The world of entertainment has lost a trailblazer. On Monday evening, the University of Nevada at Las Vegas revealed that actor Clarence Gilyard Jr. had passed away. At this time, no cause of death has been confirmed.
“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,” UNLV Dean Nancy J. Uscher said, per Deadline.
Gilyard Jr. is an actor and author whose career dates back more than 40 years. Throughout his time in Hollywood, he appeared in a number of iconic television series, including Different Strokes, Matlock and Walker, Texas Ranger. In 1986, he made his debut on the big screen as Sundown in Top Gun. Afterward, he appeared in The Karate Kid Part II, Die Hard and Off The Mark. More recently, he had ventured into academia as a professor at UNLV.
“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV. 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 so many years,” Heather Addison of UNLV said, per Deadline.
Gilyard Jr. leave behind six children, dozens of students and millions of fans. He was 66 years old.