Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Whatever Happened To The Cast Of Magnum, P.I.?

The crime dramas of today owe a lot to their forebearers, especially the '80s offering Magnum, P.I. With an eight-year run on television and an award-winning opening theme, Magnum, P.I. helped to define a genre, and its memory even spawned a recent reboot starring Jay Hernandez in the titular role. Of course, mystery shows were a dime a dozen in the '80s, with series in the CBS roster like the cozy Murder, She Wrote and the oft-comedic Simon & Simon (two shows that crossed over with Magnum, P.I.), among many others of their ilk. 

But what set Magnum, P.I. apart for many viewers — aside from its idyllic Hawaiian setting and Magnum's instantly recognizable Hawaiian shirt/baseball cap combo — was its cast. It's been over 30 years since Magnum, P.I. aired its final episode, but it's never too late to go back and appreciate the lives of the actors who helped to bring this fun, intense crime series to life for millions of eager fans. From its leading man to the supporting characters, here's what happened to the cast of Magnum, P.I.

Tom Selleck has been keeping busy since Magnum, P.I.

Magnum, P.I. would be simply impossible without the titular Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV, Vietnam war veteran turned private investigator. Tom Selleck, sporting an exquisitely '80s mustache, helmed the role of this other Tom with panache, likely utilizing his own experiences as a member of the California National Guard during the Vietnam War, in conjunction with a healthy dose of rakish charm. 

Though Magnum remains Tom Selleck's best-known and most recognizable role, he'd been acting for many years prior in both television and film. And post-P.I., Selleck has continued acting consistently, most recently as Frank Reagan in the CBS series Blue Bloods. He's also written and starred in several Jesse Stone films based on the novels by Robert B. Parker. Outside of acting, however, Selleck manages to keep himself equally busy. Screenplays aren't his only outlet for writing. The 74-year-old actor is currently penning his memoirs, covering his 50-year career, as well as his life outside of the spotlight. Plus, up until September 2018, Selleck served as a member of the Board of Directors for the National Rifle Association.

Roger E. Mosley has disappeared from the news

One of Magnum's close compatriots in his investigations is helicopter charter pilot Theodore Calvin, affectionately known as "T.C." The beloved character was played by the now mostly-retired Roger E. Mosley. Mosley had been acting for nearly a decade before landing this role, though mostly as one-off characters in TV series, with the occasional film role sprinkled into his filmography. Though the bulk of his acting ended in 2010 after taking fewer and fewer roles, he made a special appearance as barber John Booky on the Magnum, P.I. reboot, surely providing longtime fans of his original role a sense of amused satisfaction as he bequeathed wisdom onto the new series' T.C., Stephen Hill. 

Mosley's personal life is less in the news these days than the more famous Selleck, but it's impressive to note that at the time of shooting Magnum, P.I., Mosley was actually a licensed helicopter pilot in real life! These days, at 80 years old, Mosley seems to be living in relative obscurity after a long and productive career, hopefully enjoying his retirement to its fullest.

Larry Manetti explored his passion for food

Orville Wilbur Richard "Rick" Wright, owner of the King Kamehameha Club frequented by Magnum, was played by Larry Manetti. Manetti, who'd previously had recurring roles on series like Black Sheep Squadron and Battlestar Galactica, is certainly best known for playing Rick, former war buddies with Selleck's Magnum and Robert E. Mosley's T.C. Manetti continued acting up through 2016, having played on CBS' recent reboot of Hawaii Five-O as Nicky Demarco, a star from the '80s who excels at living the island life — even when it's riddled with crime. 

In addition to acting, Manetti is the author of Aloha Magnum, detailing his experiences on the set of Magnum, P.I. He's also the host of his own radio show on CRN Talk Radio, and he claims that he's working on writing a cookbook, born out of his Italian heritage and love of cooking. It seems appropriate that an actor known for his role as the owner of a Hawaiian club once had his hand in a real-life restaurant, the Black Orchid. He opened it with Tom Selleck and Denver Broncos owner Pat Bowlen in 1988, although they sold the place in 1992.

John Hillerman was a respected actor long before Magnum, P.I.

No relationship on Magnum, P.I. was as intriguing to fans as that between Magnum and John Hillerman's Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, the caretaker of Robin's Nest, where Magnum leads his leisurely lifestyle. Magnum and Higgins start out the series at odds, with Higgins's buttoned-up attitude playing as a sharp contrast to Magnum's beer-swigging, cap-wearing laxness. But in time, it's clear that the two have formed a begrudging respect for each other, and that's in no small way the result of Hillerman's fine acting abilities, as proven by his 1987 Primetime Emmy Award and his 1982 Golden Globe Award for his work on the show. 

Already a good deal older than his co-stars, Hillerman brought British sophistication to the show, despite actually hailing from Texas! Hillerman, who only started his screen career in 1970 (though he had extensive theater experience before that), had his fair share of roles in what are now considered seminal films, such as The Last Picture Show, ChinatownPaper Moon, and the irreverent Mel Brooks satire Blazing Saddles. Hillerman remained in Hollywood after Magnum, P.I., though he never took on any roles that suited him quite as well as Higgins. He retired in the late '90s, with his last acting credit being Dr. Whitehead in A Very Brady Sequel. He died in 2017, at the age of 84.

