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Beloved "Walker, Texas Ranger" and "Die Hard" Star Clarence Gilyard, Jr. Dead at 66

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Actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., who appeared in “Die Hard” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” has died at 66.

His death was confirmed by a representative, according to Fox News. No cause of death was announced.

Gilyard appeared as the character Sundown in the 1986 film “Top Gun”  prior to starring as Theo in 1988’s “Die Hard.”

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Gilyard appeared on  “Matlock” from 1989 to 1993, as investigator Conrad McMasters.  His next role was James “Jimmy” Trivette in “Walker, Texas Ranger” from 1993 to 2001, according to his IMDb profile.

Gilyard moved into academia, teaching at the Univesity of Nevada, Las Vegas beginning in 2006.

In a 2017 interview with the Las Vegas Review-Journal, he spoke about playing with Andy Griffith in “Matlock.”

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“Andy could have chosen any one of a thousand guys to be his partner for four seasons, and he chose me. Andy was funny and a raconteur and a craftsman. I don’t think I was funny before him,” he said.

“He would teach me comic timing. He would come into my trailer and say, ‘Let’s take a look at the arc of this joke.’ He would say things like, ‘You know you don’t have a point of view in this joke.’ And I love directing comedy because I hear him all the time,” he said.

He shared what he called his motto at the time.

“I use this is my class: ‘The only time success precedes work is in the dictionary,’” he said.

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In 2018, Gilyard spoke about his faith in an interview posted on Congregation of the Mission.

“I have come to realize that my approach to this life is necessarily evolving: evolving and maturing into a critical daily request to our good God to help me make mine, my life and my labors, my work, a prayer. Adopting St. Paul’s invitation to ‘pray without ceasing,'” he said.

“Since taking this mentality, my life seems to contain many diverse and complex things,” he said.

During the interview, he spoke about the potential of art to transform the world.

“What we pray for comes to fruition when we observe the collaboration between the young and old in common causes, in fellowship, in doing the work of God. Because as art, across all ages, is inspired, created and developed, it tells our commonness as a common story,” he said.

Gilyard’s passing was announced by Nancy J. Uscher, dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts.

“It is with profound sadness that I share this news,” she said, according to Fox. “His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him. He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely well-known in the university through his dedication to teaching and his professional accomplishments. He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in the theatre, in film, and television.”

“His generosity of spirit was boundless — he was always ready to contribute to projects and performances however possible. We remember Clarence with joy and gratitude for all he contributed to the College of Fine Arts, the UNLV community, and, through his impressive personal achievements, to the world.”.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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