Tom Selleck

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Tom Selleck
Tom Selleck at PaleyFest 2014.jpg
Selleck at Paleyfest in 2014
Thomas William Selleck

(1945-01-29) January 29, 1945 (age 76)
EducationLos Angeles Valley College
University of Southern California (withdrew)
OccupationActor, film producer
Years active1965–present
Height6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)[1]
Jacqueline Ray
(m. 1971; div. 1982)

Jillie Mack
(m. 1987)
Military career
AllegianceFlag of the United States (Pantone).svg United States
Service/branch United States Army
RankArmy-USA-OR-05-2015.svg Sergeant

Thomas William Selleck (/ˈsɛlɪk/; born January 29, 1945)[2] is an American actor and film producer. His breakout role was playing private investigator Thomas Magnum in the television series Magnum, P.I. (1980–1988). Since 2010, Selleck has co-starred as New York City Police Commissioner Frank Reagan in the series Blue Bloods, and the show has been renewed for its twelfth season in 2021–2022.[3] Beginning in 2005, he has portrayed troubled small-town police chief Jesse Stone in nine made-for-TV movies based on the Robert B. Parker novels.

In films, Selleck has played bachelor architect Peter Mitchell in Three Men and a Baby (1987) and its sequel Three Men and a Little Lady (1990). He has also appeared in more than 50 other film and television roles since Magnum, P.I., including the films Quigley Down Under, Mr. Baseball, and Lassiter. He appeared in recurring television roles as Monica Geller's love interest Dr. Richard Burke on Friends, as Lance White, the likeable and naive partner on The Rockford Files, and as casino owner A.J. Cooper on Las Vegas. He also had a lead role in the television western movie The Sacketts, based on two of Louis L'Amour's books.

Selleck is a California Army National Guard veteran, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association (NRA), an endorser in advertisements for National Review magazine, and co-founder of the Character Counts! organization.

Early life[edit]


Selleck was born in Detroit, Michigan, in 1945, to housewife Martha Selleck (née Jagger)[4] and Robert Dean Selleck, who was an executive and real estate investor.[5][6][7] He has an older brother Robert (born 1944), a younger sister Martha (born 1954), and a younger brother Daniel (born 1950).[8]

His father was of primarily English ancestry but had distant German ancestry as well, while his mother was of English descent. Through an entirely paternal line, Selleck is a direct descendant of English colonist David Selleck who moved to Massachusetts from Somerset, England, in 1633. Through this line, Selleck is the 11th generation of his family born in North America.[9][10]

Selleck's family moved to Sherman Oaks, California, in 1948.[11]


Selleck graduated from Grant High School in 1962[12] and enrolled at Los Angeles Valley College, living at home and saving money.[13] Selleck, who stands 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) tall, transferred to the University of Southern California during his junior year to play for the USC Trojans men's basketball team.[14] He is a member of Sigma Chi fraternity and a member of the Trojan Knights. While Selleck was majoring in Business Administration, a drama coach suggested he try acting and, in his senior year, he dropped out of the university.[15] Selleck then studied acting at the Beverly Hills Playhouse, under Milton Katselas.

California National Guard[edit]

Upon receiving a draft notice during the Vietnam War, Selleck joined the California National Guard.[16] He served in the 160th Infantry Regiment of the California Army National Guard[17] from 1967 to 1973.


Early work[edit]

Magnum, P.I. publicity photo, 1980

Selleck's first television appearance was as a college senior on The Dating Game in 1965 and again in 1967. Soon after, he appeared in commercials for products such as Pepsi-Cola.

He began his career with bit parts in smaller movies, including Myra Breckinridge (invited on the set by Mae West[1]), Coma, and The Seven Minutes. He appeared in a number of TV series, mini-series and TV movies. He was also the face of Salem cigarettes and Revlon's Chaz cologne.[1] Selleck appeared in the commercial for Right Guard deodorant in 1971, with Farrah Fawcett in 1972 for the aperitif Dubonnet, and another in 1977 for the toothpaste Close-Up. He was also in a Safeguard deodorant soap commercial (date not available). In 1972, he starred in the B-movie Daughters of Satan. He had a recurring role in the 1970s as private investigator Lance White in The Rockford Files.

