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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.

Williams also lent himself to horror, portraying a funeral director who ultimately transforms into the devil himself in 1995’s Tales From The Hood.

On The Mod Squad, Williams helped usher in counter-culture on television programming, starring alongside Peggy Lipton and Michael Cole. The show aired for five seasons and discussed timely issues such as anti-war protests, drug addiction, racism and more.

Born in 1939, Williams was the son of a musician Clay Williams and was raised by his grandparents: composer-pianist Clarence Williams and Eva Taylor.

Williams’ extensive filmography also included the films Hoodlum, American Gangster, Deep Cover and more.

Clarence Williams III, Character Actor Known For ‘The Mod Squad’ & ‘Purple Rain’ Dead At 81  was originally published on