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Carol BurnettThirty-odd years ago, Carol Burnett celebrated her birthday with a party that filled UCLA’s Pauley Pavillion. Six thousand of her nearest dearest friends were invited. Well, actually it was a fund raiser for UCLA, so she probably didn’t know everyone. She knew us though. My husband, Bob, went to UCLA with Carol. She was in the Theater Department and he was in the Cinema Department. They met through mutual friends. Shortly afterwards, they appeared together in the UCLA Homecoming Show, Royal Blues on the Royce Hall stage with all 1,834 seats filled.

Picture of Royce Hall and the Program to Royal Blues Homecoming Show


Carol was hilarious and Bob was the master of ceremonies for the show.

One of the many special things about Carol is that she always remembers her close friends from the old days and so we were invited to her birthday party. This was definitely not your typical “ Let’s- blow-out-a-couple-of-candles-and-cut-the-cake” birthday party. After a lovely dinner, we were entertained by Henry Mancini conducting a large orchestra, then Neil Diamond singing, Sweet Caroline, Beverly Sills performing a special version of I’m Glad There Is You. Of course, there was also a serenade by Julie Andrews and Carol’s three daughters, Carrie, Jody and Erin dressed up as “The Charwoman“ and sang, I’m So Glad We Had This Time Together. There was a lot of love for Carol that night and a lot of fun for all of us.

After the entertainment, my husband and I went up to Carol to give her a hug and wish her a Happy Birthday. Just then, I saw a striking beautiful woman out of the corner of my eye. I did a double take and thought, “Oh my god, that’s Elizabeth Taylor!”

And then from behind me, I heard a man’s voice saying, “Remember me, Bob?” Slowly I turned around and looked directly into a tuxedo shirt front. I glanced up, my mouth dropped open, and I was speechless.

It was Tom Selleck and he was gorgeous.

TomSelleck1988 copy

I had never seen a man so handsome (even better looking than my husband)! I stood there frozen with my mouth gaping while my husband shook Tom’s outstretched hand. Tom thanked my husband for hiring and directing him in his first television commercial and for giving him the wardrobe he wore in it. Tom recalled that it was the only suit he had owned and he wore it for all of his auditions and interviews. He also told us that the residuals from that Safeguard soap commercial kept him fed for years.

•••Selleck1.jpg Adam Light

Tom was incredibly gracious and chatted with us for a while. I was finally able to recover and I believe I said, “Hello.” But who can remember?

Anyway, here’s Tom’s first commercial. It’s gotten over 78,000 hits on YouTube. In the same spot, my husband also cast three unknown actresses very early in their careers: Teri Garr, Penny Marshall and Patti Deutsch.

Carol and her husband, Brian are close friends to this day and we see them as often as our collective schedules permit.


She’s as warm, caring and intelligent in person as she appears on television. She and I talk about everything from her early desire to be a journalist, mine to be a teacher, how we changed once we hit UCLA, to our mutual love of old movies, art and well, we can really suck the oxygen out of a room.

Carol-Burnett 2

Oh, and if you haven’t read her wonderful books, do yourself a favor and check them out:

• One More Time: A Memoir

• This Time Together: Laughter and Reflection

• Carrie and Me: A Mother-Daughter Love Story

Thank you Adam Light for the Tom Selleck photographs.

All images appearing on CAROL BURNETT and TOM SELLECK ––– A FLASHBACK are the expressed property of Sandra Sallin. All rights reserved. In other words, don’t steal it!

Facebook Comments
  • littlemisswordy - You’ve had some memorable times! I’ve been a big fan of Carol Burnett since I was a kid and Neil Diamond was my first concert. Thx for sharing your stories!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Can you imagine them all together. Quite a memorable night. And then you get to watch Tom Selleck taking a shower! Not bad.ReplyCancel

  • lisa thomson - I love the soap ad! Fantastic. He smells good from morning til night and all the women swoon. Haha. Did your hubby come up with the ad or is he the guy behind the camera? Anyhow, great post. Carol Burnett seems like an amazing woman. My Beau and his 2 brothers took their mother to see her show for her 75th Birthday. Love all your interesting posts on famous peeps, Sandra. Have a great week!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - The ad was written by a woman, Jackie End. She was a star in advertising. My husband was the producer and director. I always get a kick out of watching it.ReplyCancel

  • joan Stommen - You continue to amaze me, Sandra! You’ve had a life full of adventure and experiences…..all of which you share so perfectly with your wonderful way with words! You literally paint the scene with words right before our eyes!
    Love, JoanReplyCancel

    • sandra - Why thank you Joan. I’m so glad you continue to enjoy these posts. Thanks for reading and commenting.ReplyCancel

  • belindambrock - How fun…enjoyed this post as I’m fans of both!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - You’re a smart woman.ReplyCancel

