Washington [US], November 29 (ANI): Hollywood star Clarence Gilyard Jr., best known for his roles in projects like 'Walker, Texas Ranger' and 'Die Hard' has passed away at 66.
According to Variety, a US-based news outlet, no further details about his death are available at this time. In a statement, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, acknowledged Gilyard's passing. Gilyard was a professor of theatre and film at UNLV's College of Fine Arts.
"Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him," UNLV film chair Heather Addison said in a report by Variety. "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!"An accomplished actor who has appeared in films, television shows, and plays, Gilyard made a lasting impression in the 1980s after a string of guest-star TV roles. He made his acting debut as Sundown in "Top Gun," and he exuded a gleeful menace as the terrorist computer genius Theo in "Die Hard." He landed a regular role in "Matlock" in 1989, playing Conrad McMasters, a private investigator for Andy Griffith's chief criminal defense lawyer.
According to Variety, before leaving "Matlock" in 1993 to play Jimmy Trivette, the gruff sergeant's right-hand man on CBS' Western crime series "Walker, Texas Ranger," Gilyard appeared in 85 episodes of "Matlock." The eighth season of the show had 196 episodes, and he was in all of them. Gilyard continued to appear in other movies and TV episodes until the show's finale in 2001.
As per a report by Variety, Gilyard, who was born on December 24, 1955, in Moses Lake, Washington, was raised by military parents and spent his boyhood living on several air bases across the country before his family moved to California. Gilyard studied acting at California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Dominguez Hills after spending a year as a cadet at the Air Force Academy. He also attended Sterling College.
Gilyard returned to education later in life, becoming an associate professor in the department of theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, in 2006. A "Walker, Texas Ranger" episode was directed and produced by Gilyard as well. Gilyard was previously married to Catherine Dutko. He married Elena Gilyard in 2001. (ANI)