Clarence Williams III, the renowned Black actor who played undercover cop Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” has died. He was 81.
Williams III began his career onstage in the 1960s, winning a Tony Award for his role in Broadway play “Slow Dance on the Killing Ground” before landing his onscreen breakout role in crime drama series “The Mod Squad”, starring alongside Michael Cole and Peggy Lipton.
He went on to feature as Prince’s father in 1984 film “Purple Rain”, played Wesley Snipes’ dad in “Sugar Hill”, and joined Dave Chappelle in stoner comedy “Half Baked”.
His other credits included “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine”, “Twin Peaks”, “The Littlest Hobo”, “The Cosby Show”, “Hill Street Blues”, “Miami Vice”, “The Highwayman”, “Walker”, “Texas Ranger”, and “Tales from the Crypt”.
Clarence Williams III played Lincoln “Linc” Hayes on “The Mod Squad”. In a 1995 interview, he described the character as “a very different role for an African-American and a wonderful lead character that a lot of youngsters, Black and white, and principally African-American youngsters, could identify with.”
And he’s proud to be known for the role. “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,” he said a separate interview in 1999. “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.”
Sending our condolences to the Williams family.