May 11, 1998 12:00 PM

While casting the role of Tom Selleck’s secretary for his CBS sitcom The Closer, it quickly became apparent that the old Magnum charm was more than some would-be costars could handle. “People were going in there prepared to audition and then completely losing it once they saw Tom,” recalls Suzy Nakamura, who eventually won the part. “Finally, the casting director came out and said, ‘Look, everyone here knows that you’re reading with Tom Selleck. So be prepared: He is very good-looking.’ ”

No secret there. With those chiseled features, twinkling hazel eyes and deep dimples, Selleck, 53, has been mesmerizing audiences for years, first as the sexy sleuth on Magnum, P.I., later as Courteney Cox Arquette‘s older boyfriend on Friends and last year as a tabloid-TV reporter who gives Kevin Kline his first gay kiss in In & Out. But the man Nakamura describes as “six foot four of pure handsome” isn’t one to fuss over his looks. “I’m not big on products—cosmetics and all that stuff,” he says. And no fan of gyms, either. Selleck gets all the workout he needs planting trees and tending his horses on the 63-acre ranch in California’s Ventura County that he shares with his wife, actress Jillie Mack, and daughter Hannah, 9. (“It’s good work,” he says. “If you dig a hole, you can see the hole.”)

Even on the set, Selleck insists on as little styling as possible. “I always heard Clark Gable was a little embarrassed as a man about all the primping you have to do as an actor,” he says. “I think that’s appropriate. It is embarrassing.” And though his face may have gained some lines since his Magnum days, he isn’t losing sleep over growing older. “If I start trying to look like I did 10 years ago, there’s a big trap in that,” he says. “I guess I look okay for my age. Someone will say, ‘Aw, come on, you dye your hair,’ but I don’t.” Not that he’ll rule out the possibility. “Who knows?” he says with characteristic candor. “It hasn’t turned gray, so I don’t know how vain I am about it.”

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