Die Hard and Top Gun star Clarence Gilyard dies at 66

Clarence Gilyard Jr., an actor best known for his roles in “Walker, Texas Ranger” and “Die Hard,” has passed away. He had lived for 66 years. At this time, we don’t know more about how he died.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said in a statement that Gilyard had died. Gilyard was a professor at the UNLV College of Fine Arts, where he taught film and theatre.

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Heather Addison, in charge of film at UNLV, said that Professor Gilyard was a source of light and strength for everyone around him. “Every time we asked him how he was doing, he would happily say, ‘Blessed!’ But we were lucky to work with him and learn from him for many years. Professor G, we love you and will miss you very much.

Gilyard was a good actor on film, TV, and in the theatre. In the 1980s, he made a lasting impression with a series of guest star TV roles, his film debut as Sundown in “Top Gun,” and his role as Theo, the terrorist computer whiz, in “Die Hard,” which he played with gleeful menace. In 1989, he got a regular role on prime-time TV with “Matlock.” His character, Conrad McMasters, was a private investigator who worked for Andy Griffith’s top criminal defense lawyer.

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Gilyard was in 85 episodes of “Matlock” before leaving the show in 1993 to play a bigger part in “Walker, Texas Ranger.” He played Jimmy Trivette, the tough sergeant Chuck Norris’s right-hand man. He was in all 196 episodes of the eighth season of the show. Gilyard kept acting after the show ended in 2001. He did so in several movies and TV shows.

Gilyard was born on December 24, 1955, in Moses Lake, Washington. He grew up as a military brat, moving around to different air bases in the U.S. before his family moved to California. After a year as a cadet at the Air Force Academy, Gilyard went to Sterling College, then California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Dominguez Hills, where he got a bachelor’s degree in acting.

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Gilyard returned to school later in life and became an associate professor in the theatre department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2006. Gilyard also worked as a producer and director. He was in charge of an episode of “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

Gilyard was married to Catherine Dutko in the past. In 2001, he got married to Elena Gilyard.