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Magnum, P.I. Actors You May Not Know Passed Away

From the beautiful views and the fast-paced action to the hilarious bickering and the lovable characters, the original "Magnum, P.I." series truly has it all. The 1980 series stars Tom Selleck as a private investigator named Thomas Magnum and portrays the eponymous character's various escapades on the Hawaiian island of Oahu. Whether he's chasing bad guys down the Pali Highway in his 1984 Ferrari 308 GTS or flirting with beautiful women on the beaches of Waikiki, Thomas Magnum has been a hero to many television audiences in the decades since the series first premiered.

Some people are probably curious what happened to various stars of the series in the more than 30 years since the series ended. Though Selleck still appears healthy on the same network in "Blue Bloods", sadly, not all of his "Magnum, P.I." cast mates have been as blessed with as much longevity. Here are some "Magnum, P.I." cast members that are sadly no longer with us.

John Hillerman played Higgins

The only regular cast member of the original "Magnum, P.I." series that is now deceased is John Hillerman, who played Jonathan Quayle Higgins III on all eight seasons of the CBS series. Though Higgins is a snob of the highest order and ostensibly the exact opposite of Magnum, he is also one of the private investigator's closest friends and most reliable partners. Throughout the series, Magnum and Higgins live on the property of Robin Masters, a character who is often referenced, but never directly seen. At various points throughout the series, it is hinted that Higgins, who works as Robin's estate manager, could actually in fact be Robin Masters, himself. In Season 8, Episode 13 ("Resolutions: Part II"), Higgins admits that he is Robert Masters, but later denies it.

Though Hillerman portrayed a Brit on "Magnum, P.I.," the actor was actually born in Denison, Texas and served in the United States Air Force for a total of four years. Hillerman made a variety of guest-starring roles on television series throughout the 1970s and 1980s, including 14 episodes of the 1977 CBS sitcom "The Betty White Show." However, the thespian did not limit himself to the small screen and took on a significant number of film roles as well, including appearances in "Blazing Saddles," "Chinatown," and "A Very Brady Sequel." The last of those films ultimately served as his final on-screen role (via IMDb).

Hillerman retired from acting in 1999 and died at his home in Houston, Texas at the age of 84 in 2017 (via New York Times). According to TMZ, Hillerman died as a result of heart disease. According to Find A Grave, Hillerman's remains were donated to the University of Houston for the purposes of benefiting medical science research.

Gillian Dobb played Agatha Chumley and a few other characters

Throughout her life, actress Gillian Dobb only appeared in a total of three different Hollywood productions, but because continuity wasn't as important to television audiences during Dobb's time on television, she actually played a total of six different parts, including four different parts on "Magnum, P.I." 

Dobb first appeared in Season 2, Episode 8 ("Mad Buck Gibson") as Nona Barnes. The actress later returned as Sylvia, the Desk Clerk at the Belvedere Club in Season 2, Episode 20 ("The Elmo Ziller Story") and as Mabel in Season 3, Episode 2 ("Ki'is Don't Lie"). Fans of the series will most likely remember her for her 29 appearances in the role of Agatha Chumley, a friend of Higgins. Dobb's other jobs in Hollywood included a brief, one-episode stint during the final season of the original "Hawaii Five-O" (in which she was mistakenly credited as "Gillian Dubb [sic]") and the role of Mary Jane in a 1985 TV movie called "Gidget's Summer Reunion" (via IMDb). 

Dobb last appeared in "Magnum, P.I" in Season 8, Episode 13 ("Resolutions: Part II"), which served as the final episode of the CBS series. The episode, which aired on May 8, 1988, also marked Dobb's last on-screen appearance, prior to her death on March 31, 2001 at the age of 71. The actress was laid to rest next to her mother, Phyllis. Dobb's sister, Valerie, was buried next to her three years later (via Find A Grave).

