'First Black Action Movie Hero' Richard Roundtree Dies At 81

© AFP 2023 ANGELA WEISSUS actor Richard Roundtree attends the premiere of "Shaft" at AMC Lincoln Square on June 10, 2019 in New York City.
US actor Richard Roundtree attends the premiere of Shaft at AMC Lincoln Square on June 10, 2019 in New York City.  - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 25.10.2023
Richard Roundtree was 27 when he starred in his first feature film "Shaft" (1971) as private detective John Shaft.
Richard Roundtree, 81, actor who starred as the private detective in several "Shaft" movies passed away on Tuesday.
The actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died at his home in Los Angeles, according to his manager Patrick McMinn. He had previously been diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and underwent a double mastectomy.
McMinn noted that Roundtree's work and career marked a monumental moment for African-American male actors, and his impact on the industry was immeasurable.

"Richard's work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men [...] The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated," McMinn said as quoted by media.

Daria da Conceicao, film and musical theater director, producer, with Gabriel Tokio Sexwale, a South African politician and anti-apartheid activist. Photo courtesy of Daria da Conceicao - Sputnik Africa, 1920, 28.03.2023
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Roundtree was an American actor born in 1942. He was considered the first black action film hero and became one of the leading actors of the blaxploitation genre with his role as the New York private detective John Shaft in the 1971 film "Shaft".