John Benedict Hillerman (born December 20, 1932) is an American actor, known for his starring role on the television show Magnum, P.I.
Hillerman was born in Denison, Texas, the son of Lenora Joan (née Medlinger) and Christopher Benedict Hillerman, a gas station owner. 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 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 minor roles in such noteworthy films as The Last Picture Show (1971), What's Up, Doc? (1972), High Plains Drifter (1973), Paper Moon (1973), and Blazing Saddles (1974), and Chinatown (1974). His other films include Lucky Lady (1975), and made a small appearance in the comedy film Up the Creek (1984).