Actor Clarence Gilyard, famous for roles in “Top Gun” and “Die Hard”, has passed on at the age of 66.
His death was announced on Monday in a statement from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where he had been working as an associate professor at the College of Fine Arts.
Gilyard’s career spanned more than 30 years in film, television and theater. His first movie role was as Sundown in the original “Top Gun” (1986), and he later made a lasting impression in 1989’s “Die Hard” as wise-cracking computer whiz baddie Theo.
On television, Gilyard co-starred opposite Andy Griffith in legal drama Matlock from 1989-1993, appearing in 85 episodes as private investigator Conrad McMasters. Then, from 1993-2001, he starred with Chuck Norris as Jimmy Trevette in CBS’ Walker, Texas Ranger.
“It is with profound sadness that I share this news,” Dean Nancy Uscher said in the statement shared on Instagram.
“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.”
UNLV film chair Heather Addison remembered Gilyard as a “beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV.”
She added: “Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’ But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years. We love you and will miss you dearly, Professor G!”