Clarence Gilyard

Description   [from Freebase]

Clarence Darnell Gilyard, Jr. (born December 24, 1955) is a former American actor and a current college professor who has been featured in movies and television since 1980. He is sometimes credited as Clarence A. Gilyard. Gilyard is known for his roles as Ben Matlock's (played by Andy Griffith) second private investigator (and right-hand man) Conrad McMasters, on the 1980s legal drama series, Matlock: (a role he played from 1989 to 1993); as Pastor Bruce Barnes in the Left Behind movie trilogy; and as Cordell Walker's (played by Chuck Norris) partner and best friend, Texas Ranger James "Jimmy" Trivette, on the 1990s crime drama, Walker, Texas Ranger and in Top Gun. In 1980, Gilyard moved to Los Angeles to become an actor. He became the first black actor to undertake the role of the cheerleader in the play Bleacher Bums before he segued into television roles. As a character actor, Gilyard has made guest appearances on TV shows such as Diff'rent Strokes, The Facts of Life, 227, Simon & Simon and Riptide. In 1982-1983, Gilyard was cast in the final season of the NBC TV series CHiPs as Officer Benjamin Webster.
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