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Gilliland was born in Texas in 1950 and started his career at the Goodman School of Drama in Chicago where he played Jesus in Godspell alongside Criminal Minds star Joe Mantegna.

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GODSPELL 1972. He was Jesus and I was Judas. Beginning a friendship of 50 yrs. In June of ‘87 within 78 hours I was best man at his wedding and he became a godfather of my 1st child. I, my wife and children mourn the passing of a great a friend. R. I. P. Richard Gilliland,” Mantegna wrote on Twitter with a throwback photo of the old friends. 

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Gilliland and Smart tied the knot in 1987 and were married for almost 34 years. The pair starred alongside each other in several projects. They met on the set of Designing Women where he played Jo Shively’s [Annie Pott] boyfriend. “I met him when he was kissing someone else,” Smart told Northwest Prime Time in 2018, and said she asked costar Delta Burke to figure out if he was married. 

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Gilliland is survived by his wife and their children Conner and Bonnie as well as his sisters Ann Norbeg and Wendy Knaack and brother John Wells.  



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