Clarence Williams III, who performed the cool undercover cop Linc Hayes on the counterculture collection The Mod Squad and Prince’s father in Purple Rain, has died. He was 81.
Williams died Friday at his house in Los Angeles after a battle with colon cancer, his supervisor Allan Mindel mentioned Sunday. Tributes got here rapidly on social media from each those that labored with Williams and those that admired him for his trailblazing roles and impactful performances.
Tales from the Hood director Rusty Cundieff tweeted that his unhappiness over Williams’ passing, “can’t be overstated. His artistry and sheer coolness was extraordinary. I’ll without end be in his debt for his sensible efficiency in Tales From the Hood. Cherished working with him! Blessed travels good sir!”
Lenny Kravitz wrote on Twitter, “After I was a child rising up in NYC Clarence Williams III was a face on TV that I recognized with and that impressed me. From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he at all times carried out with dynamic power. Relaxation in energy, king.”
After I was a child rising up in NYC Clarence Williams III was a face on TV that I recognized with and that impressed me. From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he at all times carried out with dynamic power. Relaxation in energy, king ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/GIZLSjp4uV
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) June 6, 2021
Director Peyton Reed tweeted that he labored with Williams on the TV film The Love Bug in 1995.
“I had grown up watching him as Linc in The Mod Squad and thought he was the epitome of cool. Seems he was. Relaxation In Peace, Clarence,” Reed wrote.
I set to work with Clarence Williams III on my second TV film, THE LOVE BUG, again in 1995. I had grown up watching him as Linc in THE MOD SQUAD and thought he was the epitome of cool. Seems he was. Relaxation In Peace, Clarence. pic.twitter.com/PadZZlTzKJ
— Peyton Reed (@MrPeytonReed) June 6, 2021
A local of New York, Williams profession spanned over 5 many years in theater, tv and movie. He was born right into a artistic household 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 received his performing begin on Broadway after a stint as a paratrooper and acquired a Tony nomination for his position in William Hanley’s “Sluggish Dance on the Killing Floor” in 1964.
His breakout position would include The Mod Squad, which he led with Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. Invoice Cosby had seen Williams carry out and advised Aaron Spelling he ought to contemplate him for the position of Linc. The present ran from on ABC from 1968 via 1973. A trailblazing present for trying to painting the hippie era of the time, The Mod Squad was a star-maker for all three. However roles weren’t fast to comply with for Williams.
He appeared on Broadway reverse Maggie Smith in Tom Stoppard’s “Evening and Day” in 1979 earlier than getting solid because the troubled father in Purple Rain, which got here out in 1984.
Director John Frankenheimer would develop into a frequent collaborator. They first teamed up for his adaptation of Elmore Leonard’s “52 Decide-Up” at a time when Williams was not having a lot luck in Hollywood and crashing on Cosby’s sofa to maintain a roof over his head.
“He requested me to learn for the a part of one of many blackmailers, however after solely 4 traces, he advised me to cease,” Williams recalled in a 1999 interview. “I assumed it was throughout, however he mentioned, ‘Have your agent name me. It is going to be a 10-week shoot. Thanks for coming in.’ That was it.”
Williams additionally appeared in Frankenheimer’s In opposition to the Wall, Reindeer Video games and a few episodes of Tales from the Crypt.
Williams may command a wide 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 additionally had a recurring position because the FBI agent in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks who tells Agent Cooper he’s been suspended.
Different movie roles included Tales from the Hood, Deep Cowl, Sugar Hill, The Common’s Daughter, Lee Daniels’ The Butler and an uncredited position in American Gangster. And he had many, many tv appearances on the whole lot from Miami Vice and Hill Road Blues to Everyone Hates Chris and Justified.
He was married to the actress Gloria Foster from 1967 to 1984.
Williams by no means fretted over his longtime affiliation with The Mod Squad, although.
“All most individuals learn about me is the 2 hours they’ve invested in a movie show or the time spent in entrance of their TV,” he mentioned in an interview in 1999. “There’s a lot leisure on the market proper now, it’s troublesome to interrupt via and develop into a part of the nationwide consciousness. It’s good to be acknowledged, and I’ve no drawback with it in any respect.”