Clarence Gilyard Jr Dies at 66 : ‘Walker, Texas Ranger,’ ‘Matlock’ & ‘Die Hard’

Clarence Gillard Jr, an actor and academic best known for roles in TV series such as Walker, Texas Ranger and Matlock, and films including Die Hard and Top Gun, has died.

He was 66 years old. The University of Nevada Las Vegas College of Fine Arts, where Gillard was a professor of film and theatre, shared the news but did not give a cause of death.

Gillard's career in film, television and theater spanned more than 30 years.

His first film role was as Sundown in the original Top Gun (1986), and he later made a lasting impression as Theo, the wise-cracking computer whiz baddie in 1988's Die Hard.

On television, Gillard co-starred with Andy Griffith in the 1989–93 legal drama Matlock, appearing in 85 episodes as private investigator Conrad McMasters.

Then, from 1993–2001, he starred opposite Chuck Norris as Jimmy Trevett in CBS' Walker, Texas Ranger.

Gillard was born in 1955 in Moses Lake, WA, and attended high school in California.

He earned a BA in Theater Arts from California State University, moving to Los Angeles in the late 70s to pursue an acting career.

After Walker, Texas Ranger, Gillard took a sabbatical from acting and completed an MFA in Theater Performance at Southern Methodist University, later joining the UNLV College of Fine Arts.

In 2020, Gillard reprized the role of Die Hard's Theo in a super-sized commercial for Advanced Auto Parts celebrating the acquisition of the Diehard Battery brand.