Die Hard and Walker Texas Ranger actor Clarence Gilyard has died. The 66-year-old may best be remembered for starring in nearly 200 episodes of the Chuck Norris adventure series on CBS as the title character’s partner and best friend.
During the very first episode of Walker, Texas Ranger, actor Chuck Norris’ character is more than a little skeptical of his new partner, James “Jimmy” Trivette. By the end, he wouldn’t trust anyone else.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal was first to report Gilyard’s death after a long illness. Norris has yet to comment on any of his social media platforms.
Clarence Gilyard as Jimmy Trivette on Walker, Texas Ranger
Gilyard’s “Jimmy” was a former football player from the “wrong side of the tracks” in Baltimore. As a Black man who prioritized his heath — during their first meeting, he’s described as a “juice-itarian” — he contrasts everything Walker stands for, but they soon learn they are equals working for the same cause. He modernized Cordell Walker’s approach to crime-fighting with a reliance on technology, but over time proved to be just as capable with his fists as the former Marine.
During the Season 8 series finale, Jimmy proposes to his girlfriend and together they look ready to build a life for themselves. Gilyard would make a brief appearance as Jimmy Trivette in the 2005 film Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire.
Clarence Gilyard as Theo in Die Hard
In Die Hard, Gilyard didn’t star opposite Bruce Willis as much as he stood against his John McClane. “Theo” was part of bad guy Gruber’s team of terrorists. Once again his character was good with computers, to the point that he was able hack into entrances and vaults. In 2021 he and Willis teamed for a Die Hard battery commercial that aired during Super Bowl LV.
The Washington native starred in far more television shows than major motion pictures, although he may also be remembered as Marcus “Sundown” Williams in Top Gun with Tom Cruise.
Other Clarence Gilyard Roles
Late in life, Gilyard became a film professor at UNLV, but during his film, television and theater career, he landed several significant roles, including on shows like CHiPs and the Duck Factory. For four years prior to his time on Walker, Texas Ranger, he was Matlock’s partner Conrad McMasters on NBC’s Matlock starring Andy Griffith.
The Hollywood Reporter also points out that he had roles in 227, The Facts of Life and Simon & Simon. No additional information about Gilyard’s death was provided.
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May they rest in peace …