Tom Selleck Leaves Crowd Wanting More at 92Y Talk

The Emmy winning actor discussed his recently released memoir You Never Know and a 50-year acting career capped by his role as NYPD Commissioner Frank Reagan in the long running CBS cop drama Blue Bloods.” His TV “daughter” Bridget Moynahan moderated the evening.

92Y /
| 18 May 2024 | 11:45

Sometimes what you want is wrong.” This is just one piece of wisdom—the piece that resonated with me— shared recently by the beloved actor Tom Selleck at 92NY, aka the 92nd Street Y.

Selleck was there promoting his four-years-in-the-making memoir You Never Know, which documents his life and a career he never knew he wanted; he originally wanted a business degree. The 6’ 4” athlete took a gut course called The History of Film Making in order to boost his GPA and ended up with an agent also.

“It’s a long bumpy road with some singles, some home runs, and a whole lot of strikeouts. I figure it’s time to share the ride,” Selleck explained. His journey includes an abysmal academic career at USC; a stint as an army reservist; a role as bachelor #2 on The Dating Game; some modeling and films like Three Men and a Baby and High Road to China. That’s hardly all, however.

His first big star turn came as baseball cap-and-Hawaiian shirt-wearing former Naval Intelligence officer and Vietnam veteran Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. (a role which required he give up the part of Indiana Jones) though many fans feel his 14-year role as NYPD Commissioner Frank Regan on NYC-based Blue Bloods is as legendary as his signature mustache.

Sometimes what you want is wrong” got the response, “Oh, you don’t have to tell me that,” from Bridget Moynahan, the event’s moderator who plays TV “daughter” Erin Reagan to the 79-year-old Emmy winner. Her quip garnered chuckles and a smattering of applause from the audience who was aware of the recent roast of Tom Brady where jokes (I use the term loosely) were made about how the G.O.A.T. quarterback left her when she was pregnant with their now-16-year-old son, Jack. (Moynahan, the actress / producer / director has been married to businessman Andrew Frankel for almost nine years.)

“Sometimes what you want is wrong” is a more straightforward, no-nonsense version of “It’s a blessing in disguise,” the saying I share with my children when what they’re hoping for goes sideways. It seems quaint and almost wishy-washy compared to Selleck’s cut-to-the-chase attitude.

“Sometimes what you want is wrong” because it dazzles, blinding us to the reality of the situation with its smoke-and-mirrors magic.

“Sometimes what you want is wrong” but we don’t realize it until we’ve rented space in our heads to it, obsessed over it, made ourselves crazy, made those around us crazy listening to us, and led ourselves to believe that without it we can’t go on.

“Sometimes what you want is wrong” but we can’t help but embrace it because it wants us, and we’re flattered. It makes it easy for us. For once, we don’t have to chase, we’re attracting. It has all the earmarks of a slam dunk. [Insert sigh and head shake here.]

“Sometimes what you want is wrong,” yet we shouldn’t beat ourselves up because we’re human and from time to time use bad judgment based on events that occurred in the past or a lack of information.

“Sometimes what you want is wrong” but as the t-shirt says, “It seemed like a good idea at the time.”

My ticket to the event included a signed copy of You Never Know which I plan to read with interest although I would have preferred to hear Selleck’s insights based on his 50-year career from the horse’s mouth. I’d also like to learn more about stories he touched on, such as the one about Princess Diana. It seems a royal aide encouraged him to dance with the Princess of Wales after she took two spins around the dance floor with John Travolta because the woman was afraid one more dance with the star of Saturday Night Fever would fuel rumors of a romance.

Building on the aforementioned phrase that clearly hit home with me, the portrayer of tv movie cop Jesse Stone (a role Selleck reprised eight times) added in his authoritative yet humble way, “If you don’t develop an appetite for’re never going to succeed. It’s the great trainer, actually. Too many people are afraid of it.”

The one-time Friends guest star is also a proponent of risk-taking. “The more I risked, the more jobs I got.”

After getting a taste of Selleck’s point of view at the talk, I want to learn more from the experiences he wasn’t able to cover. I’m pretty sure that, at least in this instance, what I want will be right.

Lorraine Duffy Merkl is the author of three novels, the most recent is THE LAST SINGLE WOMAN IN NEW YORK CITY.