Clarence Williams III, who performed brooding undercover cop Lincoln Hayes on the 1968-73 ABC counterculture drama “DoD Squad,” has died. He’s 81 years previous.
Williams died of colon most cancers Friday in Los Angeles, his consultant Alan Mindell advised The Hollywood Reporter.
Williams was an exceptionally intense actor who started his profession on stage, profitable the 1965 Tony Finest Play for his efficiency within the highly effective three-person play “Sluggish Dance on the Killing Fields” Actor nominations. A long time later, he returned to Broadway to pair up with Maggie Smith within the unique 1979 manufacturing of Tom Stoppard’s Day and Night time.
On the large display, the Harlem native performed Prince’s troubled father in “Purple Rain” (1984) and Wesley Snipes in “Sugar Hill” (1993) And Michael Wright’s drug-addicted father. In Giuseppe Tornatore’s Legend of 1900 (1998), Williams used his household’s musical roots to carry out as jazz legend Jelly Roll Morton.
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Identified for his putting Afro and split-tooth smile, Williams additionally steadily collaborated with famend director John Frankenheimer, first on Elmore Leonard’s 52 Decide-Up (1986) after which on The Common’s Daughter ( 1999), Reindeer Video games (2000) and two TV films, Attica in 1994 and George Wallace in 1997.
Williams additionally confirmed a expertise for comedy, taking part in the previous chief of the Individuals’s Revolutionary Military in Keenen Ivory Wayans’ black exploitation spoof, I’m Gonna Get You Suka Git You Sucka (1988) and mad drug lord Samson Simpson performed… , with Dave Chappell within the basic Half Baked (1998).
And in The Hood Story (1995), Williams has some odd tales to inform because the sinister undertaker Mr. Sims.
Williams thanked Invoice Cosby, who noticed the sluggish dance within the Killing Fields, and advisable the actor to producer Aaron Spelling, who was answerable for casting for Protection Squad. Spelling then landed Williams a small position as a reluctant runaway driver in an anthology sequence he and Danny Thomas produced.
The Williams scene is spelled proper.
“They walked in, they robbed the shop, gunshots went off, they usually crashed into the automotive,” the producer recalled in a 1999 interview with the US Tv Archive. “Then [Williams] drove away and hit an influence line immediately. On the pole. I believed everybody was killed.
“All of us ran. I stated, ‘Clarence, Clarence, what occurred? “I’ve by no means pushed a automotive,” he stated. “I stated, “Why didn’t you inform me?” “As a result of I would like the job.” “I employed him for the defence drive that evening.
The Mod Squad, created by Bud Ruskin, who runs the undercover drug squad for the LAPD, aired on ABC for 5 seasons. Williams, Peggy Lipton as Julie Barnes and Michael Cole as Pete Cochran painting younger males who break the legislation — Hyperlink was arrested through the Watts riots — Earlier than turning into a police officer beneath the command of Captain Adam Greer (Tiger Andrews).
Profiting from the countercultural vibe of the period, The Mod Squad incorporates present points like racism, anti-war protests, and drug dependancy into the storyline as Linc, Julie, and Pete infiltrate excessive colleges, appearing courses, prisons, hippie newspapers, gangs, films within the set. Look ahead to the unhealthy man.
“They have been completely the most popular, coolest undercover cops on TV on the time,” says Groovy Historical past.
Williams was born on August 21, 1939, to skilled musician Clay Williams. He was raised by his grandparents: composer and pianist Clarence Williams, a frequent collaborator with blues legend Bessie Smith, whose songs will likely be featured in “Ain” years later ‘t Misbehavin’”; and singer-actress Eva Taylor.
Williams was launched to appearing as an adolescent when he stumbled throughout a rehearsal for Darkish of the Moon on the Harlem YMCA (starring Cicely Tyson), wherein the director gave He stated a couple of strains.
After starring in unknown roles in Lewis Milestone’s Pork Chop Hill (1959) and Broadway’s Lengthy Dream (1960), Williams enlisted and served as a paratrooper within the a hundred and first Airborne Division.
At residence, he carried out on Broadway in The Nice Indoors and was an artist-in-residence at Brandeis College earlier than his huge break with The Mod Squad.
He advised the Los Angeles Occasions in 1995 that Hyperlink was “a really totally different character for an African-American, and an incredible protagonist, and loads of younger folks, black and white, particularly African-American youth, could also be associated to it.”