Danson, Selleck remember when they weren't big stars

November 22, 1990|By Knight-Ridder

There they were, slipping in the trenches of show biz, making movies they'd hope to live down and scrambling for one-liners. Probably nobody remembers that Ted Danson had a role as William Hurt's smarmy friend in "Body Heat" or that Tom Selleck muscled his way on screen as one of Mae West's hunks in "Myra Breckinridge."

Both of them hit pay dirt on television, Danson with "Cheers" and Selleck, of course, with "Magnum, P.I." Danson says he has changed so much since he began on "Cheers" nine years ago that he can't even fathom the differences.

"One of the traps is that your 'celebrityness' skyrockets through television. You're blasted through the airwaves. And it's hard and important to remember that the 'actorness' needs to be nurtured slowly, that it doesn't necessarily scoot up there. Just because you're a celebrity does not necessarily mean you're a better actor. You need to remind yourself to nurture your talent, not just to rely on the celebrity."

Selleck thinks that appearing on a television series for eight years can be a sort of "living document."

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