Fans of ’80s TV are in mourning with the sad news that ‘Magnum P.I.’ co-star John Hillerman has died at the age of 84. We’ve got the details on his passing.
Another one of our beloved TV stars from the past has left us, as Magnum P.I. star John Hillerman has died at the age of 84. No cause of death has been released, but he passed away at his home in Houston, TX on Nov. 9 his family’s spokesperson told the Associated Press. Fans of the Hawaiian set show will always remember him as Higgins, the uptight caretaker of Robin’s Nest, where Tom Selleck‘s private investigator character Thomas Magnum lived in the estate’s guest house. Hillerman was nominated for Best Supporting Actor in a TV Series at the Emmy Awards four times for his role on the show, finally winning in 1987. The iconic series aired on CBS from 1980 through 1988, and made an international sex symbol out of Selleck.
Hillerman made a career of playing uptight, pompous types and he was absolute perfection as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III. He portrayed the fastidious, rule loving caretaker, and Magnum was the perfect foil with his laid-back ways and penchant for breaking the rules. His character was so popular that the network brought it to other CBS series including Murder She Wrote and Simon & Simon. Prior to Magnum, Hillerman appeared as Bonnie’s boss on the ’70s sitcom One Day at a Time and the director and ex-husband on The Betty White Show. See pics of the saddest celebrity deaths of 2017, here.
Hillerman was born in Denison, TX, and after a four-year-sting in the Air Force moved to New York to study acting at the American Theatre Wing. He later honed the perfect snooty upper crust accent that he brought to many roles while doing stage work in Ohio at the Cincinnati Playhouse. He ended up onscreen for the first time at the age of 39, pretty late in many actor’s careers, landing small parts in the 1971 Western flick Lawman. as well as a bit part in director Peter Bogdanovich‘s iconic film The Last Picture Show. He had roles in such classic films as Mel Brooks‘ Blazing Saddles in 1974 and the Jack Nicholson thriller Chinatown that same year. But it was Magnum P.I. that ended up making Hillerman a household name.
HollywoodLifers, share your favorite John Hillerman moments on Magnum P.I. in our comments.