Richard Roundtree: Remembering the Iconic Shaft Actor and Trailblazing Black Action Hero

Richard Roundtree, the iconic actor known for his role as detective John Shaft in the “Shaft” movie franchise, has passed away at the age of 81 after a brave battle with pancreatic cancer. His manager, Patrick McMinn, confirmed the sad news, revealing that Richard was diagnosed with cancer just two months ago. Richard peacefully passed away surrounded by his family at his home in Los Angeles.

Richard Roundtree will always be remembered as the first Black action hero in Hollywood. His breakthrough performance in “Shaft” catapulted him to fame and even earned him a nomination for New Star of the Year at the Golden Globe Awards.

Aside from his role in the “Shaft” movies, Richard also starred in the 1973 “Shaft” TV series. He reprised his role as John Shaft in the 2000 remake alongside Samuel L. Jackson and in the 2019 version.

Richard’s talent wasn’t limited to action films. He had a role in the famous “Roots” miniseries, portraying the character of Sam Bennett. More recently, he played Gabrielle Union’s father in the drama series “Being Mary Jane.”

Gabrielle Union fondly remembers working with Richard, describing it as a dream experience. She shares that Richard exuded incredible vibes and was considered the coolest man in the room. People would flock to him just to be in his presence.

Our last conversation with Richard was in 2018 when he shared insights about filming the “Shaft” reboots with Samuel L. Jackson.

Richard Roundtree’s legacy as a trailblazing actor and his unforgettable portrayal of John Shaft will forever be cherished. Rest in peace.

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