Bryan Alexander, USA TODAY
Published 6: 51 p.m. ET June 6, 2021 | Updated 7: 43 p.m. ET June 6, 2021
Williams died on June 4 in Los Angeles of colon most cancers, his administration company confirmed to USA TODAY.
The late actor starred on the counter-culture police series alongside Peggy Lipton (who died in 2019) as Julie Barnes and Michael Cole as Pete Cochran from 1968 to 1973. The trio portrayed young adults who had outdated police accelerate-ins, but later grew to develop into LAPD undercover police officers beneath the inform of Capt. Adam Greer (Tige Andrews).
It changed into ground-breaking for a Gloomy actor at the time to contain the starring function during five seasons on the series govt produced by Aaron Spelling, as Williams discussed in a 1995 Los Angeles Occasions interview.
“It changed into a extraordinarily totally different function for an African American and a wonderful lead character that a type of kids, dusky and white, and principally African American children would possibly perhaps additionally determine with,” he acknowledged.
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As musician and actor Lenny Kravitz acknowledged on Twitter in tribute on Sunday, “Once I changed into a baby growing up in NYC, Clarence Williams III changed into a face on TV that I identified with and that inspired me.”
“From Mod Squad, to Pink Rain and Sugar Hill, he consistently conducted with dynamic energy. Relaxation in vitality, king,” Kravitz added.
Once I changed into a baby growing up in NYC Clarence Williams III changed into a face on TV that I identified with and that inspired me. From the Mod Squad, to Pink Rain and Sugar Hill, he consistently conducted with dynamic energy. Relaxation in vitality, king ✊🏾 pic.twitter.com/GIZLSjp4uV
— Lenny Kravitz (@LennyKravitz) June 6, 2021
Williams, born on Aug. 21, 1939, changed into the son of professional musician Clay Williamsand Eva Taylor, a singer and actress. His grandfather Clarence Williams changed into a composer-pianist and a frequent collaborator of blues narrative Bessie Smith.
After enlisting in the U.S. Military and serving as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, Williams returned to acting and earned the break-out function in “The Mod Squad.”
His character’s utilize of the be aware “strong” as a obvious description changed into one of the main “Mod Squad” phrases to develop into incorporated into mainstream venacular.
Williams starred as Wesley Snipes’ father in 1993’s “Sugar Hill” and as a non secular detective in 1992’s “Deep Cover” with Laurence Fishburne and Jeff Goldblum.
In Dave Chappelle’s 1998 stoner comedy “Half Baked,” Williams played a flamboyant native drug lord Samson Simpson.
Working with Prince on “Pink Rain,” portraying his father, changed into “chaotic,” but a special skills in his life, Williams told The Occasions.
“There changed into an acoustic guitar laying on the space and Prince changed into sitting on ground, genuine staring off into condominium and I guess he changed into going throughout the identical route of I changed into going through – thinking about what we had shot,” Williams recalled. “He genuine picked up the guitar and started doodling. I had my eyes closed, and I changed into leaning lend a hand in the chair and I considered Jimi Hendrix. I imply he changed into hitting some chords and the soundstage changed into completely soundless. It changed into genuine a wonderful, wonderful skills.”
He additionally starred as Maynard in 2013’s “Lee Daniels’ The Butler” and looked as tune narrative Huey Jarvis in Daniels’ “Empire” in 2015.
Williams changed into married to actress Gloria Foster from 1967-84. He is survived by his sister Sondra Pugh, daughter Jamey Phillips, niece Suyin Shaw, grandnephews Elliot Shaw and Ese Shaw, and grandniece Azaria Verdin.
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