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Top Gun actor Clarence Gilyard dies aged 66

Clarence Gilyard Jr in a scene from Die Hard (Alamy/Twentieth Century Fox)
Clarence Gilyard Jr in a scene from Die Hard (Alamy/Twentieth Century Fox)

Clarence Gilyard Jr, a popular supporting actor whose credits include the blockbuster films Die Hard and Top Gun and the hit television series Walker, Texas Ranger, has died at the age of 66.

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

Additional details were not immediately available Tuesday.

Clarence Gilyard (Alamy/PA)

“Professor Gilyard was a beacon of light and strength for everyone around him at UNLV,” the school’s film chair, Heather Addison, said in a statement.

“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.”

Gilyard had a prolific career as an actor, starting in the 1980s with appearances in Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts Of Life and other shows.

He then appeared in two of the biggest movies of the decade: Top Gun, in which he played Sundown, a radar intercept officer; and Die Hard, when he was featured as a villainous computer thief whose one liners included “You didn’t bring me along for my charming personality”.

In the 1990s, he was on the side of law enforcement in Matlock, playing opposite Andy Griffith, and Walker, Texas Ranger, which starred Chuck Norris.

His other credits include The Karate Kid: Part II, a stage production of Driving Miss Daisy and an appearance alongside Bruce Willis in a commercial for DieHard batteries.