Home / News / Shaft star Richard Roundtree dies at 81

Shaft star Richard Roundtree dies at 81

Blaxploitation icon Richard Roundtree, who played detective John Shaft in Gordon Parks’ 1971 action thriller, died Tuesday afternoon after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81 years old.

His death was confirmed by Patrick McMinn, his manager since 1987.

“Richard’s work and career marked a turning point for African-American leading actors in film,” McMinn said in a statement. “His impact on the industry cannot be overstated.”

In film acting, Roundtree was a leading man from the very beginning of his life. After starting her career as a model, she made her first feature film with “Shaft” at the age of 28. The MGM film, which was a great success in theaters, saved the studio from bankruptcy by earning $12 million in ticket sales from a $500,000 production budget. A breakthrough hit, “Shaft” set the tone for a fruitful decade of Blaxploitation filmmaking and demonstrated Hollywood’s historic failure to consider Black talent and movie-going audiences.

When asked about the “exploitation” label the New York Times had attached to “Shaft” in a 2019 interview, Roundtree expressed some uncertainty about the term.

“I had the privilege of working with the classiest gentleman I have ever met in the industry, Gordon Parks. So, the word exploitation, I take offense to my allegiance to Gordon Parks… I’ve always seen it as a negative. Exploitation. Who is being exploited?” Roundtree said. “But it gave jobs to a lot of people. It enabled many people to enter the business, including today’s producers and directors. So looking at the big picture, I see this as a positive.”

Two sequels about “Bad Mother (shut up)” quickly followed within two years: “Shaft’s Big Score” and “Shaft in Africa.” In 1973, CBS tried a “Shaft” television series starring Roundtree, which lasted only a few episodes.

“You can’t erase things, but I wish you could,” Roundtree told the Times in 2019. “I had just come back from ‘Shaft in Africa’ when they tried to translate the character to television. It wasn’t going to happen. This was an ugly point in my long and illustrious career.”

It was tall and majestic. Already a household name, Roundtree quickly moved beyond her star-making role with her roles in the disaster movie “Earthquake”; In “Man Friday,” he starred alongside a hapless detective in Peter O’Toole and Larry Cohen’s monster comedy. “S – Winged Serpent.” He also made frequent guest appearances on TV, such as “Roots”, “Magnum PI” and “The Love Boat”.

Roundtree returned to the world of “Shaft,” when director John Singleton revived the series in 2000 and starred Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson also played a detective named John Shaft, although his character was written as the nephew of Roundtree’s original private investigator. Both actors reprized their roles in 2019 for Tim Story’s comedic take on the series.

Born July 9, 1942, in Rochester, NY, Roundtree briefly attended Southern Illinois University before dropping out to pursue a modeling career. In the late ’60s, he joined the Negro Ensemble Company and began acting in New York stage productions.

Roundtree has worked steadily for more than 50 years, with his iconic role in “Shaft” bringing a rich history in genre filmmaking and an engaging screen presence that has added color to the worlds of films like “Se7en,” “Brick” and “Speed ​​Racer.” He played a supporting role in the comedy film “Moving On,” starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, which premiered at the Toronto Film Festival last year and was released this past summer.

Roundtree was married twice, first to Mary Jane Grant from 1963 to 1973, then to Karen M. Cierna from 1980 to 1998. He is survived by his four daughters, Nicole, Tayler, Morgan and Kelli Roundtree, and his son, James.

About yönetici

Check Also

Aubrey Galvan and Loyola win state championship

NORMAL — Loyola junior guard Aubrey Galvan picked up her first foul about two minutes …

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Watch Dragon ball super