Clarence Gilyard, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Star, Dies at 66

Clarence Gilyard, ‘Die Hard’ and ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’ Star, Dies at 66


Clarence Gilyard, actor “Best known for playing computer hacker Theo”.Die hard” and Naval Officer Marcus “Sandown” Williams “Top Gun,” died at the age of 66.

His death was announced Monday in a statement from the University of Nevada (UNLV) in Las Vegas, where he was an associate professor in the College of Fine Arts.

“It is with great sadness that I share this news,” Dean Nancy Ussher said in a statement shared on Instagram. “He was greatly inspired by his students, as were all who knew him. He had many unique talents and was very popular at the university for his commitment to teaching and his professional achievements.”

UNLV Film Chair Heather Addison remembered Gilyard as “a beacon of light and strength to everyone around her at UNLV.”

He added: “When we asked him how he was doing, he happily said, ‘Blessed!’ used to say. But we are the ones who were lucky enough to be his colleagues and students for many years. We love you and miss you so much, Professor G!”

No other details about his death have been released.

Gilyard turned to acting after studying theater arts at California State University, according to UNLV. He played his first role in 1981 in the television show “Diff’rent Strokes”.

In 1986, Gilyard made his debut in Top Gun, playing the role of Sandown, one of the elite fighter pilots.

Two years later, he played the role of Theo, a computer expert who helps Hans Gruber’s terrorist group in the thriller Die Hard.

He got his big TV break in 1989 when he played Conrad McMasters in the NBC legal drama Matlock, co-starring Andy Griffith. He then went on to portray Chuck Norris’ crime-fighting partner Jimmy Trivett in Walker, Texas Ranger.

Gilyard’s acting credits also include The Karate Kid Part II, CHiPS, and Left Behind.

Despite a successful acting career, Gilyard retired from acting in 2006 and began teaching at UNLV and directing productions at the university’s Nevada Conservatory Theater.

“I am ready to teach. And I am a professional, but the profession should feed the class. That’s what motivates my characters because I’m dealing with people’s lives in the 21st century,” he said. Las Vegas Review Magazine in 2017.

“I work best as an artist when I’m in a fertile arena. It means creativity and imagination. Being with these millennials, I don’t understand what they’re saying, but I’m absorbing their energy.”

However, he made a brief return to the screen in 2021, reuniting with Bruce Willis and De’Vorho White for a Die Hard battery commercial.

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