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Clarence Gilyard Jr also worked for years as a theater teacher at the University of Nevada in Las Vegas. He died at the age of 66.

Clarence Gilyard Jr, actor turned college professor and had memorable roles in diehard, Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger, is dead. He was 66 years old.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas (where Gilyard spent over 15 years as a film and theater professor) announced his passing in a statement shared Monday, November 28. No cause of death was given, but Gilyard was apparently suffering from a long illness (according to the Las Vegas Review Journal).

He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely well known in the university due to his dedication to teaching and professional achievements.said Nancy Uscher, dean of the UNLV College of Fine Arts. He had a national and international following through his famous work in theatre, film and television. His generosity of spirit knew no bounds: he was always ready to contribute to projects and shows whenever possible. »

Nate Bynum, one of Gilyard’s colleagues, added: Some may be surprised to learn that Clarence valued his appointment as a college professor as much, if not more, than his illustrious career as a television star. It was a major goal for him. He loved his UNLV family and, in particular, the students he taught in his class. Left too early “.

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Gilyard found his way into acting in the late 1970s. His efforts to start an athletic career in college failed, and his parents kicked him out due to his drug use. and drugs. He discovered a passion for acting in an acting class at university, and when he started acting professionally, the roles followed quickly.

He played a regular role in the last seasons of the detective series Chips in 1982 and 1983 and also acted in television series like The Duck Factory, 227 and Funny life. He got his first film roles in 1986, including a small role as Lieutenant Second Class Marcus “Sundown” Williams in Top Gun. In 1988, Gilyard starred as computer crime genius Theo in the classic action movie Crystal trap.

The following year, Gilyard joined the cast of the television series Matlock, where he plays Conrad McMasters, a private detective for Ben Matlock, the character of Andy Griffith. After working on the show for several seasons, Gilyard landed his biggest role: James “Jimmy” Trivette, Cordell Walker’s (Chuck Norris) partner and best friend on the show. Walker, Texas Ranger.

After the end of Walker, Texas Ranger in 2001, Gilyard moved away from Hollywood, but not comedy. He returned to school and earned an MFA in theater from Southern Methodist University. In 2006, he joined the film and theater department of UNLV as an associate professor. Although teaching took up most of Gilyard’s time, he eventually returned to acting, landing small roles in various films during the 2010s. Last year he reunited with Bruce Willis for an advertisement on the subject of diehardwhich aired during the Super Bowl.

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Jon Blisten

Translated by the editor

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