His Sigma Chi Big Brother was Tom....as in Tom Selleck
It surprises no one who knows this Hollywood superstar that these two Sigs are still in touch today
Every Sig can think back to their undergraduate days and remember indications that someone might do well in life.
Mirko Blesich did that. But, frankly, it never dawned on him that his Big Brother at Alpha Upsilon would become one of the biggest movie and TV stars of all time.
Yep, Tom Selleck was Mirko’s Big Brother. They were close then. And Mirko says they remain in touch even today, despite Selleck’s unfathomable demands on his time and attention.
“Phenomenal” is how Mirko describes Selleck back then. “Tom was so gracious and helpful and really kept me out of trouble and kept me in school. I was a lot of work for him.”
In fact, Mirko says “Tom’s father came up to me and said ‘Mirko, do me a favor. Please tell Tom to stay out of trouble’.” Mirko laughs. It was Tom who was keeping Mirko out of trouble.
“It was [because of] Tom’s influence that I pledged Sigma Chi.” And immediately, Tom became a mentor to him. “That’s Tom,” he says. “He was really thoughtful and appreciative. Gem of a guy.”
The two have remained in touch even though Mirko is also awfully busy travelling and working in real estate investment with properties in Phoenix, Nashville, Indiana and South Carolina.
Selleck is in his 12th season playing the NYC police commissioner in the CBS TV show Blue Bloods. He’s made scores of films, other TV shows and commercials. He’s also producer and screenwriter. And a big award winner, including a Significant Sig. But he’ll always be known, at least to those of a certain age, as the super cool private investigator Magnum, P.I.
As Selleck became a star, he became a proud conversation during rush weeks at Sigma Chi chapters everywhere.
But it’s the Alpha Upsilon brothers who can call Selleck one of our own, initiated on June 12, 1965. “Quite a guy,“ says Mirko. “I’m really happy for him.”
Mirko first came to know Tom when they were both playing for the Trojan basketball team as well as the volleyball team. Tom was a year ahead of him as a junior transfer student. Tom pledged Sigma Chi because his older brother Bob, two years older, was a Sig at AU.
Hollywood producers would often come to the house looking for extras. Sometimes guys got a “whammy” – a part that got your face on screen. But when Selleck landed a Pepsi TV ad while still in college, the guys heard Selleck talk about how many bottles of Pepsi he had to drink during the shoot. Right after graduating, Selleck became the Marlboro man and was everywhere. Then, a tectonic event: Magnum P.I. All the guys realized their buddy was a super star.
It’s not just Selleck’s little brother who speaks highly of him. Selleck’s pledge brother Lacy Marlette, a successful CPA who now serves on the Trojan Sig Foundation and House Corporation, recalls “He was just a great guy in college. He’s exactly what you see in the TV shows and movies he’s in. He’s a nice, nice man. He was humorous. There may be a bit of shyness to him.”
Lacy says he ran into Selleck not long ago. “I saw him at a basketball game. I walked over, said hi, gave him a hug. It was just like being back in the house. There was nothing different.”
Lacy has good memories of Mirko as well, who was quite a good pool player as well as basketball player. That Selleck and Mirko remain in touch today: “It doesn’t surprise me,” Lacy says. “Sigma Chi in 50 years is still Sigma Chi.”
When Tom’s older brother passed away several years ago, Mirko says it hit Tom “really hard” as it did all of his chapter mates from that era.
Selleck, who is now 77 years old and lives with his wife on a 65-acre California ranch and former avocado farm, is a “terrific, terrific man,” says Mirko.
“The memories of Sigma Chi at USC were unbelievable,” reflects Mirko. “Absolutely unbelievable.”
Selleck's graduating photo from USC 1967.
Brother Selleck and Brother Blesich also played on the Trojan volleyball team.
Brother Lacy Marlette, Tom's pledge brother, still has his 1967 yearbook with many of these photos in it.
Mirko Blesich, Tom Selleck's little brother.
Tom Selleck in Alpha Upsilon Sigma Chi 1967 yearbook.
Magnum P.I. made Selleck a superstar. His Alpha Upsilon brothers knew at that moment that they're brother was big.
WATCH: When Tom was still in the house, he landed two TV commercials; Pepsi and Safeguard. He told all the guys that he had to drink way too many bottles of Pepsi during the shoot. Click on the images to watch Tom's rising star.
Now 77, Selleck plays the wise, heroic NYC police commissioner in CBS' Blue Bloods. Photo: CBS.
Selleck, wearing 42, was a junior college transfer who played basketball for the Trojans. This is where he met Mirko who was pictured in the far right of the team photo. Tom convinced Mirko, a year younger, to join Sigma Chi and became his big brother. Photo: Sigma Chi archives, Noah Phelps.
Tom Selleck's striking good looks helped make him a superstar. But his Alpha Upsilon brothers all say his congeniality and graciousness is what they think of when they see him on TV or in theaters.