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‘Top Gun’ and ‘Die Hard’ star Clarence Gilyard Jr., dies at 66

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Muere Clarence Gilyard Jr, estrella de Top Gun y Die Hard, a los 66 años
  • Clarence Gilyard Jr. dies.
  • He had been battling illness for a long time.
  • He is remembered for his roles in the movies Top Gun and Die Hard.

MOURNING IN THE WORLD OF SHOW BUSINESS. Famed actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., who starred in blockbuster films Top Gun and Die Hard, has passed away at age 66 after battling illness for a long time.

The University of Nevada Las Vegas confirmed the death of Clarence Gilyard Jr. in a statement. He had moved away from the spotlight to dedicate himself to his work as a professor of cinema and theater at the Faculty of Fine Arts at UNLV.

Top Gun and Die Hard star Clarence Gilyard Jr. dies at 66

Clarence Gilyard Jr, star of Top Gun and Die Hard, dies at 66
Photo: Twitter

“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength to all around him,” commented UNLV film director Heather Addison after the devastating news of his death. “Every time we asked him how he was doing, he would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’”

Addison added that Gilyard was truly appreciated at the university and was sorry for his passing. “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 so much, Professor G!”

Top Gun and Die Hard

Clarence Gilyard Jr, star of Top Gun and Die Hard, dies at 66
Photo: Twitter

Clarence Gilyard Jr. made his film debut in 1986 appearing in Top Gun, starring Tom Cruise. He played Lieutenant Marcus ‘Sundown’ Williams. The role fit him well as Gilyard comes from a military family and also grew up between the Air Force bases in Hawaii, Texas and Florida.

Later, in 1988, he played Theo, Hans Gruber’s computer hacker, the bad guy in the movie Die Hard, which starred Bruce Willis. Although it was a supporting role, some consider it one of his most outstanding performances, according to the Daily Mail.

Cinema, television and theater

Photo: Twitter

Gilyard is also recognized for his work on the small screen as he starred with Chuck Norris in the CBS western action-crime series, Walker, Texas Ranger, in which he played James Trivette, a former American footballer turned Ranger.

The series enjoyed popularity and its 196 episodes were broadcast from 1993 to 2001, Variety recalled. Also, not satisfied with his career in film and television, Gilyard had outstanding roles in the theater.

A love for teaching

Photo: Twitter

Gilyard ended up falling in love with the academic world. After two decades working in Hollywood, he took a sabbatical to pursue an MFA in theater, but was later invited to become an associate professor at UNLV in 2006 and remained there until his death because he found it “too much fun”.

“My manager-agent is not happy that I’m not working, but university is too much fun,” he said in 2010. According to the Daily Mail, Gilyard was suffering from a long illness, but no further details about his death were provided. Clarence Gilyard Jr, star of Top Gun and Die Hard, dies at 66.

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