Starring legendary TV heartthrob Tom Selleck in the role of private investigator Thomas Magnum, Magnum, P.I. was one of the most popular TV shows of our childhoods, gracing our TV screens for an impressive eight years between 1980 and 1988. It was recently rebooted, but we obviously prefer the original, thanks in no small part to the awesome cast.
So below, for your retro TV viewing pleasure, we reveal what became of Magnum, P.I.’s lead actors, as well as some of the show’s more memorable guest stars.
Tom Selleck – Thomas Magnum
Tom Selleck’s commitment to Magnum, P.I. infamously prevented him from accepting the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark. Even so, playing Thomas Magnum hardly hindered his career. The show was a huge hit, Selleck won an Emmy for his performance in 1984 and by the seventh season he even served as one of the show’s producers. It also helped him land some major movies, including Three Men and a Baby.
These days, Selleck (who turned 78 in January 2023) is best known for portraying New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in the popular TV police drama Blue Bloods. Outside of work, Selleck currently lives on an avocado ranch in California with his wife Jillie Joan Mack, where he enjoys working outdoors on his 60-acre plot of land.
Roger E. Mosley – T.C.
Theodore ‘T.C.’ Calvin was an old Vietnam buddy of Magnum, who ran his own helicopter tour company Island Hoppers – but spent more time flying Magnum around on cases. T.C. was played by Roger E. Mosley, who had previously appeared in such TV shows such as Starsky & Hutch, Kung Fu, Kojak and The Rockford Files, as well as playing the title role in 1976 music biopic Leadbelly, and starring alongside Muhammad Ali in The Greatest.
Mosley, who believe it or not was a licenced helicopter pilot in real life, was most recently seen making a cameo in the 2018 Magnum P.I. TV reboot. He sadly passed away on 7 August 2022 aged 83, following a car accident.
Larry Manetti – Rick
Another of Magnum’s old war buddies was Larry Manetti’s Orville ‘Rick’ Wright, who ran the King Kamehameha Club. Manetti’s other TV credits include episodes of Battlestar Galactica and Quantum Leap. Like Roger E Mosley, Manetti also popped up in the 2018 Magnum P.I. reboot as Nicky ‘The Kid’ DeMarco, a character he first portrayed in the popular Hawaii Five-O TV reboot.
Manetti has written an autobiography called Aloha Magnum, which tells a number of anecdotes from his time on Magnum, P.I. as well as stories about the time he met Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra and many others. He currently hosts a talk radio show on CRN Digital Talk Radio.
John Hillerman – Higgins
Although Jonathan Quayle Higgins III is a decorated World War II veteran portrayed as something of a cantankerous father figure to Magnum and co, actor John Hillerman was actually quite different. Despite his flawless English accent, the Higgins actor was really from Texas, and having been born in 1932 he didn’t really have that many years on Selleck, Manetti and Mosley.
After Magnum, P.I., Hillerman notched up a few more appearances (including an episode of Murder, She Wrote and A Very Brady Sequel) before retiring in the late 90s. He died of cardiovascular disease at his home in Houston in November 2017, aged 84.
Jeff MacKay – Mac
Making his first appearance as Lieutenant ‘Mac’ MacReynolds in the very first episode of Magnum, P.I., Jeff MacKay would make sporadic appearances throughout the show’s first three seasons as the long-suffering former Navy colleague of Magnum. Although Mac generally provided comic relief, he was central to one of Magnum, P.I.’s darker storylines, when he was murdered in season three episode Did You See the Sunrise?
Despite his character’s death, MacKay wound up making some later appearances in Magnum, P.I., first as a doppelgänger for the late Lieutenant, and later reprising the role in flashback episodes. MacKay went on to appear in several low-budget movies and TV’s JAG before sadly passing away in August 2008 aged just 59, from liver failure.
