US actor: “Shaft” star Richard Roundtree dies at the age of 81

US actor Richard Roundtree, best known for his role in the film "Shaft", has died at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 81.

US actor: “Shaft” star Richard Roundtree dies at the age of 81

US actor Richard Roundtree, best known for his role in the film "Shaft", has died at his home in Los Angeles at the age of 81. As his manager Patrick McMinn told The Hollywood Reporter, the cause of death was a recently diagnosed pancreatic cancer. Other US media such as “Rolling Stone” and “The New York Times” also reported on the death.

As the first black action hero, Roundtree became one of the faces of the so-called blaxploitation movement in the 1970s with his starring role as the cool New York detective in "Shaft" (1971), directed by Gordon Parks. The movement developed into a film genre in the late 1960s and reflected African American self-confidence.

Based on a novel by Ernest Tidyman, "Shaft" was originally intended for a white actor. But Parks insisted on casting Roundtree after seeing him at a casting. Roundtree reprized his role in the sequels "Shaft's Big Score!" (1972) and "Shaft in Africa" ​​(1973).

Fellow actor Samuel L. Jackson, who also played John Shaft in a remake, expressed his sadness at Roundtree's death. "His death leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but certainly in many of you as well," Jackson wrote in an Instagram post. Roundtree was diagnosed with breast cancer back in 1993 and was an intensive advocate for awareness about male breast cancer.

Born on July 9, 1942 in New Rochelle, New York, Roundtree began his career as a stage actor. After "Shaft" he appeared in a number of films, including "Earthquake" (1974) opposite Charlton Heston and Ava Gardner and "Man Friday" (1975) opposite Peter O'Toole.

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