AceShowbiz - Emmy winner Jean Smart is mourning the death of her actor husband, Richard Gilliland.
The Texas native passed away in Los Angeles on 18 March (21) after suffering a "brief illness," his publicist has announced. He was 71.
The character actor embarked on his screen career in the 1970s, landing roles on shows like "McMillan & Wife" and "Operation Petticoat".
Gilliland went on to feature in "Just Our Luck" and "Heartland", and had recurring parts on series such as "Party of Five", "The Waltons", "thirtysomething", and "Desperate Housewives", as well as guest appearances on "Criminal Minds", "Dexter", "Scandal", "The Practice", and "Crossing Jordan".
However, it was his role in 1980s sitcom "Designing Women" which changed his life, as it was there that he met his future wife, Smart.
The stars wed in 1987 and later teamed up for theatre productions of "It Had to Be You" and "Love Letters", while they also worked together on TV hit 24 and small screen films "Just My Imagination" and "Audrey's Rain".
Gilliland and Smart, who share two children, had also recently signed on to collaborate onscreen in director Tate Taylor's next film, "Breaking News in Yuba County", which had been due to begin production this summer.
"Frasier" star Peri Gilpin was among the firsts to pay tribute to the late actor in the wake of his passing. "I love his work and his face so much. Rest In Peace Richard Gilliland and much love and condolences to Jean Smart," so the actress wrote on Twitter.