Jean Smart talks about the loss of her husband Richard Gilliland


Jean Smart’s husband, Richard Gilliland, died unexpectedly of a heart condition on March 18, 2021 at the age of 71.

The 69-year-old actor was in the middle of filming “Hacks” for HBO Max when tragedy struck and left it to the soldier to complete the filming. She spoke openly about the experience in an interview with the New Yorker on Sunday, revealing the emotions she felt at the time.

Jean Smart and Richard Gilliland arrive for the premiere of National Geographic Documentary Films’ “Jane” at the Hollywood Bowl on October 9, 2017.Michael Tullberg / Getty Images

When asked if she had ever considered writing memoirs, during her response, Smart changed course as she processed last year’s events, revealing that she had only started thinking about it in the past six months.

“Before, I thought: Good God, why would anyone want to read a book about my life? It’s not that interesting, ”she said. “Besides, I’m too private to tell the more interesting parts. So what use would it be? But I’ve been through some personal things in the last year that I might want to write about one day. “

Rather than proceeding with her answer, Smart took a moment to ponder the loss of her husband, adding, “You know, I feel like I should just say something about my husband because he passed away very unexpectedly. “

“I still had ‘hacks’ ahead of me for a week,” she explained. “That was tough. I had to do a funeral scene. I was a wreck, but it turned out to be very funny.”

The “Mare of Easttown” star stated that Gilliland, who was also an actress, was never really able to show off his acting skills because he put his career aside for her own. “But he was one of those actors who never got the chance to really show what he can do,” she said. “He did it a couple of times on stage.”

Gilliland had a recurring role on Designing Women, where he met his wife, who played Annie Potts’ character friend. (“I met him kissing someone else,” Smart joked during a 2017 interview). Over the years he also made notable appearances on “Party of Five”, “Matlock”, “The Waltons”, “Thirtysomething”, the 1978 television miniseries “Little Women”, “The Unit” and “24”.

Actress Jean Smart and husband actor Richard Gilliland attend the “Mistress” West Hollywood Premiere on August 17, 1992.Ron Galella / Ron Galella Collection via Getty

“But he really sacrificed his career for me to take advantage of my opportunities,” explained Smart. “I wouldn’t have any of this if it weren’t for him.”

Smart admitted that it has been “really weird” for her since she lost her husband, adding, “It’s not something I’ve ever dreamed of happening. Not so soon. He made me laugh all along. It’s going to be hard to live without it. “

Jean Smart in “Hacks”.

Lucia Aniello and Paul W. Downs, two creators of “Hacks,” discussed in an interview with Playlist Smart’s ability to split up after losing their husband to end the show’s season, including filming a funeral scene.

“I just say that. She’s someone who’s so devoted to the craft and such an amazing actress, and not just for it, but whenever we said, ‘Hey, this could make it a little easier if you want to do this or that instead. ‘and most of the time she said,’ No, that’s what it says. I’ll do that, ”said Aniello. “So she’s always going to put herself at risk for what’s written in the script (and) we wrote this and read a table nine months ago.”

Downs added, “She really wanted to quit the show. And she really wanted to be back on set with her set family. “

“And we know how much she meant the show and the character, so we wanted to do what she likes to do in that regard,” he said. “And she really wanted to come back and get it done, and I think it’s just proof of how amazing she was.”

According to USA Today, Smart and Gilliland were married in 1987 in actress Dixie Carter’s rose garden. The couple share two children: Connor, 31, and Bonnie Kathleen, 12, who they adopted in 2009.

During an in-depth interview with TODAY last month, Smart said that she wished her husband could have seen her latest projects “Hacks” and “Mare of Easttown,” both of which have garnered much acclaim and Emmy races.

“I just would have loved to share those two shows with him,” she said. “I know he loved the script ‘Hacks’. He thought it was brilliantly written, very funny, and it’s just hard not to share that with him. “


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