Clarence Gilyard Jr., 66, who starred in 'Die Hard' and 'Top Gun', has passed away

American actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., star of the films "Die Hard" and "Top Gun", died at the age of 66.

by Faruk Imamovic
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Clarence Gilyard Jr., 66, who starred in 'Die Hard' and 'Top Gun', has passed away

American actor Clarence Gilyard Jr., star of the films "Die Hard" and "Top Gun", died at the age of 66. The actor, who turned his back on Hollywood a long time ago, in order to devote himself to teaching, was ill for a long time.

However, the details of the illness Clarence died of have not been published, the Independent reported. "It is with profound sadness that I share this news," Dean Nancy J. Uscher and the UNLV College of Fine Arts said Monday.

"His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him." "He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in the theatre, in film, and television," added Uscher. "His generosity of spirit was boundless — he was always ready to contribute to projects and performances however possible." The former Hollywood star, known for hit titles such as "Die Hard" and "Top Gun", as well as the series "Walker, Texas Ranger", worked for a long time as a professor of film and theater arts at the University of Nevada, at the College of Arts.

Heather Addison, UNLV’s film chair, added:

“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him. 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!” The actor, born in Washington, before acting in films, first tried his hand at television.

But it is interesting that he originally wanted to be a pilot and spent a year at the Air Force Academy, before enrolling in acting studies. He made his debut on the big screen in the hit film "Top Gun" with Tom Cruise in 1986.

In another blockbuster titled "Die Hard" just a few years later he played alongside Bruce Willis. He also played in the series "Matlock", and one of the roles that marked his acting career was the one in the series "Walker, Texas Ranger", alongside Chuck Norris.

He played in almost 200 episodes of this series, which stopped airing in 2001 after ten seasons. But five years later he turned his back on Hollywood and joined the Department of Theater at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Besides being a professor, he also worked as a producer and director.

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