Die Hard and Top Gun actor Clarence Gilyard Jr dies aged 66

American actor and author Clarence Gilyard Jr, who appeared in the classic films Top Gun and Die Hard, has passed away at the age of 66.

Clarence’s representative confirmed his death with Fox News and said that he died at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada. His rep also said the actor hasn’t been in “good health for a few years”, however, the cause of death remains unknown.

Clarence Gilyard Jr.
Actor Clarence Gilyard Jr has died aged 66. Photo: Getty

“I am so sad to lose my client and friend of more than 35 years!” Clarence’s rep shared.

Clarence began his career as an actor in 1979 and made appearances in film, television and stage productions. He’s best known for his roles in the legal series Matlock and the crime series Walker, Texas Ranger alongside Chuck Norris, as well as playing Lieutenant Marcus ‘Sundown’ Williams in Top Gun and Theo in Die Hard.

In 2020 he reprised his role as the wisecracking computer hacker from Die Hard alongside Bruce Willis’ John McClane in a commercial for car batteries.


In his later years, Clarence became a film and theatre professor teaching at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV) College of Fine Arts. The college’s dean Nancy Usher announced the news of his death in a statement on Monday.

“It is with profound sadness that I share this news,” she said. “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.

“He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in the theatre, in film, and television.”

Clarence Gilyard Jr in Die Hard and Top Gun
Clarence is well known for his roles in Die Hard and Top Gun. Photos: Twentieth Century Fox / Getty

UNLV film chair Heather Addison described Clarence as “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!’,” she added. “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 is survived by his second wife Elena, who he wed in 2001, and his six children.

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