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The Mod Squad

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Clarence Williams III, an actor with credits that stretch back to the late 1960s, has passed away. Williams found fame early but is perhaps most notable for playing intense and eccentric characters while in possession of a most unique voice.

As shared in a report from Deadline, Williams, a native of New York City, found fame as the imposing yet suave police detective Linc Hayes on the hit series, The Mod Squad. The show began its five-season run in 1968, establishing Williams as a star to watch out for.

In the later stages of his career, Williams made unforgettable turns as Prince’s father in Purple Rain, and hammed it up alongside Dave Chappelle in the stoner cult classic, Half Baked. Williams also starred in 52 Pick-Up, Reindeer Games, and Tales From The Hood among other appearances.

Williams earned a Tony Award nomination for his stage work as Best Featured Actor In A Play in the drama, Slow Dance On The Killing Ground.

Born on August 21, 1939, Willams was raised in Harlem and was the son of professional musician, Clay Williams. Williams had ties with blues superstar Bessie Smith by way of his grandfather, Clarence Williams. The acting bug caught Williams after he stumbled across a rehearsal for the Dark Of The Moon play at his local YMCA where the late, great Cicely Tyson was the star.

Williams’ representation said that he passed away from colon cancer. He was 81. He leaves behind his daughter, a sister, and a host of other relatives, and close friends.

Photo: Getty