Clarence Gilyard Jr Dead At 66 - Best Known In 'Top Gun' And 'Die Hard'
Clarence Gilyard Jr, an actor who was best known for his long, important role on "Walker, Texas Ranger" and his scene-stealing role as Theo, the hacker for the heist crew in "Die Hard" has passed away. Clarence Gilyard Jr dead at 66. He died on Monday after a long illness.
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 theater.
Clarence Gilyard Jr Dead At 66
Clarence Gilyard, 'Top Gun' and 'Die Hard' actor, dead at 66
Clarence Gilyard Jr, who was in movies like "Top Gun" and "Die Hard," died on Monday after getting sick. He was 66. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he taught film and TV since 2006, told the world about his death. Dean Nancy J. Uscher and the UNLV College of Fine Arts said Monday,
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It is with profound sadness that I share this news, his students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him. He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in the theatre, in film, and television. His generosity of spirit was boundless - he was always ready to contribute to projects and performances however possible.
- Dean Nancy J. Uscher
Heather Addison, who is in charge of film at UNLV, said:
Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV. Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was 'Blessed!' But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years. We love you and will miss you dearly, Professor G!
- Heather Addison
Gilyard has been in movies and on TV for many years. He played Sundown in 1986's TopGun and the evil computer genius Theo in 1989's Die Hard.
In 2020, he played the Die Hard character again in a commercial for Advanced Auto Parts. The commercial was made to celebrate the fact that the company had bought the DieHard battery brand.
In an interview with Nevada Public Radio, Gilyard said that being in the commercial with John McClane, who is played by Bruce Willis, was a "surreal" experience.
Gilyard also played private eye Conrad McMasters in 85 episodes of the crime drama Matlock, in which he co-starred in with Andy Griffith from 1989 to 1993.
Before Matlock, I really struggled with the comedy aspect of acting, I stuck to Andy like glue during the four years we worked together and he taught me so much. Anything I do comedic I owe to working with him.
- Clarence Gilyard Jr
Gilyard said of his co-star, who he had grown up watching on The Andy Griffith Show, "He was a surrogate father on television." They stayed close until Griffith died in 2012. Gilyard later played Jimmy Trevette on the CBS action-adventure show Walker, Texas Ranger, which ran from 1993 to 2001. The show starred Chuck Norris.
After the show was over, he went to Southern Methodist University to get an MFA (Master of Fine Arts) in Theatre Performance. He then went on to teach film and theater at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas' College of Fine Arts.
Don Mesick played Wally Wooster, Jay Tarses played Mary Fenneman, Jack Gilford played Brooks Carmichael, Clarence Gilyard, Jr. played Roland Culp, Nancy Lane as Aggie Aylesworth, Julie Payne as Aggie Aylesworth (front, l-r) Jim Carrey as Skip Tarkenton, Teresa Ganzel as Mrs. Sheree Winkler.
I'm wired to teach. And I'm a professional, but the profession has to feed the classroom, It's what stimulates my character because I'm in touch with people's lives in the 21st century.
- Clarence Gilyard Jr
Gilyard was still working as an actor when he died. He was in the middle of making the TV movie Eleanor's Bench. The Guardian said on Tuesday that he had been sick for a long time. The newspaper also said that he had six children and had married Elena Gilyard, his second wife, in 2001.
The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, said in a statement that actor and fine arts professor Clarence Gilyard had died. He was known for his standout roles in action movies and TV shows in the 1980s and 1990s. Gilyard was 66 years old. He taught film and theater at the university.
Gilyard was a good actor on film, TV, and in the theater. 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.