Selleck is an avid outdoorsman, marksman and firearms collector. These interests led him to leading-man cowboy roles in Western films, starting with his role as cowboy and frontier marshal Orrin Sackett in the 1979 film The Sacketts, opposite Sam Elliott, Jeff Osterhage, and Western legends Glenn Ford and Ben Johnson. He followed The Sacketts with The Shadow Riders in 1982, then portraying a cat burglar in 1930s London in Lassiter in 1984. Quigley Down Under is one of his best-known Western films, although he won a "Western Heritage Award" for his 1997 role in Last Stand at Saber River. In 1979, Selleck starred in Concrete Cowboys with Jerry Reed.

Magnum stardom[edit]

Selleck's big break came when he was cast in the lead role as Thomas Magnum in Magnum, P.I. The producers would not release the actor for other projects, so Selleck had to pass on the role of Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark, which meant that the role went to actor Harrison Ford instead. It turned out that the shooting of the pilot for Magnum was delayed for over six months by a writers' strike, which would have enabled him to complete Raiders.[18]

Look, I made a deal with Magnum, and it was the best thing that ever happened to me. I'm proud that I lived up to my contract, and some people said, "You've got to get into a car and drive into a brick wall and get injured and get out of Magnum and do [Raiders]." I said, "I gotta look my mom and dad in the eye, and we don't do that," so I did Magnum... That's not so bad, is it?
—Tom Selleck • Build Series Interview[19]

Selleck on the set of Magnum in 1984

Selleck played the role of Thomas Magnum in 1980 after filming six other TV pilots that were never sold. Magnum was a former U.S. Navy Officer, a veteran of a Special Operations unit, "SEAL" in the Vietnam War, and later a member of the "Naval Intelligence Agency" (a fictional version of the Office of Naval Intelligence), who had resigned his commission with the Navy to become a private investigator living in Hawaii. The show would go on for eight seasons and 163 episodes until 1988, winning him an Emmy Award[20] for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series in 1984.

Selleck was famous for his mustache, a Hawaiian-style aloha shirt, a Detroit Tigers baseball cap, and a Colt MKIV/Series 70 Government Model handgun (a commercial version of the U.S. Military M1911A1) which his character regularly carried. The actual prop from the show was a 9×19mm Parabellum, serial number 70L33101, used for its reliable functioning with readily available blanks, although the original gun was a traditional .45 ACP 1911. Magnum also used a Star Model B, another 9mm similar to the M1911A1, and a Detonics Pocket 9 during the series.

Magnum drove a Ferrari 308 GTS in the series. The model became so identified with the role that Ferrari fans now refer to the red-painted model as a "Magnum" Ferrari.

After the end of the show in 1988, it established itself as the top-rated one-hour show in the history of syndicated reruns (at least until 1998).[21] Selleck confirmed that he was the most popular choice by fans to play the role of Magnum in the once-rumored Magnum, P.I. movie.[22]

In 1984, he introduced Nancy Reagan at the 1984 Republican National Convention.[1]

Selleck was offered the lead role of Mitch Buchannon in Baywatch, but he turned down the role because he did not want to be seen as a sex symbol. The role eventually went to David Hasselhoff.

During the Magnum years, he also starred as an acrophobic police detective in Runaway and a stand-in father in Three Men and a Baby, which was the biggest hit at the American box office in 1987.

