Actor Clarence Gilyard Jr, dead at 66

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Actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., known for roles in movies like “Top Gun” and TV shows “Matlock” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” has died at the age of 66.

The University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Gilyard worked as a film and theatre professor, announced his passing Monday.

“It is with profound sadness that I share this news,” said Dean Nancy J. Uscher, UNLV College of Fine Arts, in a news release. “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.”

The aforementioned release did not include a cause of death.

Gilyard was featured in two of the biggest action movies of the ‘80s, as the pilot Sundown in “Top Gun” and the technical expert Theo in “Die Hard.” He also found success on the small screen, appearing in 85 episodes of “Matlock” and in 196 episodes of the original “Walker” among nearly 40 acting credits, per IMDb.

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