Kwan Hi Lim played Lieutenant Yoshi Tanaka

Prior to becoming an actor, Maui-born Korean-American actor Kwan Hi Lim actually worked as an attorney, before appearing in a number of small roles in various television series throughout the seventies and eighties. Like Gillian Dobb in "Magnum, P.I.," Lim played multiple roles throughout his time on "Hawaii Five-O." According to IMDb, Lim played more than twenty different roles on "Hawaii Five-O," including a judge named after himself. 

However, Lim only played one role on "Magnum, P.I." On that series, Lim portrayed Lieutenant Yoshi Tanaka in a whole 23 different episodes between Season 2 and Season 7. Lim also portrayed the character in the 1986 "Murder She Wrote" crossover and returned for three episodes of Season 8 of "Magnum, P.I." Sadly, Lieutenant Tanaka is murdered in Season 8, Episode 4 ("Tigers Fan") and Magnum is forced to solve his murder.

According to the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, Lim continued practicing family law until five years after the 1988 conclusion of "Magnum, P.I." Lim died at the age of 86 on December 22, 2008 (via Find A Grave).

Jeff MacKay also played more than one role

Jeff MacKay is another actor who played more than one role on the original "Magnum, P.I." According to IMDb, in addition to playing the role of Magnum's late Navy buddy Lieutenant McReynolds, MacKay is also credited as playing the roles of Jim "Mac" Bonnick, Ski, TV News Reporter, and the Coroner. MacKay was so beloved by the crew of "Magnum, P.I." that the writers invented a variety of methods to bring him to the series after the Season 3 death of Lieutenant McReynolds. These methods included everything from doppelgängers to dream sequences and ghosts. Many of MacKay's television roles saw him reunite with "Magnum, P.I." creator Donald P. Bellisario, including a recurring role in 12 appearances on "JAG" and a series regular role on all 22 episodes of "Tales of the Golden Monkey." Additionally, MacKay appeared in three-episodes of the original "Battlestar Galactica." 

Sadly, MacKay died of liver failure on August 22, 2008 (via Variety). He was 59 years old and was living in Tulsa, Oklahoma at the time of his death. According to the Magnum Mania forum, MacKay had been in ill health for sometime and was in search of a liver transplant at the time of his death. He was subsequently buried next to his mother, Elizabeth, in Kyle, Texas. Neill MacKay, Jeff's father, died in 2016 and was buried in the same cemetery (via Find A Grave). 

Glenn Cannon played two doctors

According to IMDb, Glenn Cannon played both Dr. Ibold and Dr. Bernard Kessler in various episodes of "Magnum, P.I." While the actor is credited as Dr. Ibold in 13 of his 14 appearances, he made his "Magnum, P.I." debut in Season 1, Episode 7 ("Never Again... Never Again") as Dr. Bernard Kessler. It appears that whenever "Magnum, P.I." needed a doctor to deliver medical information, Cannon was the man the crew turned to. In addition to his recurring role on "Magnum, P.I.," the actor appeared in a number of other Hawaii-centric series, including three episodes of "Lost," four episodes of "Island Son," and 32 episodes of "Hawaii Five-O." Cannon made his first on-screen appearance in a 1956 TV series called "Playwrights '56" and took on a number of other roles over the years, including in 1962's "Combat," 1989's "Jake and the Fatman," and a variety of other films and television series.

Cannon also dedicated 45 years of his life to teaching theatre students at the University of Hawaii. According to Rate My Professors, Cannon's dedication to his craft earned him both the praise and scorn of his students. While some reviews call Cannon "mean," others say he was "an amazing teacher." One review left by a student on September 1, 2010 says, "Glenn is an awesome teacher. He is very kind and understanding. It is a beginner level acting class, so you can't expect Hollywood quality, but you will have fun."

According to the Honolulu Star Adviser, Cannon died on April 20, 2013 at the age of 80. Cannon's obituary states that he was survived by his wife, Sam Sil Cannon; a son, Caleb Cannon; and a granddaughter, Kassidy Wong-Cannon.