  • Risa - Thanks for sharing these memories! It’s good to know that some people really are as nice as they appear! My son and I saw Carol at a standing room only event on the UCLA campus a few years ago. She had all of us in the palm of her hand. You might also be interested to know that a local restaurant claims that Tom is the patron saint of “good bar behavior,” and they have a photo of him displayed prominently on the wall alongside the bottles!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Well, as I said Carol is as warm and charming in real life as she appears on the stage. Tom is just so darn good looking. I really was stunned when I turned around and saw him.ReplyCancel

  • E. Jane - I have very fond memories of our entire family watching Saturday night television, and at the top of our list, was Carol Burnett’s show. Our kids loved it and I can still see them laughing on the floor. I also enjoyed Tom Selleck’s commercial. I think I remember it from back in the day.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Yes, didn’t we all love watching that show. Something smart, funny and entertaining that the whole family can watch. God for you remembering the commercial.ReplyCancel

  • Bonnie - Sandra! you never cease to amaze me – but it’s no surprise that a woman as lovely as Carol Burnett would be friends with a woman as wonderful as YOU!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Why thank you Bonnie. I’m honored.ReplyCancel

  • Carpool Goddess - Love this Sandy! Had to watch the commercial a few times. My, my, my…what a handsome man. I wouldn’t be able to put two words together if he were in front of me, with or without a shirt 😉ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Thanks Linda, that’s exactly how I felt. I just stood there staring up at that face. Whoa!ReplyCancel

  • deborah briskin - What a great post Sandy!! Thanks for sharing all of these
    great stories!! So fascinating and funny!!!! xoxoReplyCancel

    • sandra - So glad you’re enjoying Deborah. Thanks for being such a loyal fan.ReplyCancel

  • AlexandraFunFit - Funny story to add to your wonderful piece – in 1977 I went to visit a friend in Northwood, Iowa – population: about 20 people. My friend took me to a party and told everyone I was from L.A. So they all assumed I must know people in movies. I was asked which movie stars I knew. Before I could answer, my friend said, “Oh, Alexandra’s cousin is Carol Burnett.” I didn’t want to embarrass my friend so I kept my mouth shut. When pressed for stories, I said I wanted to protect Carol’s privacy and wouldn’t share any stories. I can only imagine my friend gave me such an illustrious cousin because we both had red hair!! Say hi to Cousin Carol!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - That’s funny Alexandra. Yes, I’ll say “HI!” Carol reads this blog so she probably can hear you shouting.ReplyCancel

  • Marci Rich - I love Carol Burnett–never missed her show! And she’s also a wonderful actress–do you remember The Four Seasons, with Alan Alda? And I remember the Selleck commercial! How cool that your husband was the director…excellent, economical storytelling in such a limited time frame. Great cast, too! Wonderful post, Sandy. Thanks for sharing your fascinating stories with us!ReplyCancel

  • Piper George - Wow – that’s so cool. It might be nice to meet a star now, but to know them from before they were famous and to be friends is much more real.ReplyCancel

    • sandra - You’re right Piper. My husband knew Carol would be a star the first time he saw her perform t UCLA.ReplyCancel

  • The Animated Woman - Truly remarkable. And Tom Selleck without…a mustache hee hee!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Yes, Tom Selleck in the flesh is even better than on the screen.ReplyCancel

  • Sabrina - This makes me want to dig out my ‘best of carol’ dvds. I love her! Not sure how I missed her books but I’ll add them to my list. I really enjoyed the pictures and Tom…heavens!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - We just watched Carol’s Mark Twain award show on TV. We were doubled over in laughter. She is hysterical and at the same time so down to earth and gracious.ReplyCancel

  • Aussa Lorens - I’m kind of in awe, and certainly envious– but only in the best way. That commercial cracked me up though! Reminds me of Mad Men 😉 I think it’s interesting to compare it to the Ax Body Spray commercials you see now where all the nude women go chasing after a guy… same sort of concept I suppose, ha.ReplyCancel

  • Roshni - Tom Selleck is amazingly handsome!! I love that you know so many celebrities and that we can get glimpses of how they are as people via you!ReplyCancel

  • LA CONTESSA - WOW……………..what a LIFE you are LIVING!LOve your blog and think I am SIGNED UP NOW!I see you are following MY HEATHER at LOST IN ARLES TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!She is a GEM…..I have been with her from almost her START.
    It is RAINING up NORTH………..I will PUSH it down to you………….so Now I can make Ellie’s soups………which one first is MY dilemma !!
    Off to read more of your POSTS!ReplyCancel

    • sandra - Well, you started it all. I somehow found you trough UneFemme.net and you sent me to Havesomedecorum and she sent me to Heather. What a fabulous group of women. So I have subscribed to you all and it is a delight to have found you capials, exclamation marks and all. Thank you.ReplyCancel

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