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

Clarence Williams III, who played 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 property in Los Angeles just after a fight with colon cancer, his manager Allan Mindel mentioned Sunday. Tributes came speedily on social media from each those who labored with Williams and individuals who admired him for his trailblazing roles and impactful performances.

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

Lenny Kravitz wrote on Twitter, “When I was a kid expanding up in NYC Clarence Williams III was a facial area on Tv set that I determined with and that encouraged me. From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he generally performed with dynamic power. Rest in power, king.”


Director Peyton Reed tweeted that he worked with Williams on the Tv set movie “The Love Bug” in 1995.

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

A native of New York, Williams career spanned around 5 a long time in theater, tv and movie. He was born into a artistic household in 1939 and elevated by his musical grandparents. His grandfather was a jazz composer and pianist, his father a musician and his mother, Eva Taylor, a singer and actress. He received his performing start on Broadway after a stint as a paratrooper and received a Tony nomination for his job in William Hanley’s “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” in 1964.

His breakout purpose would arrive with “The Mod Squad,” which he led with Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. Invoice Cosby had viewed Williams complete and informed Aaron Spelling he really should take into consideration him for the role of Linc. The exhibit ran from on ABC from 1968 as a result of 1973. A trailblazing display for trying to portray the hippie generation of the time, “The Mod Squad” was a star-maker for all 3. But roles ended up not rapid to observe for Williams.


He appeared on Broadway opposite Maggie Smith in Tom Stoppard’s “Night and Day” in 1979 just before receiving solid as the troubled father in “Purple Rain,” which arrived out in 1984.

Director John Frankenheimer would turn out to be a recurrent collaborator. They first teamed up for his adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s “52 Pick-Up” at a time when Williams was not obtaining substantially luck in Hollywood and crashing on Cosby’s sofa to maintain a roof over his head.

“He asked me to read for the aspect of just one of the blackmailers, but right after only four lines, he advised me to quit,” 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 some episodes of “Tales from the Crypt.”

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


Other film roles provided “Tales from the Hood,” “Deep Include,” “Sugar Hill, “The General’s Daughter,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and an uncredited part in “American Gangster.” And he experienced numerous, several television appearances on everything from “Miami Vice” and “Hill Road Blues” to “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Justified.”

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

Williams by no means fretted in excess of his longtime affiliation with “The Mod Squad,” though.

“All most men and women know about me is the two several hours they’ve invested in a movie theater or the time put in in entrance of their Television,” he said in an interview in 1999. “There’s so substantially amusement out there right now, it is complicated to break as a result of and turn into part of the nationwide consciousness. It’s good to be recognized, and I have no trouble with it at all.”

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