US actor and sometime singer RICHARD ROUNDTREE died on Tuesday 24th October. He was 81 years old and his death was confirmed by Patrick McMinn, his manager since 1987. It’s known that Roundtree had recently been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer.
Richard Roundtree, of course, will always be remembered for playing Shaft – New York’s coolest detective. He landed them part in 1971 and both movie and star struck a chord with audiences worldwide. The film’s success, aided in no small part by Isaac Hayes’ Oscar-winning soundtrack, helped fuel a boom in so-called “blaxploitation” films. Roundtree played John Shaft in sequels and in the successful TV series. He also played a cameo role in the Samuel L Jackson ‘Shaft’ reboot.
The actor also tried his hand at singing , issuing two albums on MGM –‘The Man from Shaft’ and ‘Street Brother’.
In announcing Roundtree’s passing manager McMinn said: “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.”