TV and advertising[edit]

Selleck on the Red Carpet at the 61st Annual Academy Awards in 1989

In 1990, he starred as an American 19th-century sharpshooter in the Australian Western Quigley Down Under, a role and film that he considers one of his best. During the 1990s, he also starred in Three Men and a Little Lady, Her Alibi, An Innocent Man, Folks!, Christopher Columbus: The Discovery, Mr. Baseball, In & Out and The Love Letter. Selleck's role in In & Out is his first as a gay character (Peter Malloy).[1]

In the mid-nineties, Selleck played the role of Richard Burke, Monica's older boyfriend, starting at the end of the second season of the TV series Friends. Richard was a divorced ophthalmologist who was a friend of Monica's parents, and at first the relationship was hidden from her parents. The relationship eventually ended over Richard's reluctance to commit to having children, though Selleck did make a few more appearances in later episodes. His decision to star in a six-episode plot of Friends was seen as a digression from the movies back to TV shows and a mistake by his career advisers. Selleck recruited a new agent and accepted the part.[21] This role earned him an Emmy Award nomination in 2000 for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series.[23]

He did the voice-over for the 1993 AT&T advertising campaigns titled "You Will." These advertisements had a futuristic feel, and posed the question of, "What if you had the technology to _____? Well, you will ... and the company that will bring it to you? AT&T."

In the mid-1990s, Selleck hosted a special series on TLC called The Practical Guide to the Universe, in which he talked about the stars, planets, galaxies, etc.

In February 1998, Selleck accepted the lead role in a sitcom for CBS called The Closer. This role was Tom Selleck's big comeback on prime time TV.[21] In it he played Jack McLaren, a legendary publicist heading up a brand new marketing firm. His costars included Ed Asner, David Krumholtz, and Penelope Ann Miller. Despite the high pedigree, and the expectations for his first series since Magnum, P.I., low ratings caused the show to be canceled after ten episodes.

His last two cowboy roles to date were in the 2001 TNT movie Crossfire Trail (based on a Louis L'Amour novel of the same name), and the 2003 motion picture Monte Walsh. In 2001, Selleck played the lead role of Murray in a Broadway revival of Herb Gardner's comedic play A Thousand Clowns. It ran for only two months. Critics, though far from uniformly negative about Selleck's performance, generally compared it unfavorably to that of Jason Robards, who won awards in the 1960s for playing the character on the stage and in a movie version.

Selleck played the role of General Dwight D. Eisenhower in A&E's 2004 made-for-TV movie Ike: Countdown to D-Day. The movie showed the planning, politics, and preparation for the 1944 Invasion of Normandy, and Selleck was critically lauded for playing a cool, calm Eisenhower.

Selleck at the 2010 Summer Session of the Television Critics Association

Since 2005, Selleck has starred in the role of transplanted lawman Jesse Stone in a series of made-for-TV movies based on Robert B. Parker's novels. To date, the series comprises nine films, with the most recent released in October 2015.[24] In addition to his portrayal of the films' protagonist, Selleck now acts as producer for the series. The fifth film, Jesse Stone: Thin Ice, was not adapted from Parker's novels, but was instead an original story by Selleck.[25]

He joined the cast of the NBC drama Las Vegas in the season-five premiere on September 28, 2007. He played A.J. Cooper, the new owner of the Montecito Casino. He replaced James Caan, who left the cast in the same episode. This was Selleck's first regular role on a drama show since he played Thomas Magnum on Magnum, P.I. As of December 30, 2007, he began doing commercial voice-overs for Florida's Natural orange juice.[26]

Since 2010, he has starred as Frank Reagan in the CBS American police procedural/drama series Blue Bloods, filmed on location in New York City. Frank Reagan is the Police Commissioner, and the series follows the Reagan family of police officers with the New York City Police Department. The show premiered on September 24, 2010, and is in its eleventh season as of 2020–21.

In 2012, Selleck was featured in Coldwell Banker's television ad campaign focusing on homeownership.[27] On August 1, 2016, American Advisors Group (AAG), the leading reverse-mortgage lender, announced the premiere of its new television commercial campaign naming Selleck as the company's new national spokesperson following the death of Fred Thompson, their previous spokesperson. The commercials began running across cable and national networks including ABC, NBC and CBS.[28]

Selleck appeared in a recurring role on the acclaimed ABC drama Boston Legal as Ivan Tiggs, the troubled ex-husband of Shirley Schmidt (Candice Bergen).

