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Richard Gilliland dead: Designing Women actor passes away aged 71 after brief illness

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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Actor Richard Gilliland has died

Veteran actor Richard Gilliland has passed away aged 71 his family have announced.

The Designing Women star, who was married his co-star Jean Smart for nearly 34 years, died in Los Angeles on March 18 following a "brief illness" a statement said.

Richard is survived by Jean, their two children; Connor, 31, and Bonnie, 11, his sisters Ann Norberg and Wendy Knaack and his brother John Wells.

The actor was born in 1950 in Fort Worth, Texas, and starred in productions such as Operation Petticoat, Just Our Luck, McMillan and Heartland.

He starred alongside wife Jean in the hit sitcom Designing Women for 14 episodes when he played the love interest of Mary Jo, J.D. Shackleford.
Richard Gilliland was married to Jean Smart for almost 34 years

Jean, who he met on the show, was a mainstay in the show for 140 episodes as Charlene Frazier Stillfield.

The also worked together in an episode of the hit drama 24 as well as appearing on stage and in two television movies; Just My Imagination and Audrey's Rain.

They were tipped to work together again this summer in a film directed by "The Girl on the Train" filmmaker Tate Taylor.

In 2017, Jean said the pair instantly hit it off after she "lured" him to her dressing room to help with a crossword puzzle.

She admits they never looked back after tying the knot in 1987 in cast member Dixie Carter's rose garden.
Richard Gilliland and Jean Smart worked on many projects together

Richard's last completed project was a move called Case 347. The sci-fi thriller was released just a little over one year ago.

Former co-stars took to social media to share their condolences.

Designing Women co-star Annie Potts wrote on Instagram : "Please give Dixie and Meshach a squeeze for me," in reference to their co-stars Dixie Carter, who died in 2010, and Meshach Taylor, who died in 2014.

She then captioned an image of her with Richard: "Rest peacefully dearest Richard."

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