Clarence Williams III -- famous for roles in "The Mod Squad," "Half Baked" and several other movies and shows -- has died. The veteran actor's management team confirmed the sad news Sunday, saying Clarence had actually passed away Friday in L.A. due to colon cancer. CWIII had a long history with his craft ... dating back to the '60s when he got his start in theater and broke through on Broadway with a Tony win for his work on "Slow Dance on the Killing Ground." He went on to do TV and movie acting thereafter -- and had a number of memorable roles. He might best be remembered for playing Detective Linc Hayes on 'Mod Squad' ... in which he starred for five seasons, totaling 123 episodes. After that, the work kept pouring in for Clarence ... he was cast in supporting roles in hit shows like "The Cosby Show," "The Littlest Hobo," "Hill Street Blues," "T.J. Hooker," "Miami Vice," "Nasty Boys," "Twin Peaks," "Tales from the Cyrpt," "The Highwayman," 'Star Trek,' "Walker, Texas Ranger" and countless others. Clarence also had several standout performances for cult classic films, including "Purple Rain" -- in which he played Prince's troubled dad -- as well as Dave Chappelle's stoner comedy "Half Baked" ... where he played a flamboyant local drug lord Samson Simpson, who was dueling with DC's booming Mr. Nice Guy weed biz in the flick. Tons of great lines from that. Clarence had starred in a ton of other huge movies as well, such as "The General's Daughter," "Reindeer Games," "The Butler," "Deep Cover," "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka," "Sugar Hill," "Tales from the Hood" ...and many, many more. He was 81.
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