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29th Nov 2022

Top Gun and Die Hard star Clarence Gilyard dies aged 66

Steve Hopkins

‘A beacon of light and strength for everyone around him’

Top Gun and Die Hard legend Clarence Gilyard Jr has died, the University of Nevada has confirmed. He was 66.

Clarence passed away following a “long illness”, according to reports.

He had a glittering Hollywood career spanning 30 years and was best known for his role as computer hacker Theo in Die Hard and as naval flight officer Marcus ‘Sundown’ Williams in Top Gun.

Clarence had been working as a professor at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas as a film professor since 2006.

The university confirmed his death to the Las Vegas Review-Journal, saying: “His generosity of spirit was boundless — he was always ready to contribute to projects and performances however possible.”

UNLV College of Fine Arts Dean Nancy Uscher told the outlet: “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.”

Film chair Heather Addison said: “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!”

Clarence was also known for his role as Conrad McMasters in the hit drama Matlock between 1989 and 1993, as well as appearing in 1990s crime drama Texas Ranger.

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