PASSINGS: Michael Davis, Dick Anthony Williams, Ric Waite

Michael Davis

Bassist for rock band MC5

Michael Davis, 68, the bassist of influential late 1960s rock band MC5, died Friday of liver failure at Enloe Medical Center in Chico, Calif., said his wife, Angela Davis.

The Motor City Five, later known as MC5, rose to prominence in 1964, making waves with incendiary anti-establishment lyrics and a blistering early punk sound, starting with their first album "Kick Out the Jams," released in 1969.

Known for its live performances, the band played outside the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago before rioting ended the concert.

The band dissolved in 1972.

Writing in Village Voice in 1991, Mike Rubin stated that MC5's influence "lives on in any heavy metal band from Motley Crue to Metallica, and their anti-establishment posture was at least as big an influence on punk rock."

Davis later played in a version of the group called DKT-MC5 with former MC5 members Wayne Kramer on guitar and Dennis Thompson on drums.

Born June 5, 1943, Davis attended Wayne State University in Michigan but dropped out in 1964 to play music.

Two other original band members, lead singer Rob Tyner and guitarist Fred "Sonic" Smith, died in the 1990s.

Dick Anthony Williams

Tony-nominated actor

Dick Anthony Williams, 77, a prolific actor who was nominated for Tony Awards for his work in the 1970s Broadway dramas "Black Picture Show" and "What the Wine-Sellers Buy" and gained acclaim for his portrayal of Malcolm X in theater and TV productions, died Thursday at Valley Presbyterian Hospital in Van Nuys after a long illness, said family friend Samantha Wheeler.

Williams was described in a 1979 Times profile as "an actor with the capacity for turning tiny roles into small gems."

He played Malcolm X in the 1978 NBC miniseries "King" starring Paul Winfield in the title role and again played the militant in several theatrical productions of Jeff Stetson's play "The Meeting" as well as a version of the drama that aired on public television.

Williams was a regular on the early '90s ABC-TV series "The Homefront" and had guest roles on "The Jeffersons," "Lou Grant," "L.A. Law," "The X-Files," "Law & Order," "The Larry Sanders Show," "NYPD Blue" and many other TV series. His film appearances included "The Mack," "Five on the Black Hand Side," "The Jerk," "Gardens of Stone," "Edward Scissorhands" and "Mo' Better Blues."

On stage, he directed and starred in "Big Time Buck White" in Watts before it moved to New York. In New York he was active in the early days of Woodie King Jr.'s New Federal Theatre and its minority-focused productions.

Born in Chicago on Aug. 9, 1934, Williams had polio as a child and began acting in college.

Ric Waite, a cinematographer who won an Emmy Award for the 1976TV miniseries "Captains and the Kings" and whose film credits included "The Long Riders," "The Border," "48 Hrs.," "Footloose" and "Red Dawn," died Saturday of a heart attack at his home in Los Angeles, said his agent, Crayton Smith. He was 78.

-- Los Angeles Times staff and wire reports

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