Die Hard and Top Gun Star Clarence Gilyard Dies Aged 66

Sadly, actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., known for his roles in films such as Top Gun and Die Hard as well as TV programs such as Texas Ranger and Matlock, has passed away. The university where Clarence taught drama, the University of Nevada, announced the devastating news. He was 66 years old and no cause of death has yet been determined.

Nearly half of Clarence Gilyard's life was spent in the film industry, switching between films and television programs. Clarence's film career began in 1986 with his performance as Sundown in Top Gun. However, he shot to notoriety with his role as Theo in the 1989 picture Die Hard.

Who is Clarence Gilyard?

Born in Moses Lake, Washington in 1955, Clarence Gilyard attended school in California. His parents, who desired to see him free from alcohol, drug, and female addiction, requested that he move to California.

Clarence Gilyard obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Theater Arts from California State University and came to Los Angeles in the late 1970s to pursue an acting career. His family was from Louisiana, although he spent the majority of his childhood in Hawaii, Texas, and Florida. He reared Lutheran but later converted to Catholicism in the 1990s.

Die Hard and Top Gun Star Clarence Gilyard Dies Aged 66

In the past, he spent a year as an Air Force Academy cadet before enrolling at Sterling College. There, he was known for his football skills and was a member of the fraternity.

As for his television roles, Clarence played private investigator Conrad McMaster opposite Andy Griffith in the courtroom drama Matlock, which aired from 1989 to 1993 and premiered 85 episodes. Clarence co-starred opposite Chuck Norris as Jimmy Trivette in the 1993 CBS television series Texas Ranger.

Clarence Gilyard took a brief break from performing after Texas Ranger and went on to earn an MFA in Theater Performance from Southern Methodist University's UNLV College of Fine Arts.

The college dean, Nancy J. Usher, stated that Clarence's students were profoundly influenced by their professor, who possessed numerous outstanding abilities and was renowned throughout the entire university for his extraordinary commitment to teaching and personal achievements.

She went on to say that Clarence Gilyard's generosity has no bounds, as he was always willing to contribute to performances and initiatives in whatever capacity. “We remember him with affection for his contributions to the College of Fine Arts and his personal accomplishments,” he stated.

Heather Addison, chair of the UNLV film department, remarked, “Professor Clarence Gilyard was a guiding light and a source of strength for all at UNLV.”

Die Hard and Top Gun Star Clarence Gilyard Dies Aged 66

According to Heather, he frequently responded to inquiries about his well-being with the word “blessed.” But now she says, “We are the ones who are actually fortunate to have been his students and coworkers for so many years. Heather referred to him as “Professor G” and stated that they will miss and continue to love him.

In addition to the two, scores of his students have paid respect to him on social media, and based on what they have written, it is evident what sort of lecturer he was. His manner toward his students is the primary reason he is so well-regarded.

Clarence reprised his role as Die Hard's Theo in a jumbo-sized advertisement for Advance Auto Parts in 2020, which was celebrating its acquisition of the Diehard battery bands. It featured John McClane, De'voreaux, and Clarence in the advertisement. During the time period, Clarence reportedly told Nevada Public Radio that he experienced “surreal” encounters.

Clarence Gilyard had two spouses and six children during his lifetime. Catherine Dutko was his first wife, but their marriage was dissolved before it could endure. In 2001, he wed once more. His second wife, Elena, resided with the professor for a considerably longer period of time.

During that time, he served as the communications committee's consultant for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. On November 28, 2022, the 66-year-old man was proclaimed deceased.