Richard Roundtree has passed away, leaving behind a legacy that will be cherished for generations. The beloved actor, known for his iconic role in “Shaft,” succumbed to pancreatic cancer after a brief battle, with his family at his side. He was 81.
In a heartfelt statement, the Artists & Representatives Agency expressed their deep sorrow at the loss of their dear friend and client, Richard Roundtree. His ever rising career changed the landscape of entertainment worldwide, leaving an indelible mark that will be felt by future generations. During this difficult time, their thoughts and condolences are with his family and loved ones.
Richard Roundtree’s portrayal of detective John Shaft in the groundbreaking film “Shaft” in 1971 forever etched his name in the annals of cinematic history. As the first Black action hero, he shattered barriers and opened doors for countless others. His embodiment of Shaft continued in the franchise’s sequels and television series. Notably, Roundtree reprised the iconic character in the 2000 and 2019 reboots, where he shared the screen with Samuel L. Jackson.
In addition to his legendary role as Shaft, Roundtree graced the silver screen in a range of films, including “Inchon,” “Se7en,” “George of the Jungle,” and “Moving On.” On the small screen, his presence was equally significant, with appearances in notable series like “Roots,” “Alias,” “Desperate Housewives,” and “Family Reunion.”
Celebrities and colleagues from the entertainment industry paid heartfelt tributes to the late actor. Gabrielle Union, who co-starred with Roundtree in “Being Mary Jane,” fondly remembered their time together, highlighting his magnetic presence, captivating stories, and infectious laughter. Comedian Loni Love honored Roundtree’s pivotal role as John Shaft, acknowledging his contribution to diversity and representation in film.
Sad to hear of the passing of Richard Roundtree.. He was fabulous as John Shaft at a time when there were few leading Black men in film. He put the sexy and cool in being a detective. Rest well. Condolences to his family. 🙏🏾 pic.twitter.com/9HNJHS6yUz
— Loni Love (@LoniLove) October 25, 2023
The passing of Richard Roundtree is a somber moment for the entertainment world, but his remarkable contributions and enduring impact will continue to be celebrated with love and admiration.