Clarence Gilyard Jr., an actor and professor with a nearly four-decade-long career who appeared in “Top Gun,” “Die Hard,” “Matlock,” and “Walker, Texas Ranger,” passed away on November 28 at the age of 66.
In a statement, the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), where Gilyard worked as an associate professor in the College of Fine Arts, acknowledged the actor’s passing and paid tribute to his career.
In a post on Instagram on November 29, Dean Nancy J. Uscher stated, “It is with tremendous grief that I offer this news.” “All of those who knew him and his students both found great inspiration in him.
He was very well known in the university for his commitment to teaching and his professional accomplishments in addition to his numerous remarkable qualities. Through his acclaimed work in theater, film, and television, he gained a following on both a national and worldwide scale.”
Tribute to Clarence Gilyard
His spirit of kindness was limitless, she added. “He was always willing to make whatever contribution he could to tasks and performances. We are happy and grateful to remember Clarence for all he gave to the College of Fine Arts, the UNLV neighborhood, and, via his remarkable individual accomplishments, to the entire globe.”
Heather Addison, the chair of UNLV’s film department, described Gilyard as “a beacon of light and strength.” “Whenever we asked him how he was,” He would cheerfully declare that he was ‘Blessed!’ But we are the ones who were genuinely fortunate to work with him and learn from him for so long.
Nate Bynum, a theatre professor at UNLV, said that even though the actor had a distinguished career, Gilyard was very proud of his role as a teacher.
“Some may find it surprising to know that Clarence valued his appointment as a university professor as highly, maybe higher, then his illustrious career as a TV star,” Bynum said. “It was a major goal for him. He loved his UNLV family and, in particular, the students he instructed in his classroom. Gone too soon. “His cause of death is still unknown at this point.