Personal life[edit]

Selleck and wife Jillie Joan Mack in 1989

From 1971 to 1982, Selleck was married to model Jacqueline Ray.[29] During that time, he adopted her son, Kevin Shepard (born 1966), former drummer for the American rock band, Tonic. On August 7, 1987, Selleck married Jillie Joan Mack (born 1957).[29][30] They have one daughter, Hannah[31] (born December 16, 1988).[32]

Selleck and his family live in Thousand Oaks-Westlake Village, California, on a 60-acre (24 ha) avocado ranch in Hidden Valley formerly owned by Dean Martin.[33] In a 2012 interview with People, Selleck talked about living and working on his ranch: "So I like to get outside and work on the ranch, from fixing roads to clearing brush. I hate going to the gym, so sweating outdoors sure beats sitting on a stationary bike staring at my navel. And I work cheaper than anyone I could hire to do it."

Selleck is an accomplished indoor and beach volleyball player, playing the outside hitter position for the Outrigger Canoe Club, Honolulu. (Son Kevin attended Selleck's alma mater, USC, and became a volleyball team All-American in 1990.) Outrigger Canoe Club teammate Dennis Berg, in the summer 2011 issue of Volleyball USA magazine, said of Selleck, "Tom was a great teammate, appreciative of being included with such a talented and experienced group, practicing and playing hard when his Magnum schedule permitted.... He was very patient with all of us, and we relished the big crowds that replaced the usual sparse number of players' friends and spouses at the national tourney matches."[34]

Selleck is an avid ice hockey fan and has been seen attending Los Angeles Kings games at Staples Center. He lists Anže Kopitar and Alexander Frolov as two of his favorite players. He was once a minority owner of the Detroit Tigers, his favorite baseball team since childhood. In preparation for his role in the film Mr Baseball, Selleck reached out to the Tigers to practice with them during the spring of 1991. He took batting practice for three weeks, even making an appearance in an exhibition game against Cincinnati, where Tiger manager Sparky Anderson had him play in the pinch hitter role. Selleck believes his training helped him considerably in his film role, having gained valuable experience from attending team meetings and developing an understanding of how competitive players function together.[35]

One of Selleck's Magnum co-stars, Larry Manetti, in his 1996 memoir Aloha Magnum, was lavish in his praise of Selleck. Manetti lauded Selleck for his extraordinary work ethic on a grueling show (shooting for hours in the midday Hawaiian sun), Selleck's work with Hawaiian charities, and his willingness to support the program's cast and crew members.

In February 2009, Selleck joined the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund as national spokesman for the new Education Center being built on the National Mall.[17]

Upon James Garner's death in 2014, he said, "Jim was a mentor to me and a friend, and I will miss him."[36][37] Two years after Garner's death, Selleck said, prior to filming his then 6th season of Blue Bloods: "It's kind of like my mentor, who never wanted to hear he was my mentor (James Garner), I don't accept the mentor role. That they feel that way is, I think flattering although it adds a certain amount of pressure."[38]

2015 Water controversy[edit]

Selleck was sued by the Calleguas Municipal Water District for allegedly improperly transferring approximately 1.4 million gallons of water from the Calleguas Municipal Water District to the Hidden Valley Municipal Water District during the driest California drought since record-keeping began, which he used to water his avocado farm. He settled the suit by paying $21,685.55 to the Calleguas Municipal Water District, an amount which represented the district's private investigator fees in connection with the case.[39][40][41][42][43][44][45][46] By settling, Selleck avoided a trial while simultaneously not admitting to any fault or wrongdoing.

