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

Clarence Williams III, who performed the neat undercover cop Linc Hayes on the counterculture collection “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” has died

Williams died Friday at his residence in Los Angeles immediately after a struggle with colon cancer, his supervisor Allan Mindel said Sunday. Tributes arrived immediately on social media from equally individuals who worked 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 about Williams’ passing, “cannot be overstated. His artistry and sheer coolness was amazing. I will endlessly be in his debt for his brilliant functionality in Tales From the Hood. Cherished doing the job with him! Blessed travels great sir!”

Lenny Kravitz wrote on Twitter, “When I was a child escalating up in NYC Clarence Williams III was a face on Tv that I determined with and that encouraged me. From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he constantly carried out with dynamic electrical power. Rest in ability, king.”

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

“I had grown up seeing him as Linc in ‘The Mod Squad’ and assumed he was the epitome of amazing. Turns out he was. Relaxation In Peace, Clarence,” Reed wrote.

A native of New York, Williams profession spanned over five many years in theater, tv and film. He was born into a resourceful family 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 got his acting start out on Broadway following a stint as a paratrooper and received a Tony nomination for his part in William Hanley’s “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” in 1964.

His breakout position would occur with “The Mod Squad,” which he led with Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. Bill Cosby experienced witnessed Williams perform and explained to Aaron Spelling he should really think about him for the part of Linc. The present ran from on ABC from 1968 by means of 1973. A trailblazing demonstrate for making an attempt to portray the hippie generation of the time, “The Mod Squad” was a star-maker for all three. But roles were being not quick to adhere to for Williams.

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

Director John Frankenheimer would turn into a repeated collaborator. They initial teamed up for his adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s “52 Decide on-Up” at a time when Williams was not getting significantly luck in Hollywood and crashing on Cosby’s couch to keep a roof around his head.

“He requested me to browse for the part of a single of the blackmailers, but after only four traces, he explained to me to stop,” Williams recalled in a 1999 interview. “I considered it was all about, but he mentioned, ‘Have your agent call 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 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 function as the FBI agent in David Lynch’s “Twin Peaks” who tells Agent Cooper he’s been suspended.

Other film roles bundled “Tales from the Hood,” “Deep Protect,” “Sugar Hill, “The General’s Daughter,” Lee Daniels’ “The Butler” and an uncredited part in “American Gangster.” And he had many, several television appearances on every little thing from “Miami Vice” and “Hill Avenue Blues” to “Everybody Hates Chris” and “Justified.”

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

Williams never fretted about his longtime affiliation with “The Mod Squad,” nevertheless.

“All most people today know about me is the two hours they’ve invested in a film theater or the time invested in entrance of their Tv,” he explained in an interview in 1999. “There’s so considerably entertainment out there right now, it is difficult to split through and come to be part of the nationwide consciousness. It’s wonderful to be regarded, and I have no problem with it at all.”