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Clarence Gilyard Jr., an actor best known for playing Jimmy Trivette on the iconic television show “Walker Texas Ranger,” died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada on Monday. He was 66 years-old.

Gilyard Passes Away

Gilyard’s death was confirmed by his representative, who did not reveal the cause but said that the former Die Hard actor had not been in “good health for a few years.” The representative, who had been working with Gilyard since 1980, told Fox News that the star’s final projects were the “Driving Miss Daisy” tour and the “Die Hard” battery commercial featuring Bruce Willis in 2020.

Check out that commercial for yourself in the video below.

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“I am so sad to lose my client and friend of more than 35 years!” the representative added.

Aside from acting in movies and in television, Gilyard was also a film and theater professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Fine Arts.

“It is with profound sadness that I share this news,” the school’s Dean Nancy J. Uscher said in a statement. “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,” she continued. “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.” Usher concluded. “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.” 

Gilyard’s Career

Born in Washington state in 1955, Gilyard made his television debut in 1981, guest starring in two episodes of the sitcom “Diff’rent Strokes,” according to IMDb. His big break came five years later, when he played a Naval officer in the classic Tom Cruise movie Top Gun. Gilyard later said that it was this role that helped him get cast as the criminal accomplice Theo in Die Hard in 1988.

“They’d been looking for me. This is like out of a dream,” he told KPNR two years ago. 

Gilyard went on to play a private investigator in 85 episodes of the television legal drama “Matlock” from 1989 until 1993. He was then cast as Jimmy Trevette on “Walker Texas Ranger” alongside Chuck Norris, starring on the show from 1993 until 2001. 

Gilyard later became an associate professor in the department of theatre at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2006. 

“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV,” said UNLV film chair Heather Addison. “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!”

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Gilyard Loved Teaching 

Teaching was something that brought Gilyard great enjoyment in what turned out to be his final years.

“I’m wired to teach,” he told the Las Vegas Review-Journal in 2017. “And I’m a professional, but the profession has to feed the classroom. It’s what stimulates my characters because I’m in touch with people’s lives in the 21st century.”

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

Gilyard is survived by his wife Elena, who he had been married to since 2001. 

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