Who was Clarence Gilyard Jr and what films did he star in? Die Hard actor dies at 66

Clarence Gilyard Jr got his big break in the first Top Gun film   (Twentieth Century Fox)
Clarence Gilyard Jr got his big break in the first Top Gun film (Twentieth Century Fox)
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Hollywood star Clarence Gilyard Jr has died at the age of 66 on November 28, 2022.

His passing was confirmed by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he was working as a film and theatre professor at its College of Fine Arts.

From Die Hard to Top Gun, Gilyard made a name for himself through his many film, television and stage appearances.

Here is an extensive look at who Clarence Gilyard Jr was and all the movies he appeared in.

Who was Clarence Gilyard Jr?

Gilyard was born into a military family in Washington state on Christmas Eve in 1955. His father was an air force officer. His childhood was spent at various air force bases across the US including Hawaii and Florida.

After spending a year as an Air Force Academy cadet, he majored in acting at California State University as part of his undergraduate studies, then he attended Southern Methodist University on its theatre performance master of fine arts programme.

His first official acting credit came in 1981 when he made appearances in the TV series Diff’rent Strokes.

He took on a number of TV roles including playing Officer Benjamin Webster in CHiPs and Roland Culp in The Duck Factory alongside Jim Carrey.

After a number of TV gigs, the star made the jump from the small screen to movies.

Which films did Clarence Gilyard Jr star in?

Clarence Gilyard Jr’s first movie was Top Gun in 1986, when he played Sundown. Years later, he reprised his role in a little-seen unofficial short, Top Gun 2: Back to Traffic School. He was the only member of the original cast to appear. He also made appearances in The Karate Kid II and Off the Mark.

However, Die Hard made him a household name when he played Theo, a criminal computer expert who is the film’s only surviving villain. He reprised the role in a short movie entitled DieHard is Back.

Gilyard then starred in Left Behind: The Movie and Left Behind II: Tribulation Force as Bruce Barnes, and in the Walker, Texas Ranger movies as James Trivette.

Other movies in his filmography are as follows.

  • Ben Foreman in Little Monsters (2012)

  • Jeremiah Ward in From Above (2013)

  • Professor Portland in A Matter of Faith (2014)

  • Psychiatrist in The Track (2015)

  • Auguste Porter The Beast (2016)

  • Reverend Raines in The Sector (2016)

  • Coach Michaels in The Perfect Race (2019)

The star was said to be filming a TV movie entitled Eleanor’s Bench and the movie The Driver before his death was confirmed.

It is unclear what will happen to his parts in these films.