Political views[edit]

Senator Larry Craig, Selleck, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison, Senator Zell Miller at the 2005 NRA Annual Convention in Houston

He has been a member of the board of directors of the National Rifle Association and served as a spokesman for the organization.[47][48] He resigned from the board on September 18, 2018.[49] After his close friend Charlton Heston stepped down from his role as an NRA spokesman in 2003, Selleck succeeded him.[50][51] In 2002, Selleck donated the rifle he used in Quigley Down Under (a custom 13-pound [6 kg], single-shot, 1874 Sharps Rifle, with a 34-inch [86-cm] barrel),[52] along with six other firearms from his other films, to the NRA. The firearms are part of the NRA's exhibit "Real Guns of Reel Heroes" at the National Firearms Museum in Fairfax, Virginia.[47]

To promote his film The Love Letter, Selleck was invited to be on The Rosie O'Donnell Show on May 19, 1999. During the appearance, O'Donnell interrogated Selleck about his support of gun ownership and an ad in which he appeared supporting the NRA. At the end of the interview, Selleck stated, "It's your show, and you can talk about it after I leave."[53][54] Selleck later confided to Shaun Robinson that he forgives O'Donnell, stating "I still like Rosie. I think she needs to take a deep breath and stop thinking everybody who disagrees with her is evil."[55]

For a number of years, Selleck appeared in television advertising for National Review. He also subscribes to The New Republic.[56] He endorsed Senator John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Selleck describes himself as "a registered independent with a lot of libertarian leanings."[57]

In the 2016 presidential election, Selleck did not support either Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump, instead writing in former Dallas Police Department Chief David Brown, saying that he was deeply touched by the grace and leadership Brown showed through the 2016 Dallas police shooting.[58]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 Lancer Dobie Episode: "Death Bait"
Judd for the Defense Deputy Episode: The Holy Ground: The Killing Parts 1 & 2
1970 The Movie Murderer Mike Beaudine TV movie
1971 Sarge Captain Denning Episode: "The Combatants"
1973 The Wide World of Mystery Mark Brolin Episode: "Shadow of Fear"
The FBI Steve Episode: "The Confession"
Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Brinkley Episode: "Snatches of a Crazy Song"
1974 Marcus Welby, M.D. Lt. Rogers Episode: "Feedback"
A Case of Rape Stan TV movie
1975 Returning Home Fred Derry
1974–1975 & 2005 The Young and the Restless Jed Andrews Unknown episodes
1975 Marcus Welby, M.D. Sgt. Ed Brock Episodes: Dark Fury Parts 1 & 2
Mannix Don Brady Episode: "Design for Dying"
The Streets of San Francisco Jimmy Desco Episode: "Spooks for Sale"
1976 Most Wanted Tom Roybo Episode: "Pilot"
Charlie's Angels Dr. Alan Samuelson Episode: "Target: Angels"
1977 Bunco Gordean TV movie
1978 Taxi Mike Beldon Episode: "Memories of Cab 804: Part 2"
1978 & 1979 The Rockford Files PI Lance White Episodes: "White on White and Nearly Perfect", & "Nice Guys Finish Dead"
1979 The Chinese Typewriter Tom Boston TV movie
The Sacketts Orrin Sackett
Concrete Cowboys Will Eubanks TV movie
1980–1988 Magnum, P.I. Thomas Sullivan Magnum IV Lead role, 162 episodes
1981 Christmas in Hawaii Himself TV movie
1982 Simon & Simon Thomas Magnum Episode: "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend"
The Shadow Riders Mac Traven TV movie
1983 James Bond: The First 21 Years Himself Documentary
1984 Muppet Babies Himself Episode: "What Do You Want to Be When You Grow Up?"
1986 Murder, She Wrote Thomas Magnum Episode: "Magnum on Ice: Part 2"
1988 The World's Greatest Stunts: A Tribute to Hollywood Stuntmen Himself Documentary
1995 Broken Trust Judge Timothy Nash
1996 Ruby Jean and Joe Joe Wade
Way Out West Himself
1996–1997 & 2000 Friends Dr. Richard Burke 10 episodes
1997 Big Guns Talk: The Story of the Western Himself Documentary
Last Stand at Saber River Paul Cable TV movie
1998 The Closer Jack McLaren 10 episodes
2000 Running Mates Gov. James Reynolds Pryce TV movie
2001 Crossfire Trail Rafael "Rafe" Covington
2003 Touch 'Em All McCall Touch McCall
Monte Walsh Monte Walsh
Twelve Mile Road Stephen Landis
Time Machine: When Cowboys Were King Himself Documentary
2004 Biography Narrator Documentary; episode: "Dwight D. Eisenhower: Supreme Commander-in-Chief"
Reversible Errors Larry Starczek TV movie
Ike: Countdown to D-Day Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower
2005 Stone Cold Jesse Stone
2006 Boston Legal Ivan Tiggs 4 episodes
Jesse Stone: Night Passage Jesse Stone TV movie
Jesse Stone: Death in Paradise
2007 Jesse Stone: Sea Change
2007–2008 Las Vegas A.J. Cooper 19 episodes
2009 Jesse Stone: Thin Ice Jesse Stone TV movie
2010 Jesse Stone: No Remorse
2010–present Blue Bloods NYPD Police Commissioner Frank Reagan Main role
2011 Jesse Stone: Innocents Lost Jesse Stone TV movie
2012 Jesse Stone: Benefit of the Doubt
2013 North America Narrator 7 episodes
2014 Arnie 3 episodes
2015 Jesse Stone: Lost in Paradise Jesse Stone TV movie
2021 Friends: The Reunion Himself HBO Max


