Richard Roundtree, who broke ground with his signature role in the Shaft movie franchise, passed away this afternoon, Oct. 24, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer with his family at his bedside. He was 81.
Roundtree, who was born in 1942 in New Rochelle, NY, starred in blaxploitation films in the early 1970s, including Shaft. He is best known for playing detective John Shaft in the 1971 action thriller and its sequels, Shaft’s Big Score! (1972) and Shaft in Africa (1973) as well as the short-lived 1973 Shaft TV series.
For his performance in the original film, Roundtree was nominated for a New Star of the Year Golden Globe and hailed as the first Black action hero.
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Decades later, Roundtree reprised his role in the 2000 John Singleton movie Shaft starring Samuel L. Jackson and the 2019 Tim Story-directed sequel.
Roundtree’s many film credits also include the 1981 Inchon, in which he appeared opposite Laurence Olivier and Ben Gazzara, the 1984 City Heat opposite Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds as well as Se7en, George of the Jungle, Body of Influence, Amityville: A New Generation and What Men Want. He was last seen last year in the Paul Weitz comedy Moving On.
On television, Roundtree played slave Sam Bennett in the acclaimed 1977 miniseries Roots. He had major roles on such series as Generations, 413 Hope St., Alias, Diary of a Single Mom, Buddies, Desperate Housewives, Soul Food, Being Mary Jane, and Family Reunion. He most recently was a Season 2 main cast member on Ava DuVernay’s OWN series Cherish the Day last year.
Roundtree’s death was confirmed to Deadline by his agency, Artists & Representatives, and his longtime manager, Patrick McMinn.
“Artists & Representatives Agency mourns the loss of our friend and client Richard Roundtree,” the agency said in a statement. “His trailblazing career changed the face of entertainment around the globe and his enduring legacy will be felt for generations to come. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”
Last edited by Basketball Fan on Sat Oct 28, 2023 6:15 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Posted: Tue Oct 24, 2023 5:33 pm Post subject:
RIP. Definitely an icon. _________________ You thought God was an architect, now you know
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Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2023 8:33 am Post subject:
I recently watched him in Shaft 2000 and Shaft 2019. His parts were small but his presence was notable. He starred in the short lived Shaft series. It only lasted one season 1971. It was canceled for low ratings. I liked the series. RIP
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