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Clarence Williams III

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Occupation  Actor
Years active  1960–present

Name  Clarence III
Role  Actor
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Born  August 21, 1939 (age 81) (1939-08-21) New York, New York
Spouse  Gloria Foster (m. 1967–1984)
Nominations  Tony Award for Best Featured Actor in a Play
Movies and TV shows  The Mod Squad, Tales from the Hood, Mystery Woman, The Legend of 1900, The Butler

Died  June 4, 2021 (aged 81) Los Angeles, California, U.S.

Similar  Michael Cole (actor), Gloria Foster, Tige Andrews

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Clarence Williams III (August 21, 1939 – June 4, 2021) was an American actor who was best known for his role as "Linc Hayes" on the iconic "hippie" cop show The Mod Squad (1968–1973). He was a stage, film and television actor, who occasionally directs.


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Clarence williams iii

Early life

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Born in New York City Williams was the son of a professional musician, Clay Williams, and grandson of jazz and blues composer/pianist Clarence Williams and his singer-actress wife, Eva Taylor. Raised by his paternal grandmother, he became interested in acting after accidentally walking onto a stage at a theater below a Harlem YMCA.


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Williams began pursuing an acting career after spending two years in the United States Air Force. He first appeared on Broadway in The Long Dream (1960). Continuing his work on stage, he appeared in Walk in Darkness (1963), Sarah and the Sax (1964), Doubletalk (1964), and King John. He also served as artist-in-residence at Brandeis University in 1966.

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Williams' breakout role was as undercover cop Linc Hayes on the highly popular counterculture TV cop series The Mod Squad (1968), along with fellow relative unknowns Michael Cole and Peggy Lipton. Since the series ended in 1973, he  worked in a variety of genres on stage and screen, from comedy (I'm Gonna Git You Sucka; Half-Baked) to sci-fi (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) and drama (Purple Rain).

Clarence Williams III Pictures amp Photos of Clarence Williams III IMDb

Spanning over forty years, his career includes the role of Prince's tormented father, who was also a musician in Purple Rain (1984), a recurring role in the surreal TV series Twin Peaks (1990), a good cop in Deep Cover (1992), a rioter in the mini-series Against the Wall (1994), and Wesley Snipes' chemically dependent Dad in Sugar Hill (1993). Other TV roles include Hill Street Blues, the Canadian cult classic The Littlest Hobo, Miami Vice, The Highwayman, Burn Notice, Everybody Hates Chris, Justified, Law & Order. He can be seen in movies such as 52 Pick-Up, Life, The Cool World, Deep Cover, Tales from the Hood, Half-Baked, King: A Filmed Record... Montgomery to Memphis, Hoodlum, Frogs for Snakes, Starstruck, The General's Daughter, Reindeer Games, Impostor, The Legend of 1900, and Purple Rain. He also played a supporting role as George Wallace's fictional African-American butler and caretaker in the 1997 TNT movie George Wallace.

From 2003 to 2007, Williams had a recurring role as Philby Cross in the Mystery Woman movie series on the Hallmark Channel. He appeared in all but the first of the eleven movies alongside Kellie Martin. (J.E. Freeman played Philby in the Mystery Woman first movie.) In the seventh (Mystery Woman: At First Sight) movie, he reunited with his Mod Squad co-star Michael Cole. He played Bumpy Johnson in the film American Gangster.


Williams died in Los Angeles on June 4, 2021, from colon cancer at the age of 81.


Clarence Williams III Wikipedia