Jacqueline Ray Biography: Tom Selleck’s former partner, career, murder plot, prison & more

Jacqueline Ray (or Jackie Ray as some call her) is an American-born actress who was once  Tom Selleck’s partner and wife. This biography of Jacqueline Ray gives a detailed chronicle of her life. Thus, stay tuned as we take you from her early life to her career and down to the events that led to her 18 years prison sentence.

Before we delve into the details, take some time to go through the summary of facts that you should know about Jacqueline Ray before you read her full biography.

10 facts about Jacqueline Ray

  1. Jacqueline Ray was born as Jacqueline Mary Ray on 17th July 1952 in Burbank, California. She will be 68 years old on her 2020 birthday.
  2. She began her career in the entertainment industry as a model in the late 1960s after leaving her teaching job.
  3. Ray’s debut film was a spy adventure/comedy film titled, In Like Flint (1967). She subsequently starred in about 10 films and TV series.
  4. The model and actress first married in the 1960s when she was still a teenager and had her first child in 1966, a son initially named Kevin Shepard and later Kevin Selleck.
  5. She married popular actor Tom Selleck in 1971. The two stayed together for 11 years before their divorce in 1982. Tom Selleck adopted Kevin, gave him his last name. Selleck gained custody following his divorce from Jacqueline.
  6. Jacqueline Ray, Tom Selleck, and Kevin Selleck all starred in the 1980s TV series Magnum, PI.
  7. She married Clarence Barry Witmer as her third husband on 21st March 1992. The couple had a daughter named Umeko.
  8. Jacqueline Ray pleaded guilty to hiring an assassin to kill her daughter’s abusive husband, Leon Bauchum, in 2012.
  9. She was sentenced to 18 years in jail in 2014 after she pleaded guilty to a second-degree murder charge.
  10. The former actress and fashion model is still serving her jail time and may not be eligible for parole until 2024.

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Jacqueline Ray Biography: Early life

Jacqueline Ray was born as Jacqueline Mary Rayon 17th July 1952 in Burbank, California. There is no verified information on who her parents were, and we also found nothing about her siblings, if she had aby. However, we know that the American actress graduated from a local high school and did a stint as a teacher.

Jacqueline Ray seemed to have had an ordinary life at this period. However, there was nothing ordinary about Jacqueline Ray’s physical appearance according to verified accounts. She was described as an astonishingly beautiful woman. After she started getting comments on her looks while still teaching, Ray ventured into fashion modelling.

Jacqueline Ray Biography: Early career

It did not take long for Jacqueline Ray to become famous in the fashion industry and was featured in fashion magazines. She became well-known while still a teenager in the mid to late 1960s.

Not long after, Jacqueline Ray made her way into the film industry. Back then, the film and modelling industries were not as clearly exclusive of each other as they have become in recent times. Thus, it was highly probable for models to find their way into acting.

Jacqueline Ray Biography: Film and TV career

Jacqueline Ray (also popularly called Jackie Ray) landed her debut film role in the 1967 spy adventure/comedy film titled, In Like Flint. That same year, she appeared in a Walt Disney film titled The Gnome-Mobile. However, her role as Gnome Maiden was uncredited.

A scene from 'In Like Flint' film (1967)

Following this initial success, Ray took some time off for a few years, presumably due to family reasons as she had a young family at the time. She returned to acting and modelling in 1973 and also did some voice work in animated films.

Jacqueline Ray’s most active acting period was between 1980 and 1984. Ray played a major role in the film, The Killings at Outpost Zeta in 1980. She also appeared in two episodes of Magnum, PI, a TV series that originally ran from 1980 to 1988 on CBS. Jaqueline Ray is also known for playing Dr Marcia Forrest in The New Mike Hammer that aired in 1984. Her most recent appearance was a cameo on the TV series Unfabulous in 2007.

You will find Jacqueline Ray’s filmography at the end of this article

Is Jacqueline Ray the same person as Jacqueline Bisset?

Many people mistake Jacqueline Ray for another actress named Jacqueline Bisset. However, they are not the same person. Jacqueline Ray is not Jacqueline Bisset. The actress named Jacqueline Bisset is of English origin who also worked in Hollywood.

Also, one notable difference is that while Jacqueline Ray (or Jacki Ray) appeared mostly in minor roles, Jacqueline Bisset usually played lead roles in films. Bisset was on the set of the first-ever film edition of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express in 1974.

Jacqueline Ray Biography: Personal life

Jacqueline Ray has been through three marriages, and it all began when she was still in her teens. Her first marriage was to a man named Shepard. Not much is known about her first husband, whom she married to in the late 1960s while still a model. Ray had her first child with him in 1966, a son that they named Kevin Shepard. Ray put her career on hold following the birth of her first child. Jacqueline Ray and Shepard later divorced, and the actress returned to her career after her second marriage.

Tom Selleck, Jacqueline Ray Wedding

Jacqueline Ray became Tom Selleck’s partner after she married the actor in 1971 and became his wife. Tom Selleck became famous after he played the lead role in the TV series, Magnum, PI, which we already mentioned that Ray also appeared on for two episodes. However, while many say that the couple likely met on the set of the TV series it is unlikely as they have been married for nine years before the first episode of Magnum, PI ever aired.

