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Entertainment Weekly


Magnum P.I. and Chinatown actor John Hillerman dies at 84

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John Hillerman, best known for his portrayal of stuffy Brit Jonathan Higgins, the foil to Tom Selleck’s unconventional detective on Magnum P.I., has died at his home in Texas from unknown causes, according to The New York Times. He was 84.

Born on Dec. 20, 1932 in Texas, where he was also raised, Hillerman ironically became most associated with a British character, Magnum P.I.’s by-the-book Higgins. He also portrayed the same character on episodes of Murder, She Wrote and Simon & Simon.

Hillerman began his career as a stage actor until he caught the eye of director Peter Bogdanovich, who cast him in his film debut as a teacher in The Last Picture Show. He went on to have memorable roles in films including Paper Moon, Chinatown, and Blazing Saddles.

As an actor, he is best known for his career on television. Beyond Magnum P.I., he also made memorable impressions as cocky radio show detective Simon Brimmer on the Ellery Queen series and as difficult boss Mr. Connors on One Day at a Time. Additional TV roles included stints on The Love Boat, Valerie, and The Betty White Show.

He made his final screen appearance in 1996’s A Very Brady Sequel and then retired back to his home state of Texas.