Clarence Gilyard Jr., the pastor in the film “Left Behind,” died at the age of 66.

Clarence Gilyard Jr., the pastor in the film "Left Behind," died at the age of 66.
Clarence Gilyard Jr., the pastor in the film "Left Behind," died at the age of 66.

Clarence Gilyard Jr., the preacher featured in the film “Left Behind,” passed away at the age of 66.

Clarence Gilyard Jr., best known for his roles in action films, died at the age of 66.

The actor who played a preacher in the first “Left Behind” film and later became a professor Nancy J. Uscher, dean of fine arts at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, where Gilyard was an associate professor, announced his death.

“I convey this news with tremendous regret,” Uscher said in a statement Monday. “His students, as well as everyone who knew him, were tremendously impressed by him.” He possessed a wide range of remarkable abilities and was well-known throughout the institution for his passion for teaching and professional achievements. He had a national and international following through his celebrated work in the theatre, in film, and television.”

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Clarence Gilyard Jr., the pastor in the film “Left Behind,” died at the age of 66.

The cause of death was not disclosed.

Gilyard also appeared on television in the hit 1990s series “Walker, Texas Ranger,” alongside actor Chuck Norris.

“It is with great sadness that I announce the death of a good friend and co-star, Clarence Gilyard. “We had a lot of fun working together for nearly a decade, and we both enjoyed bringing the bad people to justice Norris said on Facebook on Tuesday.

He continued, “My heartfelt condolences and prayers go out to his wife and children.” Everyone who knew you will miss you terribly. My friend, may you rest in peace. “Until our next meeting.”

Along with an impressive resume which includes roles in “Die Hard” and “Top Gun,” Gilyard starred in the popular Christian movie franchise “Left Behind” in the early 2000s. The actor was raised in the Lutheran denomination and later became a devout Catholic. Gilyard one said his faith helped him battle a years-long struggle with drug and sex addictions.

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“I hit bottom, I hit bottom… “I was very much into sex, drugs, and rock and roll; you know what I mean?” He stated this in a 2016 interview with the Catholic News Agency.

The actor stated that he was initially invited to a Catholic church by a friend he met in a recovery program.

“It rocked my world; it rocked me.” So, on my way out, I asked the priest, “Hey, may I come visit you this week?” “And the rest is history,” he stated at the time.

In a separate interview, Gilyard told CMGlobal that his daily quest has evolved into making everything he does for God a prayer.

“I have come to recognize that my attitude toward this life must evolve, evolving and maturing into a critical daily appeal to our good God to help me make my life and labors, my job, a prayer,” he said in 2018. 

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