Entertainment & Arts

John Hillerman, Magnum PI star, dies at 84

John Hillerman with Tom Selleck Image copyright Snap Stills/REX/Shutterstock
Image caption Hillerman played the caretaker of Thomas Magnum's luxurious Hawaiian residence

John Hillerman, the US actor who shot to fame as snooty English caretaker Higgins in Tom Selleck's '80s TV series Magnum PI, has died at the age of 84.

Hillerman's publicist said he died of natural causes on Thursday at his home in Houston, Texas.

Born in 1932, Hillerman started out on stage before landing small roles in such '70s classics as The Last Picture Show, Blazing Saddles and Chinatown.

But he is best known for Magnum, which won him a Golden Globe and an Emmy.

Hillerman beat several British actors to the Higgins role, which he once called "the best gig I've ever had".

He proved so convincing that he once received a fan letter from the UK describing him as "a credit to the Empire".

"I hate to disappoint you, but I'm a hick from Texas," he would write back to fans who assumed he was British.

The actor was last seen on screen playing a doctor in 1996 comedy A Very Brady Sequel.

Larry Manetti, who played bar owner Orville "Rick" Wright in Magnum, remembered Hillerman on Twitter as a "good friend".

Others tweeted tributes using pictures of 'Higgins' with his loyal Doberman Pinschers, Zeus and Apollo.

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