Top Gun actor Clarence Gilyard dies aged 66

Clarence Gilyard Jr, a supporting actor known for his starring roles including the blockbusters Die Hard and Top Gun and the hit TV series Walker, Texas Ranger, has died at the age of 66.

The death was announced this week by the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he taught stage and screen acting.

Additional details are not available as of Tuesday.


Clarence Gilyard (Alamy/PA)

“Professor Gilyard is a beacon of light and strength to everyone around him at UNLV,” the university’s president of film, Heather Addison, said in a statement.

“Whenever we asked him how he was, he would happily declare that he was ‘blessed’. But we are truly fortunate to have been his colleagues and students for so many years.”

Gilyard has had a wildly successful acting career, which began in the 1980s with appearances in Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts Of Life, and other shows.

He then appeared in two of the best films of the decade: Top Gun, in which he played Sundown, a radar interceptor officer; and Die Hard, when he is introduced as an evil computer thief with a lineage that includes “You didn’t bring me along because of my charming personality”.

In the 1990s, he sided with law enforcement in Matlock, co-starring Andy Griffith and Walker, Texas Ranger, starring Chuck Norris.

His other credits include The Karate Kid: Part II, the stage production of Driving Miss Daisy, and appearing alongside Bruce Willis in a commercial for the DieHard battery. Top Gun actor Clarence Gilyard dies aged 66

Fry Electronics Team

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