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”.