America’s “First Black Action Hero,” Richard Roundtree, dies at 81

by Duchess Magazine

Regarded as “the first Black action hero,” American actor Richard Roundtree passed away on Tuesday at the age of 81, according to US media. He was best known for his lead performance in the classic 1971 hit film “Shaft.”

The actor, who was well-known for paving the way for other Black performers in the business, passed away “after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer,” according to Hollywood outlet Deadline, with his family by his side.

A number of sequel films and a television spinoff were inspired by the film “Shaft,” in which Roundtree portrayed the title role of private eye John Shaft.

At the end of last year, Roundtree was still performing five decades later, having starred in the films “Moving On” and the television drama “Cherish the Day.”

According to his manager Patrick McMinn, “Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film. The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated.”

Speaking with Deadline, his agency revealed: He was largely successful in that endeavor, with “his trailblazing career (changing) the face of entertainment around the globe.

“His enduring legacy will be felt for generations to come. Our hearts are with his family and loved ones during this difficult time.”

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