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Clarence Gilyard, ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ ‘Matlock’ and ‘Die Exhausting’ Actor, Dies at 66 – Hollywood Reporter

Clarence Gilyard, a veteran actor who had notable roles in Die Exhausting, Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger who would later turn out to be a theater professor and creator, has died. He was 66.

The College of Nevada, Las Vegas School of Superb Arts, the place Gilyard taught, introduced his demise on Monday afternoon, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. He had been affected by an extended sickness. No additional particulars had been launched.

In a wealthy and various profession that spanned 5 many years, Gilyard achieved success in movie, tv and on stage. For movie followers, he’s maybe greatest recognized for enjoying Theo, Hans Gruber’s cocky laptop hacker in 1988’s Die Exhausting. Within the Nineties, Gilyard was a well-known face on primetime tv, first for enjoying personal investigator Conrad McMasters on the authorized drama Matlock after which, in a career-defining function, as Ranger James Trivette within the long-running sequence Walker, Texas Ranger.

Born Clarence Darnell Gilyard Jr. in 1955, in Moses Lake, Washington, he grew up as an Air Drive brat. He entered the U.S. Air Drive Academy after highschool however left after a yr. He attended Sterling School in Kansas, enjoying large receiver for the soccer group, however couldn’t afford to remain there and moved to California. Gilyard then enrolled at Cal State College, Lengthy Seaside, and signed up for an appearing class.

Making progress with appearing, Gilyard dropped out of school and appeared in minor tv roles together with NBC’s Diff’hire Strokes. He additionally performed Officer Ben Webster within the final season of ChiPs within the 1982-83 season after which performed Roland Culp, reverse Jim Carrey on NBC’s failed pilot The Duck Manufacturing facility.

Gilyard’s huge TV break got here in 1989 when he landed the function of Conrad McMasters on the NBC authorized drama Matlock starring reverse a boyhood hero in Andy Griffith. “Andy might have chosen any one among a thousand guys to be his accomplice for 4 seasons and he selected me,” Gilyard told the Review-Journal in 2017. “Andy was humorous and a raconteur and a craftsman. I don’t assume I used to be humorous earlier than him. He would educate me comedian timing.”

Changing the fired Kene Holliday, Gilyard performed Ben Matlock’s second personal investigator in almost each episode from seasons 4 to seven, with visitor appearances in season eight, for a complete of 96 episodes.

'Walker, Texas Ranger'

Clarence Gilyard and Chuck Norris in ‘Walker, Texas Ranger’


He left Matlock in 1993 to star in CBS’ Walker, Texas Ranger, the tv sequence Gilyard is most carefully related to. Starring reverse Chuck Norris’ Walker, Gilyard performed Texas Ranger Sergeant James “Jimmy” Trivette, the protagonist’s greatest pal and accomplice. A phenomenally in style present, Walker, Texas Ranger ran for eight seasons — a complete of 203 episodes — and spawned a 2005 tv movie, Trial by Hearth, that featured a cameo by Gilyard.

His different notable TV credit embody NBC’s The Information of Life and 227, CBS’ Simon & Simon and a supporting function in Michael Mann’s extremely influential tv film L.A. Takedown.

Gilyard’s first movie look got here in 1986 and was the not-insignificant function of Lieutenant Junior Grade Marcus “Sunset” Williams, one of many elite fighter pilots in Tony Scott’s monster hit Prime Gun.

Gilyard’s best-known film function got here in John McTiernan’s motion traditional Die Exhausting (1988), enjoying tech whiz Theo who’s a key a part of Hans Gruber’s band of terrorist thieves. He revived his function as Theo for a well-received Die Hard battery commercial that aired throughout Tremendous Bowl LV in February 2021. The advert noticed Gilyard reunite with Die Exhausting co-star Bruce Willis in addition to De’voreaux White (limo driver Argyle).

After showing in Die Exhausting, Gilyard targeted primarily on tv work and didn’t have one other outstanding film function until he landed the a part of Bruce Barnes within the faith-based franchise Left Behind.

An avowedly spiritual man and convert to Catholicism, Gilyard appeared in 2000’s Left Behind and the 2002 sequel Left Behind II: Tribulation Drive. He additionally appeared within the 2014 faith-based drama A Matter of Religion.

Within the mid-2000s, after the tip of Walker, Texas Ranger, Gilyard stepped away from appearing and switched to instructing display screen and theater appearing at UNLV in 2006 and directing productions on the Nevada Conservatory Theatre. On why he moved into instructing, Gilyard advised the Evaluation-Journal, “I met my spouse, received married, then we had youngsters, and my first two youngsters didn’t have me. I used to be out appearing on a regular basis — 15 straight years on community tv. However the dedication to my household and my spouse is paramount. I knew if I didn’t work on the wedding that it wouldn’t work.”

“[Gilyard’s] college students had been deeply impressed by him, as had been all who knew him. He had many extraordinary abilities and was extraordinarily well-known within the college by his dedication to instructing and his skilled accomplishments,” UNLV School of Superb Arts Dean Nancy Uscher stated in a press release to the Evaluation-Journal. “His generosity of spirit was boundless — he was at all times able to contribute to initiatives and performances nonetheless doable.”

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