co-starred in Bunco, a 1977 TV pilot. Now, Tom didn’t want to go down mean streets anew (after Magnum PI), Urich didn’t mind (after Spenser). Selleck returned to law enforcement as ex-homicide dick Jesse Stone hiding out as police chief of the small New England town of Paradise, in four tele-films, 2005-2007.
- Dirk Benedict, Ruckus, 1981. Too big! Writer-director Max Kleven considered Selleck for the lead but felt that, at 1.92m, he was too magnum-isized. The ex- Battlestar Galactica star was 1.80m.
- Roger Moore, Cannonball Run, 1981. Which is the bigger laugh: a lookalike 007 or lookalike Magnum? Bond won. Tom remained close to Cannonballer Burt Reynolds, producing Burt’s would-be comeback TV series, BJ Stryker, 1989-90.
- Harrison Ford, Raiders of the Lost Ark, 1981.
- James Garner, Victor/Victoria, 1982. TV’s Garner-with-a-tash decided he wanted the part - too late! He was locked into his Magnum, PI series - the same contract that lost him Indiana Jones.
- Michael Keaton, Batman, 1989.
- Don Johnson, The Hot Spot, 1990. Robert Mitchum was the matrix of the drifter - and first choice in 1962. Selleck, Kevin Costner, Harrison Ford, Richard Gere, Dennis Quaid, Mickey Rourke, Sam Shepard and Patrick Swayze were later in the mix - opposite Anne Archer, Melanie Griffith, Theresa Russell, Uma Thurman, Debra Winger or ultimately, Virginia Madsen, as the sensuous Dolly - finding sex in car “ more fun than eating cotton-candy barefoot.” Director Dennis Hopper called it “Last Tango In Texas. Real hot, steamy stuff.” Chicago critic Roger Ebert hailed it as “a superior work in an old tradition.” They wuz right!
- John Goodman, Born Yesterday, 1992. Tom fell out when the re-make budget insisted on cutting three high-priced stars to one - Melanie Griffith.
- Eric Roberts, Doctor Who (The Movie), TV, 1996. Hollywood goes Who. Why? For the pilot of a USeries to exhume the BBC science-fiction cult, buried since it ran out of puff after 26 seasons in 1989. As if to prove this was big deal LA in action (!),some 63 actors were listed for Doc8 and a further 71 (well, some were on both lists) for his foe, The Master. Such as James Bond, Dracula, Gandhi, Han Solo, Freddy Krueger, Data, Spock, Jean-Luc Picard and - hey, they’re doctors! - Emmett Brown and Frank-N-Furter. Aka… Timothy Dalton, Christopher Lee, Ben Kingsley, Harrison Ford, Robert Englund, Brett Spiner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, Christopher Lloyd, Tim Curry. And Magnum!
- William Hurt, Lost In Space, 1998. New Line expected a send-up. The casting of Gary Oldman changed the tone from, as Hurt put it, adolescent escapism to an entertainment raising certain issues. Family v technology, workaholism, morality. No wonder it flopped.
- Perry King, Titans, TV, 2000. Passed on Richard (his name in Friends) for the first five of the 13 episodes shot; NBC aired 11 only and then cancelled the series. So, Tom missed having the heart attack while having sex with Yasmin Bleeth!
- Taylor Kitsch, John Carter, 2011. The near-Indy finally got a near-Indy role.... in 1992. When it was called, correctly, Princess of Mars.