• Clarence Gilyard is an actor and professor with a net worth of over $5 million
• He grew up in a military family, and attended Eisenhower High School and Sterling College
• He debuted in the play "Bleacher Burns", and subsequently appeared in films such as "Top Gun" and "Die Hard"
• He is most known for his roles in "Matlock" and "Walker, Texas Ranger"
• He is married and has five children, and is good friends with Chuck Norris and considers the late Andy Griffith as his acting mentor

Known for movies

Short Info

Net Worth$5 million
Date Of BirthDecember 24, 1955
SpouseElena Gilyard
MarkNasally, whiny voice
FactThree of the movies he has starred in have gone on to gross well over $150 million each in worldwide box office and DVD sales.

Who is Clarence Gilyard?

Clarence Alfred Gilyard Jr. was born on 24 December 1955, in Moses Lake, Washington, USA, and is an actor as well as a professor, but best known for his acting work. He played the right-hand man to Ben Matlock in the series “Matlock”, and also played the partner of Chuck Norris in “Walker, Texas Ranger”. He worked on films too, such as “Top Gun” and “Die Hard”.

The Net Worth of Clarence Gilyard

As of early-2020, Clarence Gilyard has a net worth estimated to be over $5 million, earned through a successful career in acting in the entertainment industry since 1980. Though he took a long break from acting, he returned to work on the independent scene in recent years.

Early Life and Education

Clarence grew up in a military family, with his father working in thea US Air Force, so his family moved around, and he grew up on Air Force bases in several locations in the US.

He was born as the second of six children, with one of his brothers also pursuing a career in the Air Force. He, on the other hand, attended Eisenhower High School, and though he showed potential in school, he was often in the midst of trouble. He had problems with women, alcohol, and occasionally drugs, which led his parents to force him to move out to be set apart from his bad influences. He spent a year in the Air Force Academy, but left to attend Sterling College, where he played American Football for the college team.

Clarence Gilyard

He then discovered his passion for acting while in Long Beach, California, then enrolling at California State University, Long Beach to major in acting.

Career Beginnings

Gilyard completed his acting degree at California State University, Dominguez Hills and while doing so looked for acting opportunities. To make ends meet, he took odd jobs and briefly worked as a waiter before taking a job at a clothing store. He was promoted to manager of the store, but left to work as an industrial chemical salesman,  not fairing as well.

In 1979 he settled in Los Angeles and got his first acting project in the play “Bleacher Burns” becoming the first black actor to play the role of the cheerleader. He then moved to television, working as a guest in several television shows such as “Riptide”, “Diff’rent Strokes’, and “227”. In 1986, he secured one of his first prominent roles in the film “Top Gun” playing the F-14 Tomcat Rader Intercept Officer LTJG Marcus “Sundown” Williams. He then worked on “The Karate Kid Part II” before appearing in the Bruce Willis film “Die Hard” as the computer expert Theo.

He subsequently appeared in the films “Left Behind: The Movie” and “Left Behind II: Tribulation Force”.

Later Career

In 1989, Clarence was cast as the private investigator Conrad McMasters in “Matlock”, alongside Andy Griffith, remaining in the role for four years, and appeared during the first three seasons of the show, but later left following the show’s move from NBC to ABC. He was then cast in another notable role in the show “Walker, Texas Ranger” starring Chuck Norris, portraying fellow Ranger James “Jimmy” Trivette, who is the best friend of Norris’ character.

The show became a big hit, during which he did a lot of stunts, working in the series for its entire run and became good friends with the cast. He later made a cameo appearance in “Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire”, before announcing his retirement from acting in 2005.

After a seven-year break from the craft, he returned in 2012, but mostly worked on independent projects such as the film “A Matter of Faith”. In 2016, he was in the film “Driving Miss Daisy” which was released at The Neil Simon Film Festival.

He also portrayed the high school coach in “Madden 2018”.

Personal Life

Clarence has been married twice, first to Catherine which ended in divorce. In 2001, he married Elena Castillo and they have been together since; he has five children across his two marriages. His religion is Catholic, and serves with the US Catholic Bishops as a part of their Communications Committee.

He is very close friends with Chuck Norris as the two shared a lot of things in common, including their favorite Westerns and characters. Their parents also served in the Air Force, but during different periods. He considers the late Andy Griffith as his acting mentor, who helped him a lot particularly during their time together in “Matlock”.

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General Info

Full NameClarence Gilyard
Net Worth$5 million
Date Of BirthDecember 24, 1955
Height1.74 m
ProfessionAuthor, Actor, Educator
EducationSterling College, United States Air Force Academy, Eisenhower High School, California State University, Dominguez Hills


SpouseElena Gilyard
ChildrenPeter Gilyard
ParentsClarence Gilyard, Sr., Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard
SiblingsMilton Gilyard


AwardsNAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series
MoviesTop Gun, The Karate Kid Part II, Die Hard, The Great Los Angeles Earthquake, Left Behind: The Movie, Left Behind II: Tribulation Force, Walker, Texas Ranger: Trial by Fire, From Above, A Matter of Faith
TV ShowsWalker, Texas Ranger, Matlock, The Duck Factory, CHiPs, Left Behind

Social profile links

Source: IMDb, Wikipedia

As a Freelance Writer at Biography Pedia, I oversee the full writing process, from in-depth research to the development of compelling narratives, ensuring accuracy and excellence in our output. Our goal is to produce insightful profiles that deeply explore the lives of prominent figures in business, entertainment, and other fields. Through meticulous research and engaging storytelling, we spotlight the significant journeys and achievements of individuals who captivate and inspire our readers.

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