Clarence Williams III, ‘Mod Squad’ actor, dead at 81

Clarence Williams III, who broke new floor as “hippie” Detective Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” from 1968 to 1973, has died after a battle with colon most cancers. He was 81.

Williams handed away Friday at his house in Los Angeles, his supervisor Allan Mindel confirmed in a statement Sunday. 

Born Aug. 21, 1939 in New York City, the veteran expertise acquired his massive break on Broadway. He earned a Tony nod as finest featured actor for his stellar work in 1964’s “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground,” launching a profession that spanned 5 a long time on stage and in tv and movie. 

Although best-known for his work in “The Mod Squad,” Williams III additionally had scene-stealing roles in a pair of cult classics: Clarence additionally had a number of standout performances for cult basic movies, He performed Prince’s flawed father — the man who impressed “When Doves Cry” — in 1984’s “Purple Rain,” and performed approach towards kind as flamboyant drug lord Sampson Simpson in Dave Chappelle’s cult basic stoner comedy “Half Baked” in 1998.

Still, it was his ultra-cool counter-culture cop that followers remembered finest — and he didn’t thoughts one bit.

“All most people know about me is the two hours they’ve invested in a movie theater or the time spent in front of their TV,” Williams III said in a 1999 interview in line with The Daily Mail. “There´s so much entertainment out there right now, it’s difficult to break through and become part of the national consciousness. It’s nice to be recognized, and I have no problem with it at all.”

Linc Hayes (played by Clarence Williams III), Julie Barnes (Peggy Lipton) and Pete Cochran (Michael Cole) are three hip young undercover cops with plenty of attitude.
Linc Hayes (Clarence Williams III), Julie Barnes (Peggy Lipton) and Pete Cochran (Michael Cole) have been three hip younger undercover cops with loads of angle in “The Mod Squad.”
Walt Disney Television through Getty

His enduring work left an indelible mark on generations of followers.

“When I was a kid growing up in NYC, Clarence Williams III was a face on TV that I identified with and that inspired me,” singer-actor Lenny Kravitz, 57, said in homage to the late actor. “From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he always performed with dynamic energy. Rest in power, king.”

The actor’s myriad different small display screen credit embrace visitor starring roles on “The Cosby Show,” “Hill Street Blues,” “T.J. Hooker,” “Miami Vice,” “Tales from the Cyrpt,” “Star Trek” and “Twin Peaks” reverse is his previous “Mod Squad” co-star Peggy Lipton.

His different function movie appearances embrace “The General’s Daughter,” “Reindeer Games,” “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka” and “The Butler.”

Clarence Williams III stars as Colonel Fowler in "The General's Daughter."
Clarence Williams III as Colonel Fowler within the 1999 function movie “The General’s Daughter.”
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