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The American actor Richard Roundtree, famous for his performances in the Shaft movies, passed away at the age of 81.
According to his manager, Patrick McMinn, Roundtree passed away on Tuesday afternoon in his Los Angeles residence while in the company of his loved ones.
He succumbed to a short battle with pancreatic cancer.
According to the Hollywood Reporter, Mr. McMinn stated that Richard’s career and accomplishments were a pivotal moment for African American male actors in the film industry.
His contributions to the industry were immeasurable, he stated.
In 1993, Roundtree received a diagnosis of breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.
He subsequently stated, “Breast cancer does not discriminate based on gender. Men often have a nonchalant approach to their health. My decision to speak openly about my experience received a lot of support, and it has been several years since then. I am a survivor.”
Roundtree was married two times and is currently survived by four daughters and one son.
On July 9, 1942, Roundtree entered the world in New Rochelle, New York. His parents, John and Kathryn Roundtree, were documented as a butler and cook, respectively, in the 1940 census for the same household, as reported by the New York Times.
He went to New Rochelle High School and was a member of the football team.
In 1971, the film Shaft launched Roundtree into fame at the young age of 29.
After his appearance in Shaft, Roundtree took on a variety of roles in different films. He was part of a talented ensemble including Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner in the disaster movie Earthquake (1974). He played the lead character in Man Friday (1975), playing a lively and kind companion to Peter O’Toole’s Robinson Crusoe during the 17th century.
In the film Inchon (1981), Roundtree portrayed an Army officer serving on General Douglas MacArthur’s (played by Laurence Olivier) staff during the Korean War. He also appeared alongside Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds in City Heat (1984) and battled a giant flying reptile in Q (1982).
The Hollywood Reporter cited him as having said that during a visit to LA, his father reminded him of the constant presence of the Shaft character in his life. His father advised him to be grateful for the recognition, as many people pass away without leaving a mark.
The Artists & Representatives Agency expressed their sadness over the passing of their friend and client, Richard Roundtree, in a statement.
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“His groundbreaking professional journey revolutionized the entertainment industry worldwide and his lasting impact will be remembered for years to come. Our thoughts are with his family and close ones as they navigate through this challenging period.”
Samuel L. Jackson, who assumed control of the Shaft film series in 2000, honored the actor on his social media. He wrote, “Richard Roundtree, the original, the greatest to ever do it! SHAFT, as we know it, will always be his creation!”
“His death has created a profound void, not just in my heart but I’m sure in many of yours as well. I love you, Brother. I can imagine you strolling down the center of Main Street in Heaven while Isaac conducts your iconic song, the Theme from Shaft, which earned an Oscar.”
The source is the website independent.co.uk.