R.I.P. Roger E. Mosley, helicopter pilot Theodore ‘T.C.’ Calvin in Magnum, P.I.

He also fought Muhammad Ali in ‘The Greatest’ and played folksinger Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter.

The Everett Collection

Roger E. Mosley, a constant presence on TV and film throughout the 1970s who then starred in over 150 episodes of Magnum, P.I., has died at the age of 83. His career lasted five decades, including cameos in the new Magnum, P.I. (as a different character) in recent years.

Mosley was born December 18, 1938 in the Watts neighborhood of Los Angeles. Though he never lived far from Hollywood, he didn’t break into the industry until his early thirties, playing small roles in shows like Cannon, Night Galley, Sanford and Son and The Sixth Sensethe short-lived 1972 TV show, not the unrelated 1999 movie.

It wasn’t long before his talents were seen on the big screen in movies like The Mack, McQ, The Greatest and The River Niger. In 1976, Mosley starred as Huddie Ledbetter in the biopic Leadbelly, which Roger Ebert called “one of the best biographies of a musician I've ever seen.” It followed the turbulent life of the folk singer behind “The Midnight Special” and other classic songs.

Though Mosley played occasional guest starring roles in shows like The Rockford Files and Starsky and Hutch, he thought of himself more as a movie actor. His costar from the 1973 film Terminal Island, Tom Selleck, suggested Mosley for a part in a new show set in Hawaii. Mosley was reluctant to join a series. His agent convinced him to go get paid to have fun in Hawaii and then come back to movies in L.A. because there was no way the show would get picked up.

“Tom Selleck has made about five pilot shows … and none of them has sold,” Mosley recalled his agent saying. “A show with Tom Selleck always fails.” Well, Selleck may not have had any luck on TV before then, but this new detective show would become the long-running Eighties hit Magnum, P.I.

Mosley played helicopter pilot Theodore “T.C.” Calvin, Thomas Magnum’s friend and convenient ride around the islands. Mosley was a licensed helicopter pilot in real life but didn’t do any of his own flying stunts on the series. He did help shape the character in many other ways, though.

T.C. was meant to be broke, but Mosley wanted his character to be a role model, so the writers changed Island Hoppers from a struggling business to a very successful one. Mosley also repeatedly resisted any attempts to get his character to drink or smoke.

After Magnum, P.I., Mosley played Coach Ricketts in ten episodes of Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, appeared in two episodes of Night Court and starred in the Martin Lawrence movie (which Lawrence also directed) A Thin Line Between Love and Hate.

Mosley also acted in the Patrick Swayze thriller Letters from a Killer and shows like Walker, Texas Ranger and The District. His role as John Booky in two episodes of the Magnum, P.I. reboot were his last onscreen appearances.

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judaslioness1 22 months ago
OMG! I didn't know actor Roger Mosely wasnt with us any longer. I really appreciated his talent and the roles he played. He just seemed to fit the characters he played just perfect. God Rest His Soul! A great talent that will be very well missed.
RichLorn 23 months ago
Magnum PI was supposed to be a derivative of Selleck's laudable 2 appearances on The Rockford Files as Lance White. Other than both Selleck characters being PI's I don't see any connection.
mmradiantsun 23 months ago
RIP Paul Sorvino. You were a great actor. I watched so many of the TV shows and movies. Prayers and condolences to your family,and friends.
mmradiantsun 23 months ago
Rip RogerE Mosley. Great actor. Condolences to your family and friends.
Steve2021 23 months ago
This was the first intro music of Magnum. Kinda cheezie ......
Steve2021 23 months ago
RIP TC, You were my favorite on Magnum.
Yvette 23 months ago
Wow 83 yrs old, I had no idea he seemed forever youthful. R. I.P.
Roger Mosley 🌷.
judaslioness1 Yvette 22 months ago
He sure did. That was one Brotha who took care of himself. This is why it baffles me how he left us so soon. I was sure to think he wouldn't expire until at least late 90's.
SteveMcnary 23 months ago
I remember him as Electric Larry on The Rockford Files.
eddiecantorfan 23 months ago
Rest In Peace
Roger E. Mosley
Magnum PI
327053 23 months ago
My wife and I were watching Magnum last night and I decided to look up some info on Roger. It just so happened that the first thing I saw was that he passed due to injuries sustained in the accident 😔
We were both shocked. This gentleman was a cool tough dude as well as humorous. We will always enjoy his work on Magnum as well as his other projects 🙏🏻
MrsPhilHarris 23 months ago
I think I saw maybe two episodes of Magnum.
Zip 23 months ago
I only ever knew him as T.C. on Magnum P.I.
He was an awesome character and actor. I always enjoyed his interactions with Magnum, and their many arguments over this and that(usually gas money for his chopper).
Sway 23 months ago
Sad. Always like him as Tc in Magnum PI. didn't know he was a helicopter pilot for real. How cool!
R.I.P. Roger E Mosley.
JERRY6 23 months ago
RIP what a loss , loved him as TC was nice to see him show up on the new Magnum series As with most remakes the new show lacks the chemistry of the original , there ca only be one TC r Rick and Magnum .. They should have made a new show Higgins PC
Maverick66 23 months ago
Another actor from one of my favorite shows is gone. So long, Roger E. Mosley.
DethBiz 23 months ago
RIP. Will always remember his appearance in Sanford and Son and the Watch Bear. Funny stuff!!!
texasluva 23 months ago
I always liked watching Magnum, P.I and Roger E. Mosley as T.C. In fact every time I see Mike Tomlin the coach of the Pittsburg Steelers I call him T.C. R.I.P. sir.
cperrynaples 23 months ago
Please let us not forget Clu Gulager! He was on Bonanza and The Virginian and starred as Billy The Kid on The Tall Men!
Pacificsun cperrynaples 23 months ago
Meaning, he's died at 93 years, wonderful work in Westerns! Individual personality.

Unfortunately another obituary rose to the top, about a pop singer in guest starring roles and in movies. I would say Clu and Roger certainly deserve their recognition for classic television performances.
Michael Pacificsun 23 months ago
When deaths come close together, it's hard to give each one full respect.

Pokey died tonight. Two months short of his 16th birthday. For a Labrador, that's old. He lived a long life because of the fun he had.
Pacificsun Michael 23 months ago
Not that I "liked" your comment, but to catch your attention.

Like with people we grieve their loss and celebrate what they gave us. Hand in hand.
AnnieM Michael 23 months ago
I'm sorry for your loss, Michael. We lost Belle, our Beagle earlier this year to heart disease; she was only 9 years old.
Pacificsun 23 months ago
Roger E. Mosley added great chemistry to the Magnum P.I. ensemble. He 𝙬𝙖𝙨 a role model, and wonder how many young guys were encouraged to become helicopter pilots, especially since he had his own license. How cool is that!

Condolences to his family, with appreciation for the entertainment which he brought to so many fans!!
Runeshaper 23 months ago
R.I.P. Roger E. Mosley. Great story.
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