Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Godspeed Richard Gilliland

Richard Gilliland, who played Jonesy on The Waltons and J. D. Shackleford on Designing Women, died on March 18 2021 at the age of 71 after a brief illness.

Richard Gilliland was born on January 23 1950 in Fort Worth, Texas. He attended the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago. He portrayed Jesus in the Broadway production of Godspell. Afterwards he moved to Los Angeles. He made his television debut in the TV movie Unwed Father in 1974.

In the Seventies he played the regular role of Sgt. Steve DiMaggio on the TV series McMillan & Wife and the lead role of Lt. Nick Holden on Operation Petticoat. He guest starred on the shows The Streets of San Francisco; Medical Center; Marcus Welby, M.D.; The Blue Knight; Visions; Little Women; and Trapper John, M.D. He appeared in the movies Bug (1975), Stay Hungry (1976), and The White Buffalo (1977).

In the Eighties Mr. Gilliland appeared in the semi-regular role of Jonesy on The Waltons, played one of the leads in the short-lived sitcom Just Our Luck, appeared as J. D. Shackleford on Designing Women, and appeared in the recurring role of Jeffrey Milgrom on Thirtysomething. He guest starred on the shows Love Boat; Fantasy Island; Hotel; St. Elsewhere; Mary; Hunter; Night Court; Valerie; CBS Summer Playhouse; Heartbeat; and Christine Cromwell. He appeared in the movies Airpolane II: The Sequel (1982), Happy Hour (1986), and Escape (1990).

In the Nineties Richard Gilliland guest starred on the shows Equal Justice; Jake and the Fatman; Davis Rules; Murder, She Wrote; Winnetka Road; Under Suspicion; Matlock; Touched by An Angel; Dark Skies; Early Edition; Brooklyn South; The Practice; Party of Five; and Judging Amy. He was a guest voice on Batman: The Animated Series. He appeared in the movies Playing Dangerous 2 (1992) and Star Kid (1997).

In the Naughts he guest starred on Becker, Joan of Arcadia, Crossing Jordan, 24, The Unit, Dexter, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, and Desperate Housewives. He appeared in the movies Home Room (2002) and Vampire Clan (2007). In the Teens he was a regular on Imposters. He guest starred on the TV shows Torchwood, Scandal, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Highly Evolved Human, and Criminal Minds. He appeared in the movies Parts Per Billion (2014) and Case 347 (2020).

Over the years Richard Gilliland played many affable characters, such as Jonesy on The Waltons, Lt. Holden on Operation Petticoat, and J. D. Shackleford on Designing Women. That having been said, he was capable of playing other sorts of roles. Indeed, on Matlock he played a role as far as way from Jonesy or J.D. as one could get, serial killer Jeffrey Speidel. He played the role convincingly and may well have been the only villain to appear once more  time on the show. From time to time he also played characters who were well left of centre. In the CSI: Crime Scene Investigation episode "Rubbery Homicide" he played a man who dressed up as a female rubber doll. Richard Gilliland had a gift for playing amiable, well-adjusted characters such as Jonesy and J.D., but his talent was such that he could play characters that were as far from being amiable or well-adjusted as possible.




Terence Towles Canote said...

I am aware of that, but I don't usually mention marriages in my eulogies.