Tom Selleck missed out on playing Indiana Jones when his ‘Magnum, P.I.’ show took off.

The 79-year-old actor read for the lead role of Dr Henry Walton ‘Indiana’ Jones in Steven Spielberg’s 1981 blockbuster when he was waiting to hear if his detective show pilot was going to be picked up.

He said in his new autobiography ‘You Never Know: A Memoir’ about the twists and turns of his years in showbiz: “It is really the story of an accidental career.

“I’d never taken an acting class. I had no training, no desire.

“(Acting) is a lot about failing, endless failures. If you’re going to get in the acting business, you better get an appetite for it.

“And I tried to communicate that... because it was kind of a long road.”

He said in his book he read for the part of Indiana – which was taken by now 81-year-old Harrison Ford – in front of director Steven, 77, and its 79-year-old ‘Star Wars’ creator writer George Lucas.

Tom added about his audition for ‘Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark’: “When I walked into the room for the audition, it was just those two guys: Steven Spielberg and George Lucas. I didn't feel particularly nervous.

“I was a big ‘Star Wars’ fan, so I’m certain I brought that up. On my drive home, I thought, ‘Boy, that was pretty cool, no pressure, and having a face-to-face with two people whose work I love.’

“And what a great diversion it was from my preoccupation with the outcome of my (‘Magnum, P.I.’) pilot.”

Tom said he was handed Indiana’s “hat and leather jacket” during his reading which he said “helped me understand the period”.

He went on: “When I drove home, my head was full of thoughts: ‘They’re testing a lot of people, What if ‘Magnum’ sells? What if it doesn't sell? This is the lead in the next big franchise after ‘Star Wars’, so the process is going to be a long one.’ So many good things were presenting themselves.”

Tom said Steven then gave him the Indiana role on the phone – and gave him a script which the actor said he thought was “terrific”.

He added: “I sat down and turned over the title page. Around page eight my guard just dissolved: ‘Oh… this is terrific.

“It was the part where Indy is being chased by a huge round boulder rolling down the hill after him.

“I was reminded of when I rode my bike to the La Reina Theatre on Ventura Boulevard in Sherman Oaks and watched the Saturday-matinee movie serials for 25 cents. And, of course, it reminded me of the crawl at the beginning of ‘Star Wars’.”

Tom was apparently left “heartbroken” when ‘Magnum’ was then picked up and its maker wouldn’t release him from his contract to play Indiana.

Harrison’s co-star in ‘Raiders’, Karen Allen, 72, previously told Variety: “Tom Selleck had been cast, and then it turned out ‘Magnum, P.I.’ got picked up. “They wouldn’t let him out of his contract, and so he was heartbroken. I only know that way after the fact because I sat with him many years later and he told me how heartbroken he was.”