You Knew Him From Die Hard, Top Gun

Actor, professor Clarence Gilyard dies at 66
By Arden Dier,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 29, 2022 12:01 PM CST

Clarence Gilyard, an actor with roles in classic 1980s movies Die Hard and Top Gun, who went on to become a film and theater professor, has died at age 66. Best known as the computer hacker Theo, who helped terrorists break into Nakatomi Plaza's vault in 1989's Die Hard, Gilyard also played naval flight officer Marcus "Sundown" Williams in 1986's Top Gun, and Texas Ranger James Trivette, the partner of Chuck Norris' Cordell Walker, in TV's Walker, Texas Ranger from 1993 to 2001, per Fox News. He also played a private investigator in 85 episodes of Matlock from 1989 to 1993 and had roles in other movies, including The Karate Kid Part II, per CNN.

His death from an unspecified illness was announced Monday by the University of Las Vegas, Nevada, where Gilyard had worked as a professor in the College of Fine Arts since 2006, per TMZ. Dean Nancy J. Uscher described "profound sadness" at his passing, noting "his students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him." He was "a beacon of light and strength," added film chair Heather Addison. "Whenever we asked him how he was, he would cheerfully declare that he was 'Blessed!'" A rep for Gilyard confirmed he died at his Las Vegas home, adding he hadn't been in "good health for a few years," per Fox. (More obituary stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.