Veteran actor Richard Gilliland who was known for his performances in acclaimed movies like Bug, Stay Hungry and The White Buffalo passed away at the age of 71. Richard was married to actor Jean Smart, whom he had met on the sets of their series Designing Women. The actor passed away on March 18 after battling a prolonged illness.
The news of his passing away was confirmed in a statement released by Jean's representative Ame Vanlden to USA Today. Richard had got his major break when he bagged a recurring role in the series Designing Women for five seasons. The actor essayed the role of baseball talent scout, JD Shackelford. He played the love interest of actor Annie Potts' character, Mary Jo Shively, in the series.
Richard met Jean on the sets of the show wherein the latter essayed the role of Charlene Frazier Stillfield. Jean had earlier revealed in a 2017 interview with Northwest Prime Time, that she had asked her co-star from Designing Women Delta Burke to find out if Richard was single. She further revealed that she and Richard had instantly hit it off on the sets of the show.
Richard and Jean tied the knot in June 1987 in their co-star Dixie Carter's rose garden. The Operation Petticoat actor had also starred alongside his wife Jean in the stage productions namely, It Had To Be You and Love Letters. The couple also starred together in telefilms like 24, Rain and Just My Imagination.
The couple was supposed to collaborate again for a film which was to be helmed by Tate Taylor. Apart from this, Richard had films like McMillan & Wife, Heartland and Just Our Luck in his filmography. He also made cameo appearances in shows like Dexter, Criminal Minds, Scandal, Desperate Housewives and Thirty Something.
Richard Gilliland's Designing Women co-star Annie Potts gave him a heartfelt tribute on her social media handle. She wrote in her caption stating, "Sweet Richard. You are missed already. Please say hello to Dixie and Hal, Meschach and Alice. Table read Monday." Her caption referred to their Designing Women co-stars Dixie Carter and Meschach Taylor who passed away in the year 2010 and 2014 respectively.
He is survived by wife Jean and two children- Bonnie and Connor.