John Hillerman, most famous for playing Higgins the snooty butler in Magnum, P.I. opposite Tom Selleck, died Thursday aged 84, his publicist said.
The cause of death was not immediately known.
According to TMZ, he died at his home in Houston.
Hillerman's nephew remembered his uncle fondly, saying: 'He had an outstanding sense of humor and was one of the most well-read people I ever met.
The stage-trained actor first made an impression as arrogant radio show detective Simon Brimmer on the NBC revival of "Ellery Queen" in 1975. But it was his role as the British caretaker Jonathan Quayle Higgins III, or simply "Higgins" on "Magnum P.I".
When Hillerman chose to retire about 17 years ago, the actor born in Denison, Texas, returned to his native state and was content leaving Hollywood behind, said his nephew.
He appeared on other televisions show including "The Betty White Show", "The Love Boat" "Valerie" and "Murder She Wrote".
The role earned him five Golden Globe nominations, including a win in 1981, and four Emmy nominations, with a win in 1987. He worked in many films, including Clint Eastwood's "High Plains Drifter", Mel Brooks' "Blazing Saddles", and Roman Polanski's "Chinatown". Also that year, he had a small role as a teacher in Peter Bogdanovich's The Last Picture Show. The actor's final appearance was in the 1996 film "A Very Brady Sequel". Four years later he was discharged and moved to New York City to hone his craft.