Purple Rain and The Mod Squad Actor Clarence Williams III Dead at 81

Purple Rain and The Mod Squad Actor Clarence Williams III Dead at 81

Clarence Williams III has died, The Hollywood Reporter confirmed. He was 81. The actor, best known for playing Linc on the TV series The Mod Squad from 1968 to 1973, was battling colon cancer.

The Harlem-born star worked on both the stage and screen. He was nominated for a Tony Award for Slow Dance on the Killing Ground in 1965. In 1984, he portrayed the father of Prince in the musical film Purple Rain. He went on to appear as FBI Agent Roger Hardy in the second season of Twin Peaks in 1990. In addition, he appeared in films like Sugar Hill, Tales From the Hood and Half Baked.

He returned to the crime-solving genre with Hallmark's Mystery Woman series in 2006. He appeared in 10 of the made-for-TV films on the network.

More recently, Clarence returned to the big screen for Lee Daniels' The Butler in 2013.

Fans on Twitter expressed their heartache about Clarence's passing.

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"I remember Clarence as the first serious Black person on tv," one user tweeted. "He was matter of fact when he played Linc on the Mod Squad. No catch phrases, no over the top reactions, just a cool level headed person trying to help solve crime.
R.I.P. Clarence Williams III."

Clarence Williams III, Weinstein Company's "Lee Daniels'
Clarence Williams III, Weinstein Company's "Lee Daniels'

"Clarence Williams III was the epitome of cool who showed his versatility going from the Mod Squad to Prince Tortured brilliant musician father in Purple Rain to the Sinister Mr. Simms in Tales From The Hood," another added.

A third shared, "Rest In Power to the legend Clarence Williams III. His performance in Sugar Hill is often overlooked."

E! News has reached out to the star's reps for comment, but we have yet to receive a response.