Jacqueline Ray and Tom Selleck at their wedding in 1971. Image: Pinterest, @Linda Sibbald Source: UGC
Jacqueline Ray and Tom Selleck at their wedding in 1971. Image: Pinterest, @Linda Sibbald Source: UGC

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Jacqueline Ray and Tom Selleck did not have any children together. However, Selleck adopted her son Kevin Shepard as his own. The couple also officially changed his name to Kevin Selleck. Kevin Selleck is also an actor, and he appeared on the TV series, Magnum, PI with his parents in 1980 as well.

Ray and Selleck were partners for 11 years before the actress allegedly filed for divorce. Many reports agree that while the couple did not officially state the cause for their split, Tom Selleck’s fame for his role in Magnum, PI was seen as the major problem. The couple divorced in 1982. Tom Selleck raised Kevin Selleck as his son.

Clarence Barry Witmer

In 1992, Jacqueline Ray married for the third time. She had remained unmarried for a decade before she and Clarence Barry Witmer tied the nuptial knots on 21st March 1992. The couple had a daughter named Umeko Roberts. Some people call her Umeko Ray. Umeko Ray was Jacqueline Ray’s second child and first daughter. With Kevin Selleck living with Tom Selleck, she had only Umeko, and they established a bond.

Umeko Ray (Umeko Roberts) marries Leon Bauchum

On 16th August 2008, Umeko Roberts got married to Leon Bauchum. The couple had two children together named Joseph Ava Rena and Elijah Leon. Umeko had a son named Brandon before her marriage to Leon Bauchum. Leon Bauchum adopted Brandon as his own as well. According to his obituary, Bauchum was born in 1978. So, he was about 30 years old at the time of his marriage to Umeko.

Watch a YouTube clip of their wedding below:

According to reports, the marriage was stormy because Leon Bauchum allegedly physically abused Umeko. A blog writes that Ray found wounds on her daughter’s face and evidence of several assaults. These incidents led to Jacqueline Ray’s decision to put an end to them by killing Leon Bauchum.

Jacqueline Ray hires an assassin to kill Leon Bauchum

A Daily Mail account reported that Ray confessed to hiring an assassin named Luis Barker, whom she paid $12,000 to kill Leon Bauchum. Bauchum died on 11th July 2012 from a gunshot wound. At the time of his assassination, Bauchum and Umeko seemed not to have been living together. Jacqueline Ray exploited the situation to lure the father of three to his death.

The details of the case revealed that Leon Bauchum’s mother-in-law had called him to come to her house so he could see his wife and children. Unknown to the victim, Barker the would-be assassin was waiting to kill him. Also, there was no evidence to prove that Umeko herself knew of her mother’s intention to kill her husband.

His murder did not seem to have gone smoothly. This was because after his body was recovered from the heaps outside Gig Harbour, it was discovered that he had been hit multiple times before he was shot dead.

During her trial, Jacqueline Ray claimed that she had been afraid for her daughter’s life at the hands of her husband.

She also pleaded for forgiveness saying: “It is my hope with my sentencing here today, with God’s mercy, everyone would someday forgive me.”

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Her daughter, Umeko Roberts also said that her mother had acted in her best interest, stating during her testimony in court:

“My mother is not an evil person. She was really trying to protect myself and my children. My mother did not do what she did because she had any hate or didn’t want me to be with Leon.”

It also appeared that Jacqueline Ray had been married a fourth time before the case that led to her incarceration. This was because the report from Daily Mail (referenced above) mentions a certain Rev. Edmond Holle Plaehn as the husband of Ray.

He too asked the court to be lenient on Ray, saying: “I ask for mercy, your honour. I ask for grace. I ask for the lightest sentence possible.”

In his ruling, the presiding judge disregarded the pleas and handed Jacqueline Ray a prison sentence of 18 years, which was less than the maximum prescribed sentence. This was likely because she had pleaded guilty to the reduced charge of second-degree murder.

Also, the assassin Luis Barker, who was an ex-con, was handed a sentence of 29 years as well. An expert report on the case stated that Jacqueline Ray would not be eligible for parole until 2024.

Final thoughts…

The biography of Jacqueline Ray reads almost like fiction. She was a small-town young woman who made it to the big city and became relatively successful both in her modelling and acting career. She killed her son-in-law to protect her daughter.

However, Jacqueline Ray’s life was not fiction, this account is a true-life story of a mother who went to jail after falling on the wrong side of the law. She took the law into her own hands to put an end to domestic abuse her daughter was going through and is now paying the price.

As of 2020, she is still serving her sentence since the court handed its verdict in 2014.

Additional information on Jacqueline Ray

List of Jacqueline Ray films/TV series filmography

  1. In Like Flint (1967)
  2. The Gnome-Mobile (1967)
  3. Frasier, the Sensuous Lion (1973)
  4. Marcus Welby, MD (1973)
  5. The Killings at Outpost Zeta (1980)
  6. Beyond the Universe (1981)
  7. Magnum, PI (1981 to 1983)
  8. Dallas (1983)
  9. Matt Houston (1983)
  10. The New Mike Hammer (1984)
Photo of author

About The Author


Obinna is a fiction writer from Lagos, Nigeria, and grew up loving comic book characters and superheroes. He watches lots of action films and writes entertainment and technology articles. He is also interested in science and how things work.

9 thoughts on “Jacqueline Ray Biography: Tom Selleck’s former partner, career, murder plot, prison & more”

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  6. This is 100% wrong. Wrong Jackie Ray. SMH. You are lucky you are not getting sued. The Jackie Ray that had her Son In Law murdered, is a black woman….. SMH.


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