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Clarence Williams III, an actor who gained fame playing Linc on the hit ABC series The Mod Squad in the 1970s, has died. He was 81.

Williams died of colon cancer on Friday (June 4), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The actor was born in Harlem, New York and quickly gravitated towards the stage, earning a Tony nomination for his work in the three-person drama Slow Dance on the Killing Ground. Later, he would gain even larger fame in Black Hollywood with his portrayal of Prince’s father in 1984’s Purple Rain, the comedic leader of the People’s Revolutionary Army in 1988’s I’m Gonna Git You Sucka and the drug lord Sampson in Dave Chappelle’s 1998 comedy, Half-Baked.

In honor of his life and iconic onscreen characters, today we highlight a few of Williams’ most memorable roles.


From ‘Purple Rain’ To ‘American Gangster’: The Unforgettable Roles Of Clarence Williams III [VIDEO]  was originally published on

1. Bumpy Johnson “American Gangster”

2. Winston Hancock “Life”

3. Lincoln “Linc” Hayes “The Mod Squad”

4. Mr. Simms “Tales From The Hood”

5. Arthur Romello “A.R.” Skuggs “Sugar Hill”

6. “Bub” Hewlett “Hoodlum”

7. Samson “Half Baked”

8. Detective Taft “Deep Cover”

9. Father “Purple Rain”

10. Kalinga “I’m Gonna Git You Sucka”

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