NEW YORK (AP) — Clarence Gilyard Jr., a popular supporting actor whose credits include hit movies “Die Hard” and “Top Gun” and hit TV series “Matlock” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” died at age 66.
His death was announced this week by the University of Nevada in Las Vegas, where he taught theater and film. Additional details were not immediately available on Tuesday.
“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength to all around him at UNLV,” the school’s film president, Heather Addison, said in a statement. “Every time we asked him how he was, he would happily say, ‘Blessed!’ But we are truly the ones who have had the good fortune to be his colleagues and his students for so many years.
Gilyard was from Moses Lake, Washington. He had a prolific career as an actor, beginning in the 1980s with appearances on “Diff’rent Strokes”, “The Facts of Life” and other shows. He then appeared in two of the biggest films of the decade: “Top Gun,” in which he played Sundown, a radar intercept officer, and “Die Hard,” when he was cast as a villainous maven of the computer which one of the stunt doubles included “You didn’t bring me in for my charming personality.
In the 1990s, he was on the law enforcement side in “Matlock,” starring opposite Andy Griffith, and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” which starred Chuck Norris. His other credits include ‘The Karate Kid: Part II’, a staging of ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and an appearance alongside ‘Die Hard’ star Bruce Willis in a commercial for DieHard Drums.
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