Clarence Gilyard Always Prayed for 6 Kids Who Stayed Out of His Fame – He Sacrificed His Career for Family

Clarence Gilyard was an esteemed author, university professor, and actor before his passing in 2022. The “Die Hard” star was loved by many and devoted his life to his family and keeping his children safe.Although the family was incredibly important to Gilyard, he went through one divorce during his life.

He mentioned that it was this divorce and the subsequent relationship with his children that made him change career paths.While Gilyard found enormous success in Hollywood as an actor, he changed career paths and became an associate professor of theatre. This only happened after he discovered his faith following the divorce from his first wife.

He mentioned that he struggled with his ex-wife and his two eldest children. During this time, someone invited him to attend church with them, and he said that is where it all started for him in terms of his faith.

Clarence Gilyard Jr, circa 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Clarence Gilyard Jr, circa 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Gilyard and his then-wife, Catherine, got divorced in 1994. During the divorce proceedings, Gilyard received emotional support from Forrest Mosten. Mosten was a mediator and family law specialist.

After divorcing their mother, he could not spend much time with his two children and found that he wanted to spend more time with his family when he got married for the second time instead of focusing solely on work.

Talking about why he decided to walk away from his acting career for some years and teach instead, he revealed it was because he wanted to focus on his family instead. He said:

“But the commitment to my family and my wife is paramount. I knew if I didn’t work on the marriage, it wouldn’t work.”

Promotional portrait of American actor Clarence Gilyard Jr. in 1997 | Source: Getty Images

Promotional portrait of American actor Clarence Gilyard Jr. in 1997 | Source: Getty Images

He mentioned that being a teacher afforded him a certain amount of “street cred” because he has worked in Hollywood and tells his students that they can work alongside him to build his characters as they build theirs.

Gilyard’s Life As a Professor and a Father
Gilyard’s family is of paramount importance to him, and he believed his purpose was to get his children and his wife to heaven one day. He said his children are intelligent and have beautiful hearts.

(l-r, rear) Robert Pine as Sgt. Joseph Getraer, Paul Linke as Officer Arthur Grossman (l-r, center) Tom Reilly as Officer Bobby “Hot Dog” Nelson, Erik Estrada as Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, Clarence Gilyard Jr. as Officer Benjamin Webster (front) Tina Gayle as Officer Kathy Linahan | Source: Getty Images

(l-r, rear) Robert Pine as Sgt. Joseph Getraer, Paul Linke as Officer Arthur Grossman (l-r, center) Tom Reilly as Officer Bobby “Hot Dog” Nelson, Erik Estrada as Officer Frank “Ponch” Poncherello, Clarence Gilyard Jr. as Officer Benjamin Webster (front) Tina Gayle as Officer Kathy Linahan | Source: Getty Images

However, he believed that there were negative influences around them when they were out in the world, which affected their ability to do the right thing all the time. He said he and his wife prayed and asked their children to dedicate an hour a day to their faith.

Although he believed that only one hour a day was not enough, he said that he prayed for his children without ceasing. He also said he asked for intercession for his children from everyone he knew, living and dead.

He acknowledged that while he has secular assignments, like being an artist and a teacher, his ultimate role in life was to ask for divine intervention for the betterment of his children. He even said if he woke up at 3 a.m., he would pray for his children.

Clarence Gilyard Jr. (as James Trivette). January 1, 1995 | Source: Getty Images

Clarence Gilyard Jr. (as James Trivette). January 1, 1995 | Source: Getty Images

He advised others to exhaust themselves praying for their children and said that when you are not praying for your child and feel guilty, it’s a good thing because it’s reminding you that you need to pray.

He was protective of his wife and children and prayed for them often. He has hidden his wife and children from the media well. However, his work is also incredibly important to him.

The actor said he felt “wired to teach” and fed off his students’ energy. He admitted that when he is teaching, he doesn’t often know what his students are saying because he doesn’t understand their slang, but their energy motivates him.

Andy Griffith as Benjamin Matlock, Clarence Gilyard Jr. as Conrad McMasters on July 9, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Andy Griffith as Benjamin Matlock, Clarence Gilyard Jr. as Conrad McMasters on July 9, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

He shared that his manager-agent was not altogether excited about him teaching while he was acting. Yet he said he could not stop teaching because he could see the students depended on him and felt like he needed to be there for them.

Heather Addison, the school’s film chair, said that whenever anyone asked Gilyard how he was doing, he would respond by saying he was blessed. She then said:

“But we are truly the ones who were blessed to be his colleagues and students for so many years.”

Clarence Gilyard Jr. (as James Trivette). January 1, 1995 | Source: Getty Images

Clarence Gilyard Jr. (as James Trivette). January 1, 1995 | Source: Getty Images

Many tributes flooded in for the actor and teacher from students, friends, family, and colleagues alike. All of those who talked about him said he was a wonderful man who was passionate about his work.

Clarence Gilyard Sadly Passed Away in 2022
On November 28, 2022, Gilyard passed away at age 66. It was said that before his passing, he had suffered from a long illness. However, there were no other details given about the actor’s health.

larence Gilyard at the Directors Guild in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

larence Gilyard at the Directors Guild in Los Angeles, California on January 26, 2001 | Source: Getty Images

It was his old workplace, the University of Fine Arts in Las Vegas, that announced his death on Monday, November 28, 2022. After explaining all of his career credits, it was mentioned that the staff and students at the university would miss him.

Dean Nancy J. Uscher talked about Gilyard’s passing and said he was an asset to the school. She said:

“His students were deeply inspired by him, as were all who knew him.”

Clarence Gilyard stars as James Trivette in the CBS television series “Walker, Texas Ranger” in 1992 | Source: Getty Images

Clarence Gilyard stars as James Trivette in the CBS television series “Walker, Texas Ranger” in 1992 | Source: Getty Images

Another professor from the university said he thought Gilyard may have valued his career as a professor even more highly than his career as an actor. He said Gilyard found great joy in teaching.

All who knew and loved him in every sphere of his life mentioned that he was gone too soon and that they would miss the joy he brought into their lives with his knowledge and wit. No further details about his health have been released at this time.

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