‘Top Gun,’ ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ actor Clarence Gilyard Jr. dies

Actor Clarence Gilyard Jr. has died.

He was 66.

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Gilyard had appeared in several popular films and television including “Die Hard,” “Top Gun” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” CNN reported.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas announced Gilyard’s death. He had been teaching as an associate professor at the College of Fine Arts.

“It is with profound sadness that I share this news,” Dean Nancy Uscher said on Instagram. “His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him. He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely well-known in the university through his dedication to teaching and his professional accomplishments.”

Gilyard was born in 1955 in Moses Lake, Washington, and eventually moved to California where he attended high school, Deadline reported.

Gilyard majored in Theater Arts at California State University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts, according to UNLV.

He had his first acting role on “Diff’rent Strokes” in 1981, according to his IMDb page. He transitioned to the big screen in 1986 in “Top Gun” as Sundown.

Gilyard played computer hacker Theo as part of Hans Gruber’s terrorist group in “Die Hard.”

Gilyard went back to television in 1989 as Conrad McMasters on “Matlock” opposite Andy Griffith, appearing in 85 episodes, Variety reported. Gilyard left “Matlock” to take on the role of Jimmy Trivette, Chuck Norris’ partner, on “Walker, Texas Ranger.”

In 2006 Gilyard started teaching at UNLV and directing productions at the school’s Nevada Conservatory Theatre, CNN reported. But he continued acting in several shorts, television movies and feature films, according to IMDb.

A cause of death has not been released, CNN reported.

Gilyard leaves behind his wife, Elena Gilyard, Variety reported.



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