Known for his role as James Trivette in Walker, Texas Ranger, Clarence Gilyard Jr. died at 66.
There are no further details regarding his death at the moment.
The news was confirmed by the university the actor taught film and theater at, the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
“His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him,” Dean Nancy J. Uscher said in a statement. “He had many extraordinary talents and was extremely well-known in the university through his dedication to teaching and his professional accomplishments.”
She continued, “He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in theater, film, and television. His generosity of spirit was boundless—he was always ready to contribute to projects and performances however possible. We remember Clarence with joy and gratitude for all he contributed to the College of Fine Arts, the UNLV community, and, through his impressive personal achievements, to the world.”
Gilyard Jr. was widely known for his acting capabilities, landing him starring roles in Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger, where he played Jimmy, Chuck Norris’ right-hand man. He was also known for his supporting role in Top Gun as Sundown, Chipper’s radar intercept officer (RIO). He played Pastor Bruce Barnes in the Christian films Left Behind and Left Behind 2.
“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV,” UNLV film chair Heather Addison said. “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 many years. We love you and will miss you dearly, Professor G!”
During his career as an actor, author, and college professor, Gilyard got married to Catherine Dutko, but the marriage didn’t go well and ended. In 2001, he married again, but to Elena Gilyard, and moved their family far from Hollywood life.