Monday, June 7, 2021

R.I.P., Clarence Williams III

R.I.P. to Clarence Williams III. Best known to audiences for THE MOD SQUAD, he was a former paratrooper, brilliant stage performer, and character actor who brought a singular intensity and scary fun to his roles, even when he was being pigeonholed as a convict or a gangster (see: MANIAC COP 2, AGAINST THE WALL, REINDEER GAMES, MIAMI VICE, AMERICAN GANGSTER, HOODLUM, THE COOL WORLD, etc.). He had a small but solid arc as an FBI agent on TWIN PEAKS, a fun bit in John Frankenheimer's TALES FROM THE CRYPT (one of his six collaborations with Frankenheimer) and got to play at "Cryptkeeper" himself in TALES FROM THE HOOD. He had an excellent supporting role in the very underrated DEEP COVER, and was the "Obi-Wan Kenobi" of butlers in THE BUTLER. His role as Prince's dad in PURPLE RAIN is an especially good one, but I must say that my personal favorite might be his turn as a blackmailer in Frankenheimer's Cannon film 52 PICK-UP, where he plays one of the most fearsome sociopaths in filmdom. R.I.P.


jj said...

RIP CWIII, one of the character actor greats.

I watched 52 Pick Up off you recommendation, and that was definitely a stand out role for him; he was easily the scariest guy on the screen, and more than any other plot point, I spent most of the movie wondering how both the good guy AND the bad guy would get this maniac off their ass.

Sean Gill said...


Totally––and I'm glad you enjoyed! A truly terrifying performance.