Clarence Williams III, ‘The Mod Squad’s’ Linc, dies at 81

Clarence Williams III, who performed the awesome undercover cop Linc Hayes on the counterculture sequence “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” has died. He was 81.

Williams died Friday at his house in Los Angeles right after a fight with colon most cancers, his supervisor Allan Mindel said Sunday. Tributes arrived immediately on social media from each individuals who worked with Williams and those who admired him for his trailblazing roles and impactful performances.

What You Want To Know

  • Clarence Williams III, who played the interesting undercover cop Linc Hayes on the counterculture series “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” has died. He was 81
  • Williams died Friday at his dwelling in Los Angeles following a battle with colon cancer
  • A indigenous of New York, Williams vocation spanned about 5 a long time in theater, television and film
  • Williams III obtained his acting start off on Broadway immediately after a stint as a paratrooper and obtained a Tony nomination for his position in William Hanley’s “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” in 1964

“Tales from the Hood” director Rusty Cundieff tweeted that his sadness in excess of Williams’ passing, “cannot be overstated. His artistry and sheer coolness was incredible. I will forever be in his financial debt for his good general performance in Tales From the Hood. Loved performing with him! Blessed travels very good sir!”

Lenny Kravitz wrote on Twitter, “When I was a child expanding up in NYC Clarence Williams III was a face on Tv set that I recognized with and that encouraged me. From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he usually done with dynamic strength. Relaxation in electricity, king.”

Director Peyton Reed tweeted that he labored with Williams on the Television film “The Appreciate Bug” in 1995.

“I experienced grown up viewing him as Linc in ‘The Mod Squad’ and thought he was the epitome of great. Turns out he was. Relaxation In Peace, Clarence,” Reed wrote.

A native of New York, Williams occupation spanned in excess of 5 a long time in theater, tv and movie. He was born into a imaginative family members in 1939 and raised by his musical grandparents. His grandfather was a jazz composer and pianist, his father a musician and his mom, Eva Taylor, a singer and actress. He obtained his performing begin on Broadway immediately after a stint as a paratrooper and been given a Tony nomination for his purpose in William Hanley’s “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” in 1964.

His breakout role would appear with “The Mod Squad,” which he led with Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. Monthly bill Cosby had noticed Williams accomplish and told Aaron Spelling he really should take into consideration him for the position of Linc. The display ran from on ABC from 1968 through 1973. A trailblazing present for attempting to portray the hippie technology of the time, “The Mod Squad” was a star-maker for all three. But roles were not speedy to stick to for Williams.

He appeared on Broadway reverse Maggie Smith in Tom Stoppard’s “Night and Day” in 1979 prior to getting cast as the troubled father in “Purple Rain,” which came out in 1984.

Director John Frankenheimer would become a repeated collaborator. They to start with teamed up for his adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s “52 Decide-Up” at a time when Williams was not obtaining much luck in Hollywood and crashing on Cosby’s couch to maintain a roof more than his head.

“He asked me to examine for the element of one particular of the blackmailers, but right after only 4 traces, he informed me to cease,” Williams recalled in a 1999 interview. “I assumed it was all above, but he claimed, ‘Have your agent contact me. It will be a 10-7 days shoot. Thank you for coming in.’ That was it.”

Williams also appeared in Frankenheimer’s “Against the Wall,” “Reindeer Games” and a couple of episodes of “Tales from the Crypt.”

Williams could command a wide range of genres, such as comedy. He played a drug lord reverse Dave Chappelle in “Half Baked” and stole scenes in Keenen Ivory Wayans’ blaxploitation parody movie “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka.” He also experienced a recurring position as the FBI agent in David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” who tells Agent Cooper he’s been suspended.

Other movie roles involved “Tales from the Hood,” “Deep Address,” “Sugar Hill, “The General’s Daughter,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and an uncredited job in “American Gangster.” And he experienced many, several television appearances on every little thing from “Miami Vice” and “Hill Street Blues” to “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Justified.”

He was married to the actress Gloria Foster from 1967 to 1984.

Williams hardly ever fretted over his longtime association with “The Mod Squad,” though.

“All most folks know about me is the two hours they’ve invested in a movie theater or the time spent in entrance of their Television set,” he reported in an job interview in 1999. “There’s so a lot enjoyment out there right now, it’s tough to break as a result of and come to be aspect of the national consciousness. It is great to be identified, and I have no issue with it at all.”