Published: Mon, November 13, 2017
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Magnum PI and Chinatown actor John Hillerman dies at 84

Magnum PI and Chinatown actor John Hillerman dies at 84

A spokeswoman for the family reportedly said he died Thursday at his home in Houston.

John Hillerman, the veteran character actor best known for his Emmy and Golden Globe-winning role as Higgins in the TV series Magnum PI, has died.

"It's the best gig I've ever had", he told the Times in 1984.

A stuffy former British Army Sergeant Major, who was also the Baron of Perth, a Doctor of Mathematics and former spy, Jonathan Quayle Higgins III was the comedic foil to Tom Selleck's laidback private investigator, Thomas Magnum.

Hillerman was a rated TV actor throughout his career, and his other celebrated roles include appearances in One Day At A Time, The Betty White Show and Hawaii Five-O, as well as Murder She Wrote.

Beyond Magnum P.I., he also made memorable impressions as cocky radio show detective Simon Brimmer on the Ellery Queen series and as hard boss Mr. Connors on One Day at a Time.

When Hillerman chose to retire about 17 years ago, the actor born in Denison, Texas, returned to his native state and was content leaving Hollywood behind, said his nephew.

Hillerman used something closer to his own voice in Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, playing Howard Johnson, one of the comic Western's many Johnsons.

Prior to film and TV acting, Hillerman studied journalism at the University of Texas and became a sergeant in the Air Force. His last screen role was in A Very Brady Sequel in 1996.

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