NewsRichard Roundtree Dead: 'Shaft', 'Roots', 'Chicago Fire' Actor Passes Away

Richard Roundtree Dead: ‘Shaft’, ‘Roots’, ‘Chicago Fire’ Actor Passes Away

– Hollywood actor and ’70s cultural icon Richard Roundtree dies at 79
– Best known for his iconic role in the 1971 film ‘Shaft’
– Appeared in several popular TV shows like ‘Chicago Fire’ and ‘Heroes’

Renowned Hollywood actor Richard Roundtree, widely recognized for his career-defining role as private detective John Shaft in the 1971 film ‘Shaft,’ passed away at the age of 79. His wife, Karen, and their family announced his death on November 25th, 2022, after a long battle with dementia. Roundtree’s groundbreaking role as an African American leading man in the Blaxploitation film genre left an indelible mark on cinematic history.

Born in New Rochelle, New York, Roundtree started his career in the entertainment industry as a model before finding success as an actor. ‘Shaft’ was the beginning of his rise in Hollywood as an icon for black masculinity during the 1970s. The film’s massive success paved the way for two sequels, ‘Shaft’s Big Score!’ (1972) and ‘Shaft in Africa’ (1973). Roundtree reprised the role in the 2000 film ‘Shaft,’ starring opposite Samuel L. Jackson, and the 2019 follow-up.

Apart from his iconic role in ‘Shaft,’ Roundtree accumulated over one hundred film and television credits, including notable appearances on popular TV series such as NBC‘s ‘Chicago Fire,’ NBC’s sci-fi drama ‘Heroes,’ and several TV movies. The actor garnered wider mainstream appreciation by playing Dr. Daniel Reubens on ‘Generations’ in the mid-1990s.

In 1997, Roundtree faced his own personal battle when diagnosed with breast cancer. As one of the rare men dealing with this disease, he openly shared his experiences and became a spokesperson, passionately raising awareness about male breast cancer.

Roundtree also starred in the Emmy-winning 1977 miniseries ‘Roots,’ which chronicled Black-American history, specifically the story of Kunta Kinte, an African who was enslaved in America. The role of Sam Bennett, a powerful and commanding character, only strengthened his legacy as a symbol of black pride in the film and television industry.

Paying tribute to the late actor, the ‘Shaft’ Twitter account tweeted, “A true giant, groundbreaking in so many ways, a fierce advocate for male breast cancer awareness and survivor since 1997, Richard Roundtree will be sorely missed, but his legacy will live on.”

As an actor and cultural icon of the 70s, Richard Roundtree’s legendary body of work continues to reverberate across generations, leaving an indelible impact on Hollywood and the entire film and television industry at large.

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