Clarence Gilyard Jr, Top Gun and Die Hard actor, dies aged 66

Clarence Gilyard, actor known for playing computer hacker Theo in die hard and naval flight officer Marcus “Sundown” Williams in Top Gunspassed away at the age of 66.

His death was announced on Monday in a statement from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he worked as an associate professor at the College of Fine Arts.

“I am deeply saddened to share this news,” Dean Nancy Uscher said in a statement. shared on Instagram.

“His students were deeply inspired by him, as were everyone who knew him. He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely popular in the university for his dedication to teaching. and his professional achievements.

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UNLV Film President Heather Addison remembered Gilyard as a “beacon and strength to everyone around him at UNLV”.

She added: “Whenever we asked him how he was, he would happily declare that he was ‘So lucky!’ But we are indeed the lucky ones to have been your colleagues and students for so many years. We love you and will miss you very much, Professor G!”

No further details surrounding his death have been made public.

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Clarence Gilyard at the Directors Association 2001 in Los Angeles, California.
Clarence Gilyard is best known for her roles in Die Hard and Top Gun. (wire picture)

According to UNLV, Gilyard ventured into acting after studying Dramatic Art at California State University. He got his first role in a TV show different blows in 1981.

In 1986, Gilyard made his film debut in Top Gunsin which he plays Sundown, one of the elite fighter pilots.

Clarence Gilyard Jr, Top Gun and Die Hard actor, dies aged 66
Clarence Gilyard Jr starred in 1986’s Top Gun with Tom Cruise. (Paramount’s photo)

Two years later, he was cast as Theo, the computer expert who helps Hans Gruber’s terrorist group, in the horror film. die hard.

He took a big break from television in 1989, when he took on the role of Conrad McMasters on the NBC series Legal. lock, starring Andy Griffith. He later played Chuck Norris’ crime-fighting partner Jimmy Trivette on Walker, Texas Ranger.

Gilyard’s acting credits also include Karate Boy Part II, CHIPS and leave behind film.

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Clarence Gilyard Jr, Top Gun and Die Hard actor, dies aged 66
Clarence Gilyard plays a computer expert in Die Hard. (20th century fox)

Despite his successful acting career, Gilyard quit acting in 2006 to begin teaching at UNLV and directing productions at the university’s Nevada Conservatory Theatre.

“I have the ability to teach. And I’m a professional, but this profession has to feed the classroom. That’s what excites my characters because I’m in touch with people’s lives in the 21st century, ‘ he told The New York Times. Las Vegas Review-Magazine in 2017.

“I work best as an artist when I’m in a fertile arena. That means being creative and imaginative. Being with all those millennials. – I don’t understand what they’re saying but I’m draining their energy.”

However, he returned to the screen briefly in 2021, when he reunited with Bruce Willis and De’voreaux White in a die hard commercial batteries.

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James Winburn on August 24, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.

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