Richard Gilliland, actor of “Designing Women” and husband of Jean Smart, deceased at 71 years old

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Richard Gilliland, actor of


Richard Gilliland, an actor known for his roles in “Designing Women” and “Airplane II: The Sequel”, has passed away.

The 71-year-old was married to Emmy-winning actress Jean Smart and suffered from a “brief illness” before passing away in Los Angeles, Calif., Last week, according to a shared press release. with Fox News.

Gilliland and Smart, 69, have been married for almost 34 years.

Gilliland met his future wife when they worked together on “Designing Women,” on which he played JD Shackelford, a baseball talent scout and boyfriend of Annie Pott’s Mary Jo Shively.

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He appeared in only 14 episodes of the show, according to IMDb, but his appearances were spread over the show’s first five seasons.

Actor Richard Gilliland, husband of Jean Smart, has died aged 71 (Photo by David Crotty / Patrick McMullan via Getty Images)

Smart played Charlene Frazier Stillfield for six of the show’s seven seasons.

They would work together again several times, including on the hit drama “24” in 2006 when Gilliland appeared in a single episode. Smart appeared in two seasons.

The couple have also appeared together on stage and in two TV movies and were set to work together again this summer in a film directed by “The Girl on the Train” filmmaker Tate Taylor.

Richard Gilliland pictured here in 1977 for the “Operation Petticoat” television series. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archive / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

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The couple share two children: Connor, 31, and Bonnie, 11.

Gilliland has appeared on several high profile TV shows including “Criminal Minds”, “Desperate Housewives”, “Dexter”, “Party of Five”, “St. Elsewhere ”,“ Operation Petticoat ”and“ The Love Boat ”.

His film credits include “Airplane II: The Sequel”, “Star Kid”, “Home Room” and more.

Richard Gilliland dans «Desperate Housewives».  (Photo de Ron Tom / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
Richard Gilliland dans «Desperate Housewives». (Photo de Ron Tom / Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

He also appeared in the Broadway touring production of “Godspell” as Jesus from 1972-1973.

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Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Gilliland attended the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago.

His most recent credits include 2020’s “Case 347” and four episodes of Bravo’s “Imposters” from 2017-2018, as well as his only appearance on “Criminal Minds”.

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Besides Smart, Conner and Bonnie, Gilliland is survived by her sisters Ann Norberg and Wendy Knaack and her brother John Wells.

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