Clarence Gilyard Jr. has passed away at age 66.
The “Top Gun” and “Die Hard” star’s career spanned more than 30 years, with him working as a film and theatre professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ College of Fine Arts, before he died.
No cause of death has been given as of yet, Deadline reported.
UNLV Dean Nancy J. Uscher of Gilyard said of the late star, “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.
“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.”
UNLV film chair Heather Addison added, “Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV. 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!”
Gilyard Jr. played naval flight officer Marcus “Sundown” Williams in 1986’s “Top Gun”, before starring as computer hacker Theo in 1988’s “Die Hard”.
Among numerous other projects over the years, he also played Conrad McMasters in the TV series “Matlock” from 1989 to 1993, as well as starring as James Trivette in “Walker, Texas Ranger” from 1993 to 2001.