Action hero Richard Roundtree of Shaft fame dies of pancreatic most cancers at 81

Richard Roundtree, a trailblazing Black actor who performed the non-public eye John Shaft within the Shaft movies of the Nineteen Seventies and likewise took on dramatic roles coping with race relations in America, died on Tuesday aged 81, the Hollywood Reporter stated, citing his supervisor.

Richard Roundtree poses on the premiere of the film What Men Want in Los Angeles in 2019. (REUTERS)

Roundtree died at his residence in Los Angeles of pancreatic most cancers, the Reporter stated, citing his supervisor, Patrick McMinn. Roundtree’s representatives didn’t instantly reply to a Reuters request for affirmation.

“Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film. The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated,” McMinn stated in an announcement, in accordance with Variety, one other present enterprise commerce publication.

Roundtree shot to fame with the 1971 Blaxploitation film Shaft a couple of non-public detective within the Harlem part of New York, and he reprised the function in quite a lot of sequels and a short-lived community TV sequence. The rugged and streetwise character, who wore flashy leather-based jackets and who was accompanied by a catchy theme tune from Isaac Hayes, helped outline cool for a Black main man and likewise gained acceptance from white audiences.

Roundtree additionally had a task within the groundbreaking ABC tv slavery drama Roots in 1977 and different distinguished tasks of the period, taking part in bike daredevil Miles in 1974’s Earthquake. Among his extra poignant movies was 1996’s Once Upon a Time … When We Were Colored, the story a tight-knit Black neighborhood confronting the racism of post-war Mississippi. He additionally performed reverse Peter O’Toole’s Robinson Crusoe in Man Friday in 1975 and alongside Laurence Olivier’s depiction of General Douglas MacArthur in 1981’s Inchon.

Roundtree labored usually till the tip, with 159 appearing credit to his identify plus three upcoming tasks but to be launched, in accordance with He was married twice and is survived by 4 daughters – Nicole, Tayler, Morgan and Kelli Roundtree – and his son, James, Variety stated.

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