Richard Roundtree, Legendary ‘Shaft’ Star, Passes Away at 81

Renowned actor Richard Roundtree, famous for his iconic portrayal of a tough private investigator in the 1971 film “Shaft,” has passed away at the age of 81. The sad news was confirmed by Roundtree’s manager, Patrick McMinn, citing a brief battle with pancreatic cancer as the cause of his demise.

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McMinn praised Roundtree’s significant impact on the film industry, highlighting how his work served as a turning point for African American leading men in movies. The actor’s groundbreaking role in “Shaft” marked a pivotal moment, catapulting him into the cultural spotlight and initiating a franchise that included sequels, a TV series, and a 2019 reboot featuring Samuel L. Jackson.

Throughout his illustrious career spanning 50 years, Roundtree amassed over 150 screen credits, leaving an indelible mark on both film and television. His notable contributions extended beyond “Shaft,” encompassing roles in acclaimed productions like “Roots,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Roundtree also graced the big screen in movies such as “Se7en,” “Speed Racer,” and “Brick.”

The entertainment industry mourns the loss of this legendary actor. Tributes poured in from fellow stars, including actress Gabrielle Union, who shared cherished memories from their time together on the TV series “Being Mary Jane.” Samuel L. Jackson, Roundtree’s co-star in the “Shaft” reboot, expressed profound sorrow, describing him as “The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!!” in a heartfelt Instagram tribute.


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