Clarence Gilyard Jr.

Clarence Gilyard Jr., ‘Walker Texas Ranger’ and star of ‘Die Hard, died at 66

His rep said Gilyard had not been in good health for several years.

Gilyard was his first client since 1980. He said that his two most recent projects were “Driving Miss Daisy” and “Die Hard” commercial featuring Bruce Willis in 2020.

“It is so hard to say goodbye to my friend and client of over 35 years!” Gilyard’s representative commented.

Gilyard was an actor who later became a theatre and film professor. He was a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts. In a statement, Dean Nancy J. Uscher said Monday that he had died.

Dean Uscher said, “It is with deep sadness that I share this news.” His students and all those who knew him were inspired deeply by him. His extraordinary talents were well-known at the university, as was his dedication to teaching and professional achievements. His famed work in theatre, film, and television earned him a national and international reputation.

Gilyard was a 30-year veteran actor, best known for his roles on hit series like “Matlock” or “Walker, Texas Ranger”.

Gilyard starred alongside Andy Griffith in the mystery drama “Matlock.” From 1989-1993, he was a private investigator. He appeared in 85 episodes.

He then played Jimmy Trivette on CBS’ “Walker, Texas Ranger” (1993-2001) alongside Chuck Norris.

Gilyard also starred in movies, as he played a naval officer in “Top Gun” in 1986 and “Die Hard” in 1989.

His generosity of spirit was unmatched – he was always willing to help with any project or performance. In her statement, Uscher said that Clarence will be remembered with joy and gratitude for his contributions to the College of Fine Arts and UNLV communities, as well as to the world through his remarkable personal achievements.

In 1955, Moses Lake, Washington was home to the actor “Top Gun”.

He had previously married Catherine Dutko, and he later got married to his current wife Elena Gilyard in 2001.

Gilyard was appointed associate professor in the University of Nevada, Las Vegas department of theatre in 2006.

Professor Gilyard was an example of strength and light for UNLV students. When we asked him about his life, he cheerfully answered that he was blessed! We are the ones who were truly blessed to have been his students and colleagues for so many years. Professor G, we love and will miss you deeply. Heather Addison, UNLV’s film chair, said.

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