Year Title Role Notes
1970 Myra Breckinridge Stud
1972 Daughters of Satan James Robertson
1973 Terminal Island Dr. Milford
1976 Midway Aide to Capt. Cyril Simard
1977 The Washington Affair Jim Hawley
1978 Coma Sean Murphy
Superdome Jim McCauley
The Gypsy Warriors Captain Theodore Brinkenhoff
1979 Concrete Cowboys Will Eubanks
1982 Divorce Wars: A Love Story Jack Sturgess -1982
1982 The Shadow Riders Mac Tavern -1982
1983 High Road to China Patrick O' Malley
1984 Lassiter Nick Lassiter
Runaway Sgt. Jack R. Ramsay
1987 Three Men and a Baby Peter Mitchell
1989 Her Alibi Phil Blackwood
An Innocent Man Jimmie Rainwood
1990 Quigley Down Under Matthew Quigley
Three Men and a Little Lady Peter Mitchell
1992 Folks! Jon Aldrich
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery King Ferdinand V
Mr. Baseball Jack Elliot
1995 Open Season Rock Maninoff
1996 Kids for Character: Choices Count Himself Host[59]
The Magic of Flight Narrator Documentary[60]
1997 In & Out Peter Malloy
1999 The Love Letter George Matthias
2007 Meet the Robinsons Cornelius Robinson Voice role
2010 Killers Mr. Kornfeldt

Awards and honors[edit]

On April 28, 2000, Selleck received an honorary doctorate degree from Pepperdine University. He was chosen because of his outstanding character and ethic. He is a board member of the non-profit Joseph and Edna Josephson Institute of Ethics and co-founder of the Character Counts Coalition.[61] He received a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1986. The star is situated at 6925 Hollywood Blvd.[62] In 1989, he received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.[63][64][65][66]

Year Association Category Work Result
1981 People's Choice Awards Favorite Actor in a New TV Series Magnum P.I. Won
1982 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama Nominated
Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1983 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama
People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
1984 Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
People's Choice Awards People's Choice for Favorite Male TV Performer Won
Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1985 Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
People's Choice Awards People's Choice Awards Favorite Male TV Performer
Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series Nominated
1986 Golden Globe Awards Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Television Series Drama
Primetime Emmy Awards Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series
1987 Golden Globe Awards Best Actor – Television Series Drama
1993 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Actor Folks!
Christopher Columbus: The Discovery Won
1998 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards Favorite Supporting Actor – Comedy In & Out Nominated
MTV Movie Awards Best Kiss (shared with Kevin Kline)
2000 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Guest Actor in a Comedy Series[23] Friends
2005 People's Choice Awards Favorite TV Icon Himself
2007 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie Jesse Stone: Sea Change
Satellite Awards Best Actor – Miniseries or Television Film
2017 People's Choice Awards Favorite Crime TV Drama Actor Blue Bloods


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