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Original Magnum, P.I. Star Roger E. Mosely Is Dead At 83

Roger E. Mosley as TC in original Magnum P.I. series
(Image credit: NBCUniversal)

As popular as the current Magnum P.I. series starring Jay Hernandez has been (to the point that NBC resurrected the show after CBS cancelled it), let’s not forget that the original ‘80s series was arguably an even bigger rage with the public. Tom Selleck’s run as Thomas Magnum catapulted him to worldwide popularity, and one of his main costars during the show’s run from 1980-1988 was Roger E. Mosley, who played Theodore “T.C.” Calvin. Unfortunately, it’s been announced that Mosely has died at the age of 83.

This news was revealed by Mosely’s daughter, Cha-a, who shared on her Facebook page that her father passed away this past Sunday at 1:17 am PT. She separately informed THR that Roger E. Mosely died at Cedar-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles due to injuries he’d sustained in a car accident three days earlier. Cha-a’s original statement on her father’s death also included the following:

He was surrounded by family as he transcended peacefully. We could never mourn such an amazing man. He would HATE any crying done in his name. It is time to celebrate the legacy he left for us all. I love you daddy. You loved me too. My heart is heavy but I am strong. I will care for mommy, your love of almost 60 years. You raised me well and she is in good hands. Rest easy.

Born on December 13, 1983, Roger E. Mosley’s early professional acting work included blaxploitation movies like The Mack, Hit Man, Sweet Jesus, Preacherman and Darktown Strutters. He also appeared in 1973’s Terminal Island with Tom Selleck, and it’d be less than a decade until Magnum, P.I. brought these two men back together. In 1976, Mosely starred as Leadberry’s title character, folk singer Huddie “Lead Belly” Ledbetter, which the actor later described in an article in the November 1982 issue of Ebony Magazine as his favorite role. Mosely also played boxer Sonny Liston in 1977’s The Greatest opposite Muhammad Ali playing himself.

Looking back to Magnum, P.I., Roger E. Mosley’s T.C. was a helicopter pilot who ran his own local helicopter charter company and tour van service in Hawaii, and would fly Thomas Magnum around during his cases. Funny enough, the show’s producers discovered after Mosley was hired that he was actually a certificated private helicopter pilot, although he was not allowed to fly while filming the series. Mosley and Tom Selleck were joined in Magnum, P.I.’s main cast by Larry Manetti’s Orville “Rick” Wright and John Hillerman’s Jonathan Higgins. Hillerman passed away in 2017, and one of the show’s producers, Joel Rogosin (who was also behind Knight Rider) died in 2020.

Roger E. Mosley’s other notable TV work included guest appearances on Night Court, Kung Fu, Starsky & Hutch, Sanford and Son and Roots: The Next Generation. After Magnum, P.I. (which you can stream with an Amazon Prime subscription) concluded, Mosley played important roles in shows like You Take the Kids, Hangin’ With Mr. Cooper and Rude Awakening, as well as starred in the Martin Lawrence-led comedy thriller A Thin Line Between Love and Hate. In 2019, Mosley guest-starred in the new Magnum P.I. episode “A Kiss Before Dying” as Booky, the barber to that show’s version of T.C., played by Stephen Hill. However, don’t expect Tom Selleck to ever appear on the reboot.

We here at CinemaBlend join in expressing condolences to Roger E. Mosley’s family and friends, but urge those of you who aren’t too familiar with his work to check out Magnum, P.I., any of the other projects mentioned in this story or even look at the portions of his resume we didn’t bring up.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.