Happy Birthday to one of my favorite actors a great actor. Whose also one of the most underrated character actors in Hollywood. Williams is probably best known for his role as an undercover detective on the Mod Squad. Which I’m not sure is even a very good show for the early 1970s even. And perhaps not even that believable when you’re talking about ex-cons who get the opportunity to get out of jail if they agree to become undercover police officers, or detectives. But it was a very hip show for its time at least and perhaps that is the only thing that it had going for it. But seeing it on reruns especially the writing it looks pretty cheesy for that time period.
But Williams career is a lot better than just Mod Squad. He was in I’m Going to Get You Sucka, which is a very good African-American action/comedy from 1988. And he had big roles on Miami Vice perhaps the greatest police detective show of all-time. Hill Street Blues from the early 1980s on NBC about New York City police officers. Reindeer Games from 2000 where he was one of the kidnappers in that movie. TNT’s George Wallace from 1997 where he played a loyal servant to a Dixiecrat Alabama governor who used all sorts of racial if not racist rhetoric against African-Americans simply to stay in and expand his power in Alabama.
When I think of Clarence Williams, I think of the ultimate tough guy who always looks like he’s about to go nuts and just beat the hell out of someone, or a lot of people, or kill a lot of people. He generally plays the bad guy with Clint Eastwood’s Magnum Force from 1973 being an exception to that. But a lot of that has to do with the fact that he’s so good at that and is big tall strong guy who looks like he kicks ass very well. Plus he’s such a great character actor that he tends to get a lot of roles in action, or dramatic films and TV that have him playing roles like that. He’s a great character actor and who plays the bad ass as well as it can be played.