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‘Shaft’ actor Richard Roundtree dies

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'Shaft', actor, Richard Roundtree dies
Actor Richard Roundtree dies (Photo: Sutterstock)
  • Shaft actor Richard Roundtree dies.
  • The news was confirmed by his manager.
  • May he rest in peace.

The entertainment world is mourning the loss of Richard Roundtree, the iconic actor who dazzled audiences in films and television shows.

Roundtree is widely remembered for his role as the intrepid detective John Shaft in the 1971 action film Shaft.

The news was confirmed by his long-time manager, Patrick McMinn, according to Variety magazine.

«Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film,» McMinn said in a statement.

What did actor Richard Roundtree die of?

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PHOTO: Shutterstock

Roundtree passed away on Tuesday after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer, at the age of 81.

«The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated,» the manager stated.

Richard Roundtree, an actor who demonstrated his acting talent early on, began his career in the world of modeling.

This was before he rose to fame at the age of 28 with Shaft. The film became a huge box office success, grossing $12 million.

The film that made him famous

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PHOTO Shutterstock

Beyond its financial success, Shaft marked a milestone in film history by kicking off a prolific decade of movies known as Blaxploitation.

These highlighted the lack of representation and opportunities for Black actors in Hollywood, according to Variety.

When asked in a 2019 interview about the «exploitation» label attached to Shaft, Roundtree made an unexpected statement.

«So, that word, exploitation, I take offense to with any attachment to Gordon Parks… I’ve always viewed that as a negative. Exploitation. Who is being exploited?» the actor stated.

«It gave work to a lot of people»

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PHOTO: Shutterstock

«But it gave work to a lot of people. It gave a lot of people entry into the business, including many of our current producers and directors,” the actor added in this regard.

Two sequels quickly followed the original film: Shaft’s Big Score and Shaft in Africa.

Throughout his career, Roundtree proved to be much more than the iconic Shaft, with roles in films such as Earthquake.

He also appeared in films such as Man Friday and Q – The Winged Serpent. Additionally, he made numerous guest star appearances on television shows.

Roundtree returned to the film that made him famous

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PHOTO: Shutterstock

Roundtree returned to the world of Shaft in 2000 in the version of the franchise directed by John Singleton, where he shared the screen with Samuel L. Jackson.

Jackson played a detective named John Shaft, the nephew of Roundtree’s original character, according to Variety.

Born on July 9, 1942 in Rochester, New York, Richard Roundtree briefly attended Southern Illinois University.

In the late ’60s, he joined the Negro Ensemble Company and began performing in theater productions in New York.

Fans mourn his death

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PHOTO: Shutterstock

Fans immediately went to his Instagram account to leave messages after the news of his death.

«May one of the best rest in peace.» «Rest King» «You were a king of inspiration. Rest well. Job well done,» they commented on his last post.

Richard Roundtree’s passing leaves a void in the film industry and a legacy that will continue to inspire future generations of actors and film buffs.

His contribution to diversity in cinema and his legacy on the big screen will live on in the memories of all who had the privilege of enjoying his talent.

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