Kwan Hi Lim had a legal career after leaving the show

It's the nature of private investigators to get tangled up with the police at times, and for that purpose, Maui-born Korean-American actor Kwan Hi Lim stepped up to the proverbial plate as Lieutenant Yoshi Tanaka. Already a regular on Magnum, P.I.'s CBS predecessor Hawaii Five-O, where he generally played villain characters, Lim finally had a chance to portray a character equal to the protagonist, in his skill, laid-back demeanor, and his love of the Detroit Tigers

Magnum and Tanaka enjoy a camaraderie from season two through Tanaka's murder at the outset of season eight — which Magnum obviously must solve. Though Lim had a couple roles after Magnum, P.I., acting was something he picked up more as a hobby than a career, and he had no formal training. Originally an attorney, Lim worked as a family court per-diem judge before retiring in the early '90s. He passed away in 2008, at the age of 86.

Jeff MacKay transformed himself after the series

Character actor Jeff MacKay played Magnum's buddy Mac, a lieutenant for the Office of Naval Intelligence. Unfortunately, the character meets his demise amidst all the crime-fighting action, but MacKay came back to the show as both Mac's ghost and as Mac's mysterious look-alike, a con man and ex-Navy pilot named Jim Bonnick. Talk about a plot twist.

MacKay's filmography is extensive, mostly full of guest roles in various television series. He appeared on multiple series, such as Black Sheep Squadron, Battlestar Galactica, and later on, JAG. He also did voice work as Fireflight in the original Transformers cartoon series. However, before Magnum, P.I., MacKay got his lucky break through his quite famous cousin, Robert Redford, who helped him secure a role in the 1976 film drama All the President's Men. Sadly, MacKay died of liver failure very young, at the age of 59 in 2008.

Kathleen Lloyd left the spotlight a long time ago

What's a TV show about private investigators without an attorney? Kathleen Lloyd played the recurring role of assistant district attorney Carol Baldwin, a good friend of Magnum's who tries to no avail to pursue a romance with him. Before taking on the role of Carol, Lloyd made a guest appearance in an earlier episode as a one-off character, Bridget Archer. 

Lloyd had a couple large roles before landing the part of Carol Baldwin, including playing opposite big stars Marlon Brando and Jack Nicholson in the Western The Missouri Breaks. Younger audiences might recognize her post-P.I. roles such as Bonnie's mother in The Craft or her short-lived appearances in cult hits or afternoon television shows like Babylon 5, The Practice, and 7th Heaven. She seems to not have acted in any television or film work since 2004, keeping her personal life personal and hopefully enjoying her retirement after nearly 35 years in the industry.

Elisha Cook Jr. had been in several classic movies before Magnum, P.I.

Though the role of Francis "Ice Pick" Hofstetler is fairly small, actor Elisha Cook Jr. was perhaps the biggest star of the entire Magnum, P.I. cast (outside of Selleck), having a career that even then had already spanned decades with its start in 1930. Plus, Cook had roles in some of the biggest films of Hollywood's early era, including in The Big Sleep, Shane, and the classic horror film Rosemary's Baby.

In Magnum, P.I., Cook's "Ice Pick" is part of the Chicago underground, but he also has a role as a father figure to Larry Manetti's Rick Wright. Cook was already close to 80 years old when he started on Magnum, P.I, and as such, it isn't surprising to note that he doesn't have any notable screen work after that (though his prodigious career pre-P.I. surely makes up for that). In 1995, the then-91 year-old Cook passed away from a stroke — the last remaining survivor of the cast of The Maltese Falcon.

Jean Bruce Scott has focused on soaps and the stage

After Jeff MacKay's character met his untimely demise, Jean Bruce Scott stepped in to take Mac's place as Lieutenant (and later Lieutenant Commander) Maggie Poole, a character with a strong moral compass who aids Magnum in his investigative work because of her powerful desire to serve justice, even at the risk of her own job.

In the midst of her work on Magnum, P.I., Scott also starred as Texas Highway Patrol helicopter pilot Caitlin O'Shannessy in Airwolf. She continued acting on screen after Magnum, P.I., including regular roles on Port Charles and Days of Our Lives, and as of 2007, she's been working extensively in theater. She notably worked with Native Voices at the Autry, developing and producing countless plays written by Native American playwrights. With that as her focus, it seems she has retired from acting, and is instead aiding a new generation of actors and writers in finding their way to the stage.

Lance LeGault relied on his voice after Magnum, P.I.

Equally important as a cadre of allies is at least one nemesis, and Magnum's big bad is Colonel Buck Greene, a Marine Corps aviator and intelligence officer played by Lance LeGault. After a handful of appearances on Magnum, P.I., LeGault would earn more notoriety for his role as Colonel Decker on The A-Team, keeping his fictional military rank even as he switched series. 

LeGault got his acting career started as Elvis Presley's uncredited stunt double in several films of the 1960s, and later, he went on to play roles in several productions alongside Magnum, P.I. co-stars, such as in Airwolf. Like fellow character actor Jeff MacKay, LeGault also took on some voice work, albeit in commercials for businesses like Burger King and video games like Battlezone II: Combat Commander (keeping with the military theme that marked much of his acting career, it seems). LeGault passed away in 2012 at the age of 77.