Clarence Gilyard Jr Death: A Star of “Die Hard” and “Top Gun,” Died at 66!

Clarence Gilyard Jr Death: Clarence Darnell Gilyard Jr. was an American university professor, actor & author. Some sources list his middle name as Alfred & he has worked in cinema, TV & theatre. Gilyard played Conrad McMasters, Ben Matlock's second private investigator, on the legal drama series Matlock from 1989-1993; Pastor Bruce Barnes in the Left Behind movie trilogy; Cordell Walker's Texas Ranger partner, James “Jimmy” Trivette, on the 1990s crime drama Walker, Texas Ranger; Theo, the terrorist computer expert, in Die Hard; & Lieutenant Evan “Sundown” Gough on Top Gun.

Real Name
Clarence Darnell Gilyard Jr.
Birth Place
Moses Lake, Washington
Date Of Birth 24 December 1955
Eisenhower High School
College Sterling College
Professor, Actor, and Author
Died on 28 November 2022

Clarence Gilyard Jr's Early Life

Born on Christmas Eve 1955 to Barbara and Clarence Darnell Gilyard Sr., a U.S. Air Force officer, Gilyard was raised in a military home. Among his family of six, Gilyard was the second. His family was originally from New Orleans, Louisiana, but Gilyard grew up on Air Force stations in Hawaii, Texas, & Florida.

Clarence Gilyard Jr Death

With his high academic achievement, he graduated from high school in 1974 & then spent a year as a cadet at the Air Force Academy before leaving to attend Sterling College. He joined Sigma Chi fraternity and played football at the collegiate level. He was awarded a tennis scholarship but did not use it, instead choosing to forego his education.

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Gilyard was distracted from high school by his interest in women, drink & occasionally narcotics while living at home with his parents. In response to parental pressure, he and a friend uprooted to Long Beach, California. He studied acting at Cal State Long Beach & got a job waiting tables as he looked for roles. He graduated from California State University, Dominguez Hills with a bachelor's degree.

Clarence Gilyard Jr Death

28 November, 2022 marked the passing of Clarence Gilyard Jr., star of such films as Top Gun and Die Hard. He was 66. He had been sick for long time. The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he had been teaching cinema and television since 2006, released news of his passing.

Clarence Gilyard Jr Death

With “deep grief,” UNLV College of Fine Arts Dean Nancy J. Uscher announced the news on Monday. All who knew him, including his students, were profoundly moved by his example.

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Uscher chimed in, “He had a national and worldwide following thanks to his acclaimed work in theatre, cinema, and television.” His willingness to help out with events and productions in whatever manner he could speaks volumes about his character.

Clarence Gilyard Jr's Career

In 1979, Gilyard gave a concert in LA. He was “the first black actor to play a cheerleader” in Bleacher Bums and then went on to pursue a career in tv.  Gilyard made his film debut in Top Gun as LT. Marcus “Sundown” Williams, an F-14 Tomcat radar intercept officer. In the second instalment of the Karate Kid franchise, he portrayed a military guy. Theo from “Die Hard.”

Clarence Gilyard Jr Death

In 1993's Walker, Texas Ranger, he teamed up with Chuck Norris again. Gilyard portrayed Walker's best buddy, Texas Ranger Jimmy Trivette. Norris ended up marrying Gilyard's associate district attorney fiancée, despite the fact that Gilyard had a girlfriend. Gilyard appears in Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.

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Acting in small, indie films again in 2012, Gilyard is back. A Matter of Faith, a religious film he directed in 2014. Alongside Sheree J. Wilson in Popejoy Hall on January 17, 2016, Gilyard played Hoak Colburn as part of the University of New Mexico's Neil Simon Festival's production of Driving Miss Daisy.

In Madden NFL 2018, Gilyard plays the role of “Longshot” high school coach Devin Wade. Two years later, Gilyard starred as Theo in an advertisement for Advance Auto Parts' DieHard brand of car batteries alongside Bruce Willis. Gilyard was on faculty at UNLV's Theatre Department.