Friday, December 2, 2022

Clarence Gilyard Passes On

Clarence Gilyard, who played computer hacker Theo in Die Hard (1988), the title lawyer's detective Conrad McMasters on the TV series Matlock, and Ranger James Trivtte on Walker, Texas Ranger, died on November 28 2022 at the age of 66 following a long illness.

Clarence Gilyard was born on December 24 1955 in Moses Lake, Washington. As his father was an Air Force officer, he spent his childhood on military bases in Hawaii, Texas, and Florida.

He spent a year at the Air Force Academy before attending Sterling College in Kansas. He later moved to Long Beach, California where he attended California State University, Long Beach. He finished his bachelor's degree at California State University, Dominguez Hills and later received a master's degree at Southern Methodist University.

In 1979 Clarence Gilyard moved to Los Angeles to pursue acting. He made his television debut in a guest appearance on Diff'rent Strokes in 1981. In 1982 he began playing the recurring role of Officer Benjamin Webster on CHiPs. During the Eighties he also had a recurring role on the short-lived sitcom The Duck Factory. It was in 1989 that he began his run as Conrad McMasters on Matlock. He guest starred on the shows Making the Grade, Riptide, Simon & Simon, 227, and The Facts of Life. He made his movie debut in 1986 in Top Gun. In the Eighties he appeared in the movies Off the Mark (1987) and Die Hard (1988).

In the Nineties Clarence Gilyard continued to appear on Matlock. He his run as Ranger Trivtte on Walker, Texas Ranger in 1993. He guest starred on the TV show Sons of Thunder, playing Ranger Trivette. He appeared in the movie Left Behind (2000). In the Naughts he continued to appear on Walker, Texas Ranger. He appeared in the movie Left Behind: Tribulation Force (2002).

In the Teens he appeared in the movies Little Monsters (2012), Chasing Shakespeare (2013), A Matter of Faith (2014), The Track (2015), Rabbit Days (2016), The Sector (2016),  and The Perfect Race (2019). He appeared the TV movie Christmas on the Coast.

Clarence Gilyard was a talented and versatile actor. This can be seen in what may be his two best known roles. In Die Hard he played villain Hans Gruber's computer hacker Theo. Theo was arrogant and sarcastic, and a bit lacking in feelings for others (he even jokes when people die). On Matlock he played Conrad McMasters. In contrast to Theo, Conrad is easy going and good natured. He truly cares for others. Clarence Gilyard could play a variety of characters and play all of them well.

No comments: