Art & Entertainment

‘Shaft’ Actor Richard Roundtree Passes Away At 81

Actor Richard Roundtree, best known for his leading role in the iconic 1970s 'Shaft' film franchise and the TV series 'Roots', has died. He was 81.

Actor Richard Roundtree
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Actor Richard Roundtree, best known for his leading role in the iconic 1970s 'Shaft' film franchise and the TV series 'Roots', has died. He was 81.

His manager Patrick Mann confirmed that the actor died Tuesday at his home with his family by his bedside in Los Angeles from pancreatic cancer, reports 'People' magazine.

"Artistes & Representatives Agency mourns the loss of our friend and client Richard Roundtree," the actor's agency said in a statement to 'People'.

"His trailblazing career changed the face of entertainment around the globe and his enduring legacy will be felt for generations to come. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time."

Gabrielle Union, who starred alongside the actor in the TV series, 'Being Mary Jane', reflected on her time with Roundtree in a tribute on X.

"Working with Richard Roundtree was a dream. Getting to hang with him & our Being Mary Jane family was always a good ass time with the best stories & laughs."

She added, "He was ALWAYS the coolest man in the room with the BEST vibes & ppl would literally run over to come see him. He was simply the best & we all loved him."

Samuel L. Jackson, who played Roundtree's nephew in the 2000 and 2019 'Shaft' sequels, called the actor "The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!!"

"His passing leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I’m sure a lotta y'all's, too Love you Brother," Jackson wrote on Instagram. "I see you walking down the Middle of Main Street in Heaven & Isaac's conducting your song coat blowin’ in wind (sic)".

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