Who did Clarence Gilyard play in Die Hard? Roles explored as veteran actor dies aged 66

Clarence Gilyard recently died at the age of 66 (Image via J.P. Aussenard/Getty Images)
Clarence Gilyard recently died at the age of 66 (Image via J.P. Aussenard/Getty Images)

Professor and actor Clarence Gilyard recently passed away on November 28 at the age of 66. He was known for his performances in Matlock, Walker, Texas Ranger, Die Hard, and Top Gun.

Nancy J. Usher, Dean of the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts expressed her sorrow over Clarence's death, saying that he was an inspiration to the students and a talented individual. Nancy stated in her statement that Clarence enjoyed his job at the university as well as his work in the entertainment industry. She said:

"His generosity of spirit was boundless โ€“ 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."
Damn RIP Clarence Gilyard Jr. ๐Ÿ•Š๏ธ ๐Ÿ’” I shou do be peeping folks wikipedia to see if they're still alive or not ๐Ÿ˜ข๐Ÿ˜ญ
Actor Clarence Gilyard solidified his place in film history as Theo in DIE HARD (which he revived in a โ€˜21 Super Bowl ad) & in TV as Conrad McMasters in MATLOCK. But he also made an innumerable impact in real life as a film studies professor at UNLV. May he Rest In Peace. #RIP

The causes leading to Clarence's death are still unknown.

Clarence Gilyard portrayed Theo in Die Hard

Clarence Gilyard gained recognition all these years for his flawless performances in films and television. However, he will be remembered for his appearance as Theo in the 1988 action film, Die Hard.

Theo was a member of Hans Gruber's group and a terrorist and hacker. Hans Gruber held everyone at gunpoint at Nakatomi Plaza, forming the film's main premise.

Clarence Gilyard played the role of Theo in Die Hard (Image via Frank Carroll/Getty Images)
Clarence Gilyard played the role of Theo in Die Hard (Image via Frank Carroll/Getty Images)

Although Theo knew everything that was happening, he only focused on his work without caring about others. He used to crack jokes when someone was killed and was the only American terrorist in the group alongside Eddie.

The African-American made his first appearance in the film in a dress suit. He then changed into a white sweater and was spotted in that outfit until the end.


Directed by John McTiernan, Die Hard was released on July 15, 1988. It was a box office success despite critics shunning it. Die Hard was followed by four sequels released between 1990 and 2013.

Clarence Gilyard appeared on film, stage, and television

Born on December 24, 1955, Clarence Gilyard finished his graduation in 1974. Gilyard excelled at both football and tennis. Prior to becoming an actor, he worked in a clothing store and also sold industrial chemicals.

Clarence made his stage debut in 1979, which helped him get roles in TV shows like The Facts of Life, Riptide, The Duck Factory, and others. He gradually began to appear in films such as Top Gun, The Karate Kid Part II, Left Behind: The Movie, and others.


In 2012, he returned to acting after a brief hiatus. Aside from his successful film, stage, and television careers, he was well-known for his appearance in the video game Madden NFL.

He was previously married to Catherine Dutko, with whom he got divorced. Clarence is survived by his wife Elena and six kids.

Edited by Vinay Agrawal
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