The death of Richard Roundtree, the iconic actor who played John Shaft in the 1970s Shaft movies, has saddened many of his fans and colleagues. Roundtree, 81, died of pancreatic cancer at his home in Los Angeles on Tuesday.
His manager confirmed the news.
Many celebrities who worked with Roundtree or admired his work paid tribute to him on social media.
Gabrielle Union, who played his daughter on the BET drama Being Mary Jane, wrote on X, “Working with Richard Roundtree was a dream. Getting to hang with him & our Being Mary Jane family was always a good a– time with the best stories & laughs. He was ALWAYS the coolest man in the room with the BEST vibes & ppl would literally run over to come see him. He was simply the best & we all loved him. #RIPRichardRoundtree.”
Samuel L. Jackson, who co-starred with Roundtree in the 2000 and 2019 Shaft films, posted a photo of them on Instagram and wrote, “Richard Roundtree, The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!! SHAFT, as we know it is & will always be His Creation!! His passing leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I’m sure a lotta y’all’s, too🤎👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾. Love you Brother, I see you walking down the Middle of Main Street in Heaven & Issac’s Conducting your song🎶🎶👊🏾coat blowin’ in wind!!”
Tia Mowry, who shared the screen with Roundtree on the Netflix series Family Reunion, said she had “no words for this loss.”
“Richard, you have made such a lasting impact on my life. I am forever grateful for your warm energy, your light, your heart, and your incredible wisdom 🕊️,” she wrote on Instagram.
“I will miss you and our times together in our trailers – you teaching me the right way to take down some whiskey. I love you.”
“Thank you for blessing this world with your gifts 🙏🏿 Rest in Power #RichardRoundtree,” she added.
Jeffery Wright, who also appeared in the 2000 Shaft film with Roundtree and Jackson, tweeted, “The OG. And a lovely man. RIP.”
Other celebrities also expressed their condolences and appreciation for Roundtree’s legacy.
Loni Love tweeted,“Sad to hear of the passing of Richard Roundtree… He was fabulous as John Shaft at a time when there were few leading Black men in film. He put the sexy and cool in being a detective. Rest well. Condolences to his family.”
Sheryl Lee Ralph wrote on X “When I was a teenager I use to dream about growing up to meet Richard Roundtree. I did and what a wonderful human being.”