Clarence Williams III, ‘The Mod Squad’ And ‘Purple Rain’ Actor, Dies At 81

Clarence Williams III, ‘The Mod Squad’ And ‘Purple Rain’ Actor, Dies At 81
FILE – In this Aug. 12, 2013 file photo, Clarence Williams III arrives at the Los Angeles premiere of “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” at the Regal Cinemas L.A. Live Stadium. Williams died Friday at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with colon cancer, his manager Allan Mindel said Sunday, June 6, 2021. He was 81. (Photo by Matt Sayles/Invision/AP, File)

Clarence Williams III, who played the cool undercover cop Linc Hayes on the counterculture series The Mod Squad and Prince’s father in Purple Rain, has died. He was 81.

Williams died Friday at his home in Los Angeles after a battle with colon cancer, his manager Allan Mindel said Sunday. Tributes came quickly on social media from both those who worked with Williams and those who admired him for his trailblazing roles and impactful performances.

Tales from the Hood director Rusty Cundieff tweeted that his sadness over Williams’ passing, “cannot be overstated. His artistry and sheer coolness was extraordinary. I will forever be in his debt for his brilliant performance in Tales From the Hood. Loved working with him! Blessed travels good sir!”

Lenny Kravitz wrote on Twitter, “When I was a kid growing up in NYC Clarence Williams III was a face on TV that I identified with and that inspired me. From the Mod Squad, to Purple Rain and Sugar Hill, he always performed with dynamic energy. Rest in power, king.”

Director Peyton Reed tweeted that he worked with Williams on the TV movie The Love Bug in 1995.

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