Shocking: Iconic ‘Shaft’ Star Richard Roundtree Dies at 81

Discover the incredible legacy of Richard Roundtree, the iconic ‘Shaft’ actor who transformed Hollywood. Explore his journey and the enduring impact he’s left on the entertainment world.

Richard Roundtree Death
Richard Roundtree dies aged 81.

Richard Roundtree, celebrated for his iconic portrayal of the titular character in the groundbreaking “Shaft” franchise, passed away on October 24th at the age of 81.

His long-time manager, Patrick McMinn, confirmed that Roundtree succumbed to a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, with his family by his side.

Spanning a remarkable five-decade career, Roundtree became a trailblazer as the first Black action hero with his role as Detective John Shaft in the 1971 action thriller. He continued to captivate audiences in sequels such as “Shaft’s Big Score!,” “Shaft in Africa,” and the 1973 “Shaft” TV series. Later, he reprised the role in John Singleton’s 2000 film “Shaft,” starring Samuel L. Jackson, and the 2019 sequel directed by Tim Story.

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Richard Roundtree acted in many films and shows

His diverse filmography included noteworthy credits like “Inchon” (1981) alongside Laurence Olivier and Ben Gazzara, as well as “City Heat” (1984) with Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds. Roundtree’s talents graced a wide array of films, from “Se7en” to “George of the Jungle,” “Body of Influence,” “Amityville: A New Generation,” and “What Men Want.” His final big-screen appearance was in the 2022 comedy “Moving On.”

Richard Roundtree also made a lasting impact on television, with standout roles in the acclaimed 1977 miniseries “Roots” as slave Sam Bennett. His television credits extended to series like “Generations,” “413 Hope St.,” “Alias,” “Diary of a Single Mom,” “Soul Food,” “Buddies,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Being Mary Jane,” and “Family Reunion.” In 2022, he joined the cast of season 2 of Ava DuVernay’s OWN series “Cherish the Day.”

His talent agency, Artists & Representatives Agency, emphasized Roundtree’s transformative influence on the entertainment industry, stating, “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.”

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One of his co-stars from “Being Mary Jane,” Gabrielle Union, shared her sentiments on social media, stating, “Working with Richard Roundtree was a dream. He was ALWAYS the coolest man in the room with the BEST vibes & ppl would literally run over to come see him. He was simply the best & we all loved him.”

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