Jean Bruce Scott – Maggie Poole
Following Mac’s death, his replacement at the local Naval base was Lieutenant Maggie Poole, who was played by Jean Bruce Scott and appeared in ten episodes between 1982 and 1988 (having been promoted to Lieutenant Commander by her later appearances). Scott came to Magnum, P.I. fresh from a two-year run on soap Days of Our Lives. She also had a recurring role on Airwolf (also produced by Magnum, P.I. co-creator Donald P. Bellisario).
Scott’s other 80s TV credits include appearances in such beloved shows as Knight Rider, Matlock and MacGyver. She later returned to soaps, first with a recurring role on Port Charles, then returning to Days of Our Lives in 2012, following which the actress retired from screen work.
Kathleen Lloyd – Carol Baldwin
After first appearing on Magnum, P.I. in 1982 as one-off character Bridget Archer, Kathleen Lloyd returned in 1983 as Carol Baldwin, assistant district attorney and an ally/would-be love interest to Magnum himself. Lloyd would continue to play Baldwin on and off until the show’s end, the character appearing in 20 episodes overall – including the 1988 series finale, Resolutions.
Kathleen Lloyd had already enjoyed some high-profile acting roles, including one alongside screen legends Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson in 1976 western The Missouri Breaks. In the 90s, Lloyd made an uncredited appearance as the mother of Neve Campbell’s character in The Craft. Her last screen credit was in 2004, and she appears to have retired from the industry since.
Lance LeGault – Col. Buck Greene
Lance LeGault may not be the most familiar name off-hand, but back in the 80s he was one of the premiere TV antagonists. Before coming to Magnum, P.I., LeGault appeared on The A-Team as Colonel Decker, the man charged with bringing the A-Team down. Then, after first appearing in a 1981 Magnum, P.I. episode as an FBI agent, LeGault later made nine appearances as Colonel Buck Greene, a Navy Intelligence officer frequently at loggerheads with former Navy man Magnum.
LeGault enjoyed a long career, starting in the early 60s as a stunt double for Elvis Presley. His 70s/80s credits included TV’s Wonder Woman, The Incredible Hulk, Dynasty and Knight Rider, plus roles in the movies Stripes and Iron Eagle. LeGault continued to work until his untimely death from heart failure in 2012. His final film, Prince Avalanche (in which he appeared alongside Paul Rudd and Emile Hirsch), was dedicated to his memory.
Kwan Hi Lim – Lt. Yoshi Tanaka
Magnum’s cases inevitably involved some overlap with local law enforcement, hence the private investigator often crossed paths with police officer Lt Yoshi Tanaka, played by Kwan Hi Lim. After being introduced in 1982 episode Try to Remember, Tanaka returned in 26 episodes of Magnum, P.I., making his last appearance in 1987 episode Tigers Fan.
Off-camera, Kwan Hi Lim was a real-life lawyer in Honolulu. He came to Magnum, P.I. after working on earlier Hawaii-based detective series, Hawaii Five-O, on which he played numerous roles between 1970 and 1980. Post-Magnum, Kwan made only a few more minor film and TV appearances before quietly retiring in the early 90s. He passed away in 2008 aged 86.
Elisha Cook Jr. – Francis ‘Ice Pick’ Hofstetler
Elisha Cook Jr appeared as Francis ‘Ice Pick’ Hofstetler in 13 episodes of Magnum, P.I. By contrast with a lot of the show’s recurring characters, Ice Pick’s primary relationship wasn’t with Magnum himself, but with Larry Manetti’s Rick. An old Chicago mobster, Ice Pick had something of a paternal relationship with Rick, whose links to the criminal underworld were a recurring theme in the series.
Elisha Cook Jr. came to Magnum, P.I. in his 80s with well over 200 credits to his name, including The Big Sleep, The Maltese Falcon, House on Haunted Hill and Rosemary’s Baby, and Ice Pick proved to be his final role. After appearing in Magnum, P.I.’s 1988 series finale, Cook retired from acting, and passed away in 1995 at the ripe old age of 91.