Clarence Gilyard Jr., who played 'Conrad McMasters' in the series Matlock for five seasons, has also appeared in the series Diff'rent Strokes and CHiPs. Among the feature films in which he has co-starred are Top Gun and Die Hard. He was born on Dec. 24, 1955 in Moses Lake, Washington, and grew up as one of six children in a military family. He attended the Air Force Academy before transferring to Sterling College in Kansas, where he played wide receiver on the football team and also became interested in acting. Gilyard is a real-life cowboy and devotes much of his free time to riding and roping in celebrity rodeos to benefit various children's charities. He is honorary chairman of and celebrity spokesman for Cowboys for Kids and also serves on the board of directors of the Children's Organ Transplant Association.
Gilyard has two children and divides his time between Dallas and Rancho Mirage, California. His most famous role was as Texas Ranger Jimmy Trivette in the series Walker, Texas Ranger. He has also recently starred in the movies Left Behind and Left Behind: Tribulation Force. He also had a brief appearance in the Walker, Texas Ranger Reunion Movie that aired on CBS last fall.