John Hillerman

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John Hillerman
Betty white show 1977.jpg
Hillerman and Betty White, 1977.
BornJohn Benedict Hillerman
(1932-12-20) December 20, 1932 (age 81)
Denison, Texas, USA
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John Hillerman
Betty white show 1977.jpg
Hillerman and Betty White, 1977.
BornJohn Benedict Hillerman
(1932-12-20) December 20, 1932 (age 81)
Denison, Texas, USA

John Benedict Hillerman (born December 20, 1932) is an American actor, known for his starring role as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on the television show Magnum, P.I.

Early life[edit]

Hillerman was born in Denison, Texas, the son of German Americans Lenora Joan (née Medlinger) and Christopher Benedict Hillerman,[1][2] a gas station owner. His father was the grandson of immigrants from Germany and France. His mother was the daughter of immigrants from Austria and Germany. Young Hillerman grew up in Denison and attended St. Xavier's Academy. After graduation, he attended the University of Texas at Austin for three years where he majored in journalism. In 1953, he joined the United States Air Force, serving for four years and achieving the rank of Sergeant. During his years of military service, he worked with various theatrical groups, and upon his discharge he moved to New York City to study at the American Theatre Wing. In 1957, he began his career in professional theater as the resident juvenile at the Chautauqua Playhouse in Middleton, Ohio.


Hillerman appeared on Broadway in 1959 and worked in live performances in a variety of venues before making his motion picture debut in 1970. He had roles in such noteworthy films as The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973), Paper Moon (1973), Blazing Saddles (1974), and Chinatown (1974). His other roles include Lucky Lady (1975), At Long Last Love (1975), and a small appearance in the comedy film Up the Creek (1984).

In 1975, he was a co-star in Ellery Queen as Simon Brimmer, a radio detective who hosted a live radio show and tried to outsmart Ellery Queen (Jim Hutton). From 1976 to 1980, he had a recurring role as Mr. Conners on the television series One Day at a Time, and he co-starred as Betty White's ex-husband on the short-lived The Betty White Show in 1977.

He is probably best remembered for his role as former British Army Sergeant Major Jonathan Quayle Higgins III ("Higgins") on the television series Magnum, P.I. (1980–1988). Hillerman learned to do the English accent of Higgins by watching and listening to the performances of Laurence Olivier.

In 1982 John Hillerman played in the T.V. pilot of Tales of the Gold Monkey, where he played a German villain by the name of "Fritz the Monocle".

In 1984, he hosted the David Hemmings - directed puzzle video Money Hunt: The Mystery of the Missing Link. In 1990, Hillerman returned to television to perform for one season as Lloyd Hogan in the series The Hogan Family. That same year, Hillerman portrayed Dr. Watson to Edward Woodward's Sherlock Holmes in Hands of a Murderer.

In 1993, he appeared in Berlin Break for one season. He played the role of Mac Mackenzie, a former spy and currently the proprietor of "Mac's", a bar in West Berlin considered to be neutral territory during the Cold War. He teamed up with two jobless spies as investigators: Valentin Renko (Nicholas Clay), an ex-KGB agent, and Willy Richter (Kai Wulff), an ex-BND (West German secret service) operative. The show also featured Jeff MacKay (who played "Mac" MacReynolds in Magnum P.I.).

Hillerman retired in 2009, and now resides in his home state of Texas.

Awards and nominations[edit]


Film and television
1970They Call Me MISTER TibbsReporterUncredited
Sweet, Sweet RachelMedical Examiner
The Last Picture ShowTeacher
1972What's Up, Doc?Hotel Manager Kaltenborn
The Carey TreatmentJenkins
The Great Man's WhiskersMajor Underwood
SkyjackedWalter Brandt
The Sixth SenseAdrian WeemsEpisode: "Once Upon a Chilling"
The Outside ManManager
MannixLarry LawtonEpisode: "Light and Shadow"
1973The Thief Who Came to DinnerEdmund Lasker
High Plains DrifterBootmaker
The Naked ApePsychiatrist
MannixJ. H. MorellEpisode: "Silent Target"
1974MaudeDrunkEpisode: "The Commuter Station"
Blazing SaddlesHoward Johnson
KojakMark GallantEpisode: "The Only Way Out"
The Nickel RideCarl
The LawThomas Rachel
1975At Long Last LoveRodney James
MannixNorman ThompsonEpisode: "Search for a Dead Man"
The Day of the LocustNed Grote
The Bob Crane ShowDean HarringtonEpisode: "The Son of the Campus Capers"
Lucky LadyMcTeague
1975-1976Ellery QueenSimon Brimmer8 episodes
1976SerpicoRaoul ChristieEpisode: "Rapid Fire"
Hawaii Five-ODonald BlairEpisode: "Man on Fire"
Wonder WomanConrad SteiglerEpisode: "Wonder Woman vs Gargantua"
1976-1980One Day at a TimeMr. Connors6 episodes
1977DelvecchioDr. Augustus HamiltonEpisode: "Licensed to Kill"
Audrey RoseScott
1977-1978The Betty White ShowJohn Elliott14 episodes
1978Hawaii Five-ONelson BodineEpisode: "A Stranger in His Grave"
Little House on the PrairieSterling MurdockEpisode: "Harriet's Happening"
The Love BoatEd Hartnett2 episodes
1980SoapMinisterEpisode: "3.12"
Young MaverickMcBurneyEpisode: "Makin' Tracks"
Hart to HartVictor SutterEpisode: "Cruise At Your Own Risk"
Tenspeed and Brown ShoeWilliam WhitneyEpisode: "Diamonds Aren't Forever"
Lou GrantSturbridgeEpisode: "Pack"
1980-1988Magnum, P.I.Jonathan Higgins158 episodes
Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Series, Miniseries or Television Film (1983, 1985, 1987-1988)
Nominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1984-1986)
1982Tales of the Gold MonkeyMonocle2 episodes
Simon & SimonJonathan HigginsEpisode: "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend"
1983The Love BoatManfredEpisode: "The Last Case"
1984Up the CreekDean Burch
1986Murder, She WroteJonathan HigginsEpisode: "Magnum on Ice"
1989Around the World in 80 DaysSir Francis Commarty3 episodes
Gummibärchen küßt man nichtPadre
1990Hands of a MurdererDr. John Watson
1990-1991The Hogan FamilyLloyd Hogan13 episodes
1992Murder, She WroteEdgar GreenstreetEpisode: "Murder on Madison Avenue"
1996A Very Brady SequelDr. Whitehead


External links[edit]