Tom Selleck was once rejected as Laverne's date on Laverne & Shirley
They said he looked too much like a certain advertising mascot.
Image: Universal Television
Fans of Laverne & Shirley know that seemingly every trendy actor in the 1970s and 1980s got cast in a guest role, and even some rising stars made early appearances. Big names like Ted Danson, Fred Willard, Jay Leno, Hugh Hefner, Mark Harmon, Eric Idle and many more got cast in the sitcom's run.
In a joint interview with her costar Cindy Williams for the Archive of American Television, Penny Marshall said she only had two criteria for whether or not she cast a male guest star on the show: "Can you lift me? Kiss me? That’s it," she said.
But then Williams erupted into laughter and turned to her old friend, saying, "Remember the time we turned Tom Selleck down?" Marshall laughed along, admitting, "I do!"
So what could it have been that got Selleck turned down, do you think? In the same year Laverne & Shirley debuted, he was good enough for Charlie's Angels, but not for the Shotz Brewery girls.
Williams revealed there was a very specific reason that they both outright rejected Selleck as a good fit as one of Laverne's many dates on the show. It had to do with a certain advertising character that Williams said neither approved of.
"Oh my god, they brought us a picture: We think that this guy would be perfect," Williams said. "And we looked at his picture and said, 'Well, that looks like the Marlboro guy.' And we said no. And it was Tom Selleck."
While Laverne & Shirley was on the air, Selleck's star, of course, quickly rose. He appeared on shows like Taxi and The Rockford Files before being cast in his most famous role as Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. In the 1990s, the dashing leading man leapt to the big screen and had a recurring role on Friends. Today, he remains a star with top billing on the hit show Blue Bloods.
As Marshall and Williams contemplated this casting decision, Williams admitted the young stars whose antics delighted a generation may not have always made the wisest decisions.
When it came to casting Selleck, Williams counted it among various wrong calls they made looking back, saying: "Oh yeah, we made mistakes."