Actor Clarence Williams III, Star of ‘The Mod Squad’ and ‘Purple Rain’, Dies at 81 of Colon Cancer

Courtesy Everett Collection

Clarence Williams III, an actor known for portraying Linc Hayes on “The Mod Squad” and Prince’s father in “Purple Rain,” died on June 4. He was 81.

Williams’ management confirmed his death to Variety, citing the cause as colon cancer.

Williams broke through in 1968 as one of the stars of the counterculture cop show “The Mod Squad,” also starring then-unknown actors Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. He was a mainstay of the series until its end in 1973, and went on to have a career in film, television and theater spanning four decades.

Williams portrayed Prince’s father in 1984’s “Purple Rain” and had a recurring role as FBI Agent Roger Hardy on beloved TV show “Twin Peaks.” He also had a long-running collaboration with director John Frankenheimer, playing Bobby Shy in 1986’s “52 Pick-Up,” Chaka in 1994’s “Against the Wall,” Archie in the 1997 TV movie “George Wallace” and Merlin in 2000’s “Reindeer Games.”

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SOURCE: Variety, Ellise Shafer

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