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RICHARD ROUNDTREE (John Shaft Sr.) had his life and career forever changed when, in 1971, director Gordon Parks chose him to play the title role of iconic private detective John Shaft in the first "Shaft" movie, which initiated the enduring franchise. The film launched Roundtree's five-decades-long career with a part that, to this day, is recognized as being a turning point for African-American leading men in film. He earned an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture for his performance and also received a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising Newcomer. In 1994, a new generation honored him with a Lifetime Achievement Award, from the MTV Movie & TV Awards, for his work in the "Shaft" films.

With the success of "Shaft," Roundtree's name and face instantly became recognizable to moviegoers around the world. Although, in the early 1970s, quality roles for African-American actors were scarce, Roundtree was able to amass an impressive body of work, while continuing to make films that challenged the stereotypes of the time. He starred in such films as "Man Friday" and "Charley-One-Eye" on the big screen, as well as in the television projects "Roots" and "Firehouse."

However, making social statements on racial equality wasn't the only new ground to which Roundtree's characters aspired. In the early 90s, he recurred on the FOX sitcom "Roc" as a gay man who was getting married to his longtime partner. This was a first for network television. In his more than 100 film and television projects over the course of his career, Roundtree has shared the screen with some of Hollywood's most legendary actors, including Clint Eastwood, Peter O'Toole, David Niven, Laurence Olivier, Samuel L. Jackson, Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt. Earlier in 2019, Roundtree co-starred with Taraji P. Henson and Tracy Morgan in Adam Shankman's comedy "What Men Want," playing Henson's character's father. He is currently appearing in the new Netflix series "Family Reunion."

On television, Roundtree has been a series regular on several hit shows, earning an Image Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series for "413 Hope Street." He was also nominated for an Indie Series Award, for Best Performance by a Supporting Actor, for his role in "Diary of a Single Mom." In addition, he narrated the PBS docuseries "The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow," which won a Peabody Award. Roundtree recently wrapped his fourth season on BET's "Being Mary Jane."

An advocate in the fight against breast cancer and a 25-year male breast cancer survivor himself, Roundtree has taken a stand by participating in events that help raise awareness and funds towards finding a cure.


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