Die Hard movie star, Clarence Gilyard Jr passed away at the age of 66. He was popular for starring in movies such as Top Gun, Texas Ranger, Walker. He gained widespread attention for the role of Theo in Die Hard.
The news about his demise was acknowledged by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Gilyard Jr was the faculty of theater and film at the College of Fine Arts at UNLV.
Nancy J. Uscher, the Dean of UNLV said that he was a significant inspiration for the students and those who knew him. She praised his accomplishments and contributions as a professor. His achievements and talents as an individual were also recalled.
Heather Addison, the Film Chair at UNLV characterized him as a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him. Gilyard always considered him to be blessed which in fact, turned into a blessing in disguise for those around him.
Clarence Gilyard Jr was born in Moses Lake in Washington in 1955. He did his schooling in California. He served as an Air Force Academy cadet for one year and continued academic path. He graduated in BA Theater Arts from California State University. After pausing his academic graph in which he starred in shows such as Walker, Texas Ranger he resumed and earned an MFA in Theater Performance.
He is remarked as the first ever black actor to portray the role of a cheerleader in a play titled Bleacher Bums. He debuted as an actor in Hollywood with the character of Lt. (jg) Marcus “Sundown” Williams, an Grumman F-14 Tomcat radar intercept officer in the movie Top Gun.
He is also well known for his portrayal of Theo, an illicit computer brain, in the movie Die Hard.
He starred with Andy Griffith in Matlock, an American television legal drama series. Clarence played the character of Conrad McMasters, an ex-deputy sheriff and rodeo rider, who was the second private investigator of Ben Matlock. Ben Matlock by Andy Griffith is the defense attorney who was the protagonist of the series. Jr appeared in the episodes from season 4 to season 7, and also in a guest role in season 8.
He left the series for the role in Walker, Texas Ranger. Gilyard Jr was in it as sergeant James Trivette, a Texas Ranger who was the right-hand and trusted partner of Cordell Walker.
Walker, played by Chuck Norris, was an integral character of the series. Walker, Texas Ranger is a U.S. crime action series that aired from 1993 to 2001.
He had also produced and directed an episode of the crime series.
He married Catherine Dutko and was separated. He later got married to Elena Gilyard in 2001. He has 6 children.
While in college he had a membership in the Sigma Chi International Fraternity which is a platform for literary societies in North America. He also played football in college. It is an interesting fact that his Walker, Texas Ranger character James Trivette was a player for the Dallas Cowboys as their receiver.
Before moving out from his parent’s home he was invested in alcohol and women and drugs at times. In college, he worked as a waiter at a restaurant and as a sales guy at a clothing store.
He appeared as Professor Portland in A Matter of Faith, a religious moral film. His role as Bruce Barnes in Left Behind: The Movie and Left Behind II: Tribulation Force are noteworthy.
Other movie characters that gained his attention are the one in The Karate Kid Part II, James B. White in Off The Mark, Ben Foreman in Little Monsters, Jeremiah Ward in From Above, Auguste Porter in The Beast, Reverend Raines in The Sector, and Michaels Coach in The Perfect Race. He was working in The Driver.
In Television series he was cast in CHiPs, The Kid with the 200 I.Q., Things Are Looking Up, The Duck Factory, Riptide, Solomon’s Universe, Simon & Simon, 227, The Facts of Life, and many others. He was working with the TV Movie Eleanor’s Bench as the character of Reginald.
Many of his contemporaries including his co-stars paid tribute to him through social media platforms such as Twitter, and Instagram.