Richard Roundtree, an iconic Hollywood actor celebrated for his role. as John Shaft in the Shaft movie series passed away on October 24 at the age of 81 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.
His manager, Patrick McMinn of McMinn Management and Artists and Representative Agency, confirmed Roundtree’s death by revealing his fight with a fatal disease and passed away on Tuesday afternoon, surrounded by his family. He said, “Artists and Representatives Agency mourns the loss of our friend and client Richard Roundtree.”
Besides his acting career and Richard Roundtree movies, he is well known for his battle with breast cancer, which he was diagnosed with in 1993. He proved himself a prominent advocate for raising awareness about breast cancer in men.
Richard Roundtree, an actor, was born in New Rochelle, New York, and had a background in football. And modeling before stepping into theatre. He joined New York’s renowned Negro Ensemble Company and aced as Jack Johnson in “The great white hope.”
Richard Roundtree’s remarkable career extended almost five decades, encompassing a comprehensive range of roles. He started with an early appearance on the T.V. series “As the World Turns” in 1956, and after a promising career, he played a prominent role in Ava DuVernay’s OWN series, “Cherish the Day” in 2022.
If we talk about Richard Rountree’s movies, he is best known for portraying detective John Shaft in the action thriller 1971 film directed by legendary Gordon Parks. The film won Oscars for its music and original song by Isaac Hayes. Also, it changed the landscape of Hollywood by introducing an unapologetic African-American hero who played Shaft in John Shaft.
Richard Roundtree actor was hotter than James Bond and cooler than Bullitt, so he appeared in the sequels “Shaft’s Big Score” (1972) and “Shaft in Africa” (1973) as well as the short-lived 1973 Sharft TV series.
Richard Roundtree’s actor performance in the original film a New Star of the Year Golden Globe nomination and glorified his status as the first Black action hero. Most importantly, the Shaft film made a prominent cultural impact, portraying Black power onscreen and achieving success at the box office.
The success of “Shaft” led to major studio films with strong Black leads, opened up many acting opportunities for Roundtree, and made him a familiar face on the screen. He appeared in various action movies of the 1980s and 1990s, including “Original Gangsters.”
Richard Roundtree’s extensive career also included roles in popular T.V. series like “Chips,” “Magnum P.I.,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” and “Desperate Housewives.” Roundtree later played older versions of himself in new “Shaft” films starring Samuel L. Jackson.
In 2000, the original “Shaft” movie was chosen for preservation in the National States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress, recognizing the significance of culture and history and considered one of the finest films ever made. He also received a Peabody Award for narrating “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow,” a PBS documentary released in 2022.
Richard Roundtree’s movies include roles in films such as “Inchon” (1981), where he worked alongside Laurence Olivier and Ben Gazzara, “City Heat” (1984), and other notable titles were “Se7en,” “George of the Jungle,” “Body of Influence,” “What Men Want,” and “Amityville: A New Generation.”
Richard Roundtree’s net worth was $2 million at his death. His promising career had a lasting impact on the entertainment industry, and his legacy will continue to influence future generations. Cheo Coker, the creator of the Netflix series, “Luke Cage,” referred to Roundtree as his hero and a significant inspiration for the character Luke Cage.