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Hillerman and Betty White, 1977.
|Born||John Benedict Hillerman
December 20, 1932
Denison, Texas, USA
Hillerman was born in Denison, Texas, the son of German Americans Christopher Benedict Hillerman, a gas station owner, and Lenora Joan (née Medlinger). 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 on 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 has been a long-time bachelor, saying "When I was a young struggling actor I couldn't afford a wife. And now I'm so set in my ways at the age of 44 no woman would live with me". However, in the 1970s, Hillerman had an actress girlfriend who shared his distaste of marriage. He now stays away from the spotlight and irregularly attends events. Hillerman retired in 2009, and now resides in his home state of Texas.
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.).
Awards and nominations
|1982||Magnum, P.I.||Best Supporting Actor in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV||Nominated|
|1984||Magnum, P.I.||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|1985||Magnum, P.I.||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|1986||Magnum, P.I.||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Nominated|
|1987||Magnum, P.I.||Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series||Won|
|1970||They Call Me MISTER Tibbs||Reporter||Uncredited|
|1971||Sweet, Sweet Rachel||Medical Examiner||Television film|
|1971||The Last Picture Show||Teacher|
|1972||What's Up, Doc?||Hotel Manager Kaltenborn|
|1972||The Carey Treatment||Jenkins|
|1972||The Great Man's Whiskers||Major Underwood||Television film|
|1972||The Outside Man||Manager|
|1973||The Thief Who Came to Dinner||Edmund Lasker|
|1973||High Plains Drifter||Bootmaker|
|1973||Paper Moon||Deputy Hardin/Jess Hardin|
|1973||The Naked Ape||Psychiatrist|
|1974||Blazing Saddles||Howard Johnson|
|1974||The Nickel Ride||Carl|
|1974||The Law||Thomas Rachel||Television film|
|1975||At Long Last Love||Rodney James|
|1975||The Day of the Locust||Ned Grote|
|1984||Up the Creek||Dean Burch|
|1989||Gummibärchen küßt man nicht||Padre|
|1990||Hands of a Murderer||Dr. John Watson||Television film|
|1996||A Very Brady Sequel||Dr. Whitehead|
|1972||The Sixth Sense||Adrian Weems||Episode: "Once Upon a Chilling"|
|1972||Mannix||Larry Lawton||Episode: "Light and Shadow"|
|1973||Mannix||J. H. Morell||Episode: "Silent Target"|
|1974||Maude||Drunk||Episode: "The Commuter Station"|
|1974||Kojak||Mark Gallant||Episode: "The Only Way Out"|
|1975||Mannix||Norman Thompson||Episode: "Search for a Dead Man"|
|1975||The Bob Crane Show||Dean Harrington||Episode: "The Son of the Campus Capers"|
|1975–1976||Ellery Queen||Simon Brimmer||8 episodes|
|1976||Serpico||Raoul Christie||Episode: "Rapid Fire"|
|1976||Hawaii Five-O||Donald Blair||Episode: "Man on Fire"|
|1976||Wonder Woman||Conrad Steigler||Episode: "Wonder Woman vs Gargantua"|
|1976–1980||One Day at a Time||Mr. Connors||6 episodes|
|1977||Delvecchio||Dr. Augustus Hamilton||Episode: "Licensed to Kill"|
|1977–1978||The Betty White Show||John Elliott||14 episodes|
|1978||Hawaii Five-O||Nelson Bodine||Episode: "A Stranger in His Grave"|
|1978||Little House on the Prairie||Sterling Murdock||Episode: "Harriet's Happening"|
|1979||The Love Boat||Ed Hartnett||2 episodes|
|1980||Young Maverick||McBurney||Episode: "Makin' Tracks"|
|1980||Hart to Hart||Victor Sutter||Episode: "Cruise At Your Own Risk"|
|1980||Tenspeed and Brown Shoe||William Whitney||Episode: "Diamonds Aren't Forever"|
|1980||Lou Grant||Sturbridge||Episode: "Pack"|
|1980–1988||Magnum, P.I.||Jonathan Higgins||158 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, 1987-88)
Nominated—Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series (1984-86)
|1982||Tales of the Gold Monkey||Monocle||2 episodes|
|1982||Simon & Simon||Jonathan Higgins||Episode: "Emeralds Are Not a Girl's Best Friend"|
|1983||The Love Boat||Manfred||Episode: "The Last Case"|
|1986||Murder, She Wrote||Jonathan Higgins||Episode: "Magnum on Ice"|
|1989||Around the World in 80 Days||Sir Francis Commarty||3 episodes|
|1990–1991||The Hogan Family||Lloyd Hogan||13 episodes|
|1992||Murder, She Wrote||Edgar Greenstreet||Episode: "Murder on Madison Avenue"|
- "John Hillerman Biography". filmreference.com. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- Sheff, David (April 18, 1983). "The Lean Years Are Over for John Hillerman, Who's Finding a Magnum of Success in Hawaii". people.com. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- Quttman, Monika (June 17, 1987). "'Higgins' Not Really British". Tribune Media Services. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- Scott, Vernon (October 14, 1977). "John Hillerman Enjoys Being A Bachelor". Boca Raton News. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "‘Las Vegas’ will seem like a ‘Magnum, P.I.’ reunion". lasvegassun.com. August 10, 2007. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- Potts, Kim (December 10, 2010). "'Magnum P.I.' Cast: Where Are They Now?". aoltv.com. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "IMDb profile". Retrieved September 1, 2014.
- "Nominees/Winners". emmys.com. 1984. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "Nominees/Winners". emmys.com. 1985. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "Nominees/Winners". emmys.com. 1986. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
- "Nominees/Winners". emmys.com. 1987. Retrieved July 4, 2014.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to John Hillerman.|
- John Hillerman at the Internet Movie Database
- John Hillerman at the Internet Broadway Database
- John Hillerman at the Internet Off-Broadway Database