Clarence Williams III, who was a Black power icon in the 1960s and 1970s as the cool detective “Linc Hayes” on television’s The Mod Squad, has died. Williams died in Los Angeles on Friday June 4 of colon cancer, according to his management
Beyond The Mod Squad role, which lasted from 1968 to 1973, he also appeared in such films as Purple Rain, 52 Pick-Up, Reindeer Games and Tales from the Hood.
Williams began his career on the stage, earning a Tony nomination in 1965 for best featured actor in a play for his work in the three-person drama Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.
His other notable roles came as Prince’s father in 1984’s Purple Rain, and appeared as Wesley Snipes and Michael Wright’s druggie dad in Sugar Hill (1993). He also became Jelly Roll Morton In Giuseppe Tornatore’s The Legend of 1900 (1998).