‘Designing Women,’ ‘24′ actor Richard Gilliland dead at 71

LOS ANGELES — Veteran character Richard Gilliland, whose long list of credits included roles on “Designing Women” and “24,” died March 18, his publicist said. He was 71.

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Gilliland, who met his wife of 34 years, Jean Smart, on the set of “Designing Women,” died in Los Angeles, according to The Hollywood Reporter. The actor died after a “brief illness,” People reported.

Born Jan. 23, 1950, in Fort Worth, Texas, Gilliland landed starring roles in a series of television series, including “Operation Petticoat,” “Just Our Luck,” “McMillan” and “Heartland.”

Gilliland also had recurring roles on other shows, including “Party of Five,” “The Waltons, “thirtysomething,” “Dark Skies” and “Desperate Housewives,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. He also was a guest star on “Criminal Minds,” “Dexter,” “Becker,” “Scandal,” “Joan of Arcadia,” “The Practice” and “Crossing Jordan.”

Gilliland played J.D. Shackelford on “Designing Women” for 17 episodes from 1986 through 1991 and met Smart on the set.

“I met him when he was kissing someone else,” Smart joked during a 2017 interview. She said she asked cast member Delta Burke to find out if he was married, Smart told Entertainment Weekly in 2017.

Smart said she “lured” Gilliland into her dressing room under the ruse of needing help with a crossword puzzle, the website reported. They were married in June 1987.

Gilliland and Smart also worked together on stage in “It Had to Be You” and “Love Letters,” People reported. Gilliland also played Capt. Stan Cotter during the fifth season of “24,” while Smart played the first lady.

Gilliland also appeared in several films, including “Bug” (1975) and “Airplane II: The Sequel” (1982).

Gilliland’s most recent role came was in “Case 347″ last year, Entertainment Tonight reported.

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