American-born Clarence Gilyard Jr. is an experienced actor, director, producer, writer, and also college professor. His acting career spans several decades, and he has appeared in many films, television shows, and theater productions.
Clarence Gilyard Jr. is best known for his role as Conrad McMasters, a private investigator in the legal drama series Matlock (1989-93). He is also known for his role as Pastor Bruce Barnes in the Christian thriller Left Behind (2000) and its sequel Left Behind II: Tribulation Force (2002).
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Clarence Gilyard Jr. Biography (Age)
Clarence Darnell Gilyard Jr. was born on 24 December 1955 in Moses Lake, Washington. His father, Clarence Gilyard Sr., was serving in the United States Air Force at the time. He grew up with 5 siblings. The family moved several times and lived on the airbases of different states.
Clarence Gilyard Sr. attended Eisenhower High School in Rialto, California. He was an excellent student and completed his high school education in 1974. His college education, however, was somewhat complicated. After graduating from high school, he first joined the U.S. Air Force Academy, which he left after one year and transferred to Sterling College in central Kansas. He played on the school’s soccer team but was unable to get a soccer scholarship so he quit.
Gilyard Jr. moved to California, where he earned his living in a clothing store. Later he worked as an industrial chemicals dealer and also as a waiter. Gilyard also enrolled at California State University in Long Beach, where he majored in drama. Finally, he completed his undergraduate studies at California State University, Dominguez Hills.
He also joined a children’s theater group that marked the beginning of his acting career. His first appearance as an actor was the role of a cheerleader in the play Bleacher Bums (1979), making him the first known black person to play the role of a cheerleader.
In the 1980s, he appeared on several television shows, including Diff’rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, Simon & Simon, Riptide, and NBC’s CHiPs. He also appeared in films such as Top Gun (1986), The Karate Kid Part II (1986), and Die Hard (1988). However, none of these roles had the guts to make him a household name in Hollywood.
In 1989, the then pugnacious actor finally made his breakthrough when he got the recurring role of Conrad McMasters alongside Andy Griffith in the TV rights drama Matlock. His involvement with Matlock ended in 1993, after which he grabbed another role in the action series Walker, Texas Ranger (1993-2001). Gilyard Jr. played the lead role of James “Jimmy” Trivette throughout the 8 seasons of the series. He also starred in the telefilm adaptation of the series Walker, Texas Ranger: The Trial by Fire (2005).
In 2003 Clarence Gilyard Jr. received a master’s degree in classical theatre from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas. He is an adjunct professor in the Department of Theater at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where he teaches film acting and theater. He continues to appear in several theater productions.
In addition to his academic exploits, Clarence Gilyard Jr. is also a real-life cowboy, and he participates in celebrity rodeos to raise funds for various children’s charities.
His Family, Wife, and Children
Clarence Gilyard Jr. has made two marriages. He also has five children; 2 children from his first marriage and 3 from his current marriage. He met his first wife Catherine Dutko during his studies. The details of their union remain patchy, but they have two children together. Their marriage ended in a divorce because the actor was unfaithful.
Clarence Gilyard Jr. and his second wife Elena have been married since 2001. After their marriage, the actor decided that Hollywood was not the best place to start a family. So he retired from acting and went to Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he earned a Master of Fine Arts degree in classical theater. Until now he has kept his family as far away from Hollywood as possible.
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The actor grew up as a Lutheran. But after his first marriage broke up in the early 1990s, he found comfort in the Catholic Church. He remains true to the Catholic faith and has served as an advisor to the communications committee of the US bishops.
Height – How Tall Is He?
If you have wondered how tall the man is, there is no need to speculate, here is the fact – Clarence Gilyard Jr. is eight inches taller than 5 feet (174 cm).