Shaft actor Richard Roundtree dies at 81

Richard Roundtree has lost his brief battle with pancreatic cancer at the age of 81.

The American actor succumbed on Tuesday afternoon, October 24.

His death was confirmed by his longtime manager Patrick McMinn.

“Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film,” the actor’s manager since 1987 shared in his statement. “The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated.”

Earlier in 1993, the Shaft actor also faced and conquered another health challenge. He was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.

Four years later he shared, “Breast cancer is not gender specific,” the actor continued,”And men have this cavalier attitude about health issues. I got such positive feedback because I spoke out about it, and it’s been quite a number of years now. I’m a survivor.”

The icon of Blaxploitation, hailed as the first Black action hero, after his remarkable portrayal of John Shaft–a private detective– in Mark Gordan’s 1971 smash hit, Shaft.

Following the original film, he reprised his role in the sequels of the action thriller, Shaft’s BIg Score! 1972 and Shaft in Africa 1973, as well as short lived Shaft Tv Series in the same year.

For his performance in the original Shaft, he earned a nomination for a New Star of the Year Golden Globe. 


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