Richard Roundtree is dead. Several US media outlets are currently reporting this.
The film star died on Tuesday of complications from pancreatic cancer at his home in Los Angeles. His manager Patrick McMinn confirmed the news to the US magazine “The Hollywood Reporter”.
“His groundbreaking career has changed the face of entertainment around the globe and his lasting legacy will be felt for generations to come,” the Artists & Representatives agency said in a statement to Deadline. She represented the late actor. “Our hearts go out to his family and loved ones during this difficult time,” it continued.
Breakthrough in 1971 as a detective
Roundtree was born in New York in 1942. After briefly studying, he worked successfully as a model and appeared in several commercials. He began acting in the 1960s and played in the theater for several years. In 1971 he made his breakthrough in the film business. He landed the eponymous lead role in the film “Shaft”.
For Roundtree, the character of the clever detective John Shaft, with his small office in Times Square, became the most important in his career.
The budget of the film, which was shot in New York, is estimated at the equivalent of around 1.06 million euros. The film grossed more than ten times as much. Roundtree, who was 29 at the time, not only received worldwide fame for “Shaft,” but also a Golden Globe nomination.
However, the New Yorker was unable to build on these successes. In the following films he mostly played supporting roles. Nevertheless, he became a film icon in the 1990s based on his role as Shaft. This status in turn gave him roles in blockbusters such as “Seven” or “Shaft – Still Questions”, in which he slipped back into his old character.
In 1993, Roundtree was diagnosed with breast cancer. This was followed by long-term therapy with which he was able to defeat the disease.
In 1963, the film star married his first wife, Mary Jane Grant. After ten years the couple divorced. In 1980 he married again. But after 20 years this relationship also failed. Richard Roundtree leaves behind five children: four daughters and a son.