The star of one of the more influential movies of the 1970s has passed away.
Richard Roundtree, who played John Shaft in “Shaft,” has died.
He was 81 years old.
Prior to the 1970s, your choices for TV shows were mostly war-themed or very wholesome family entertainment.
Most black stars were in stereotypical roles, such as “Amos & Andy.”
When the 1970s rolled in, so did the role of black actors in TV shows and movies begin to change.
People had never seen a character like “Shaft,” and it was among the movies and TV shows that were dubbed “blacksploitation.”
Roundtree not only played in the movie, but he was also hired to play the lead when “Shaft” was turned into a TV series.
He also played John Shaft Sr. when “Shaft” was remade with Samuel Jackson playing the lead role of John Shaft Jr.
Patrick McMann, Roundtree’s manager, stated, “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.”
While he was mostly known for his role in “Shaft,” Roundtree had more than 150 credits on his resume, so he was far from a one-trick pony.
Rest in peace, and thanks for the memories.