(written from a Production point of view)
Clarence Williams III (21 August 1939 – 4 June 2021; age 81) was the Tony Award-nominated actor who played Omet'iklan in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine fourth season episode "To the Death". He is perhaps best known for his role as "Linc Hayes" on the 1970s television series The Mod Squad, co-starring Tige Andrews, and produced by Harve Bennett.
Born in New York City, Williams was the grandson of legendary musician Clarence Williams and blues singer Eva Taylor. Williams became interested in drama as a teenager and began pursuing an acting career following a two-year stint in the United States Air Force. He started performing in stage productions, ultimately working his way to the Broadway stage in 1960 with a role in a short-lived play called The Long Dream. He also broke into feature films, making his debut in the medium with an uncredited appearance in the 1959 war drama Pork Chop Hill, which also featured Biff Elliot, Barry Atwater, Ken Lynch, Paul Comi, and Bert Remsen.
From November 1964 through February 1965, Williams starred in the Broadway production of Slow Dance on the Killing Ground. His performance in this play earned him a 1965 Tony Award nomination as Best Featured Actor in a Play. He also won the 1965 Theatre World Award for his performance. Three years later, he won the role of the afro-wearing "Linc Hayes" on The Mod Squad. He remained with the show for all five seasons, ending in 1973. He reprised the role in 1979 for the TV movie Return of the Mod Squad. Later that year, Williams returned to the Broadway stage to co-star with Dwight Schultz in Night and Day, which ran for 95 performances, ending in 1980.
It was during the 1980s that Williams began to appear in more films and television shows. He guest-starred in two episodes of T.J. Hooker, which starred fellow Star Trek veterans William Shatner, James Darren, and Richard Herd. Williams also made guest appearances on the TV shows Hill Street Blues (1984, with Barbara Bosson and James B. Sikking), The Cosby Show (1985, with Sabrina Le Beauf), and Miami Vice (1985, directed by Michael O'Herlihy). His film credits during the 1980s included 52 Pick-Up (1986, with John Glover and Alex Henteloff), Tough Guys Don't Dance (1987, with Lawrence Tierney), and I'm Gonna Git You Sucka (1988, with Bernie Casey). He also played the father of Prince's character, "The Kid", in the 1984 musical film Purple Rain.
Throughout the 1990s, Williams was seen on such shows as Twin Peaks (1990, co-starring with Mädchen Amick, Richard Beymer, and Tony Jay), Tales from the Crypt (1992, with Salome Jens), and Walker, Texas Ranger (1997, with Noble Willingham). His appearance on the series Millennium (starring Megan Gallagher and Terry O'Quinn) earned him an Image Award nomination in 1998, as did his role in the film Hoodlum (1997, with Mike Starr and Vanessa Williams). His other film projects during the 1990s included My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys (1991, with Megan Parlen), Deep Cover (1992, with Gregory Sierra), Tales from the Hood (1995, with Corbin Bernsen), The Brave (1997, with Iggy Pop and Azalea Davila), Forgs for Snakes (1998, with Ron Perlman and Mike Starr), the popular 1998 comedy Half-Baked, and an acclaimed performance in the 1999 drama The General's Daughter, in which he co-starred with James Cromwell.
Some of Williams' later TV appearances include episodes of Law & Order and Judging Amy. Between 2005 and 2007, Williams starred as Philby in Hallmark's Mystery Woman series of made-for-TV movies. As for his later film work, both Williams and fellow DS9 actress Rosalind Chao made uncredited appearances in the 2002 science fiction film Imposter, which also featured Brian Brophy. In 2004, Williams starred with David Clennon, Alec Newman, Zoe Saldana, and Gabrielle Union in the 2004 drama film Constellation. In this film, Saldana and Union played relatives of Williams' character. Williams played the Harlem gangster Bumpy Johnson in the acclaimed 2007 crime drama American Gangster with Kathleen Garrett.
He died of colon cancer on 4 June 2021.