Richard Roundtree Dies: ‘Shaft’ Star Was 81

SHAFT, Richard Roundtree, 1971
Everett Collection
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Richard Roundtree, the suave star of the Shaft movies who has long been called the first Black action hero, has died at the age of 81 after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

Roundtree died in his Los Angeles home with his family by his side on Tuesday, October 24, per Deadline. His manager since 1987, Patrick McMinn, said “Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men in film,” in a statement to Variety. “The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated.”