John Hillerman

John Benedict Hillerman (1932 - 2017)

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John [uncertain] Benedict [uncertain] "Jack Ben" [uncertain] Hillerman
Born in Denison, Grayson County, Texas, United Statesmap
Ancestors ancestors
Brother of [private sister (unknown - unknown)] [half]
[spouse(s) unknown]
[children unknown]
Died in Houston, Harris County, Texas, United Statesmap
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Profile last modified | Created 10 Nov 2017
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John Benedict Hillerman (December 20, 1932 – November 9, 2017) was an American actor best known for his starring role as Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on the television show Magnum, P.I. that aired from 1980 to 1988. For his role as Higgins, Hillerman earned five Golden Globe nominations, winning in 1981, and four Emmy nominations, winning in 1987. He retired from acting in 1999.


John was born on 20 DEC 1932 in Denison, Texas. His parents were Christopher Benedict Hillerman, a gas station owner, and Lenora Joan (née Medlinger), who owned a beauty salon. Having developed an interest in opera at the age of 10, John would travel to Dallas to watch Metropolitan Opera productions. After attending St. Xavier's Academy, he attended three years at the University of Texas in Austin as a journalism major.

John attended St. Xavier's Academy,[4] and after graduation, he attended the University of Texas at Austin for three years, majoring in journalism.

Between 1953 and1957, John served in the United States Air Force doing maintenance in a B-36 wing of the Strategic Air Command. Hillerman achieved the rank of sergeant. When he became bored with barracks life, Hillerman worked with a Fort Wayne theatrical group in order to meet the town people. He discovered that he really liked acting.

After he was discharged in 1957, he moved to New York City to study with the American Theater Wing and perform in professional theater. He stayed in New York for twelve years, during which time he starred in over 100 lead roles, yet, since he couldn't make a living as a stage actor there, he moved to Hollywood in 1969.

He passed away in 2017.


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No known carriers of John's ancestors' Y-chromosome or mitochondrial DNA have taken yDNA or mtDNA tests and no close relatives have taken a 23andMe, AncestryDNA, or Family Tree DNA "Family Finder" test.

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Images: 2
Photo of John Hillerman and Betty White from The Betty White Show.
 Photo of John Hillerman and Betty White from The Betty White Show.

John Hillerman, who played Higgins, opposite Tom Selleck in Magnum PI
John Hillerman, who played Higgins, opposite Tom Selleck in Magnum PI


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