Walker, Texas Ranger star Clarence Gilyard recently passed from a yet-to-be-revealed long-term illness. Gilyard’s friend and co-star, Chuck Norris, took to social media to pay a heartfelt tribute, the Instagram post featuring a throwback photo of both actors in black and white.
“It’s with great sadness to hear of the passing of a dear friend and co-star, Clarence Gilyard. For nearly a decade, we had many great times working together, and we both loved bringing the bad guys to justice,” the caption reads, “My thoughts and prayers go out to his wife and children. You will be deeply missed by all who knew you. May you Rest In Peace, my friend. Until we meet again, Chuck Norris.”
‘Walker, Texas Ranger’
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In Walker, Texas Ranger, Gilyard played sidekick James “Jimmy” Trivette to Ranger Cordell Walker, played by Norris — both starring in over 200 episodes. Gilyard also appeared in the 2005 TV movie inspired by Walker, Texas Ranger, titled Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire shortly after his retirement. Norris had mentioned the possibility of a remake of the series, mentioning to BroBible in an interview that he “enjoyed all of” his movies but that Walker was something special. “Instead of a remake,” Norris said, “I’d love to come back and do a follow-up.”
Gilyard met Norris while trying to sell a show to CBS, but instead ended up being on Walker, Texas Ranger, thanks to his agent, who convinced him to look into the role of Jimmy instead.
“I was about to sign a contract for a pilot for my own television series, but my agent said, ‘Hey, you should probably look at this,'” Gilyard said in an interview with getTV. “Chuck had made a deal with CBS for 13 episodes on the air. And I figured, you know, 13 checks versus one check.”
Gilyard Also Worked As A University Professor
The late Gilyard studied acting at Cal State Dominguez Hills before his career took off with his role in the 1981 TV show, Diff’rent Strokes. Gilyard starred in many movies and series like Matlock and Die Hard before taking a sabbatical from acting after Walker Texas Ranger ended.
During his acting break, Gilyard earned a Masters of Fine Arts in theater performance at Southern Methodist University, which began his teaching journey. Before his death, Gilyard served as a theater professor in the College of Fine Arts, University of Nevada, Las Vegas.
“I’m wired to teach. And I’m a professional, but the profession has to feed the classroom,” he wrote in the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “It’s what stimulates my characters, because I’m in touch with people’s lives in the 21st century.”