Richard Roundtree Biography: Age, Cause of Death, Wife, Children, Funeral, Burial, Movies, Nationality, Net Worth 

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Profile Summary 

Name:Richard Roundtree
Date of Birth:July 9, 1942
Age:81 years old
Place of Birth:New Rochelle, New York
Date of Death:October 24, 2023
Wife:Karen M. Ciernia
Net Worth:$3.4 millions

Richard Roundtree Biography

Richard Arnold Roundtree (July 9, 1942 – October 24, 2023) was an American actor, noted as being “the first black action hero” for his portrayal of private detective John Shaft in the 1971 film Shaft and its four sequels, released between 1972 and 2019. 

For his performance in the original film, Roundtree was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor in 1972. 

Richard Roundtree

Early Life and Education

Richard Arnold Roundtree was born on July 9, 1942, in New Rochelle, New York, to John Roundtree and Kathryn Watkins. Roundtree attended New Rochelle High School, graduating in 1961.

During high school, Roundtree played for the school’s undefeated and nationally ranked football team. Following high school, Roundtree attended Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Illinois. Roundtree dropped out of college in 1963 to begin his acting career.

Richard Roundtree Career

Roundtree began his professional career around 1963. Roundtree began modeling in the Ebony Fashion Fair after being scouted by Eunice W. Johnson.

After his modelling success with the Fashion Fair, Roundtree began modelling for such products as Johnson Products’ Duke hair grease and Salem cigarettes.

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In 1967, Roundtree joined the Negro Ensemble Company. His first role while a part of the company was portraying boxing legend Jack Johnson in the company’s production of The Great White Hope.

According to J. E. Franklin, he acted in the Off-Off-Broadway production of her play Mau Mau Room, by the Negro Ensemble Company Workshop Festival, at St. Mark’s Playhouse in 1969, directed by Shauneille Perry.

Roundtree had a small role in the film What Do You Say to a Naked Lady?, a 1970 American hidden-camera style reality film directed by Candid Camera creator Allen Funt, making this Roundtree’s first big-screen appearance.

Roundtree was a leading man in early 1970s blaxploitation films, his best-known role being detective John Shaft in the action movie Shaft (1971) and its sequels, Shaft’s Big Score! (1972) and Shaft in Africa (1973). Roundtree also appeared opposite Laurence Olivier and Ben Gazzara in Inchon (1981).

On television, he played the slave Sam Bennett in the 1977 television series Roots and Dr. Daniel Reubens on Generations from 1989 to 1991. He played another private detective in 1984’s City Heat opposite Clint Eastwood and Burt Reynolds.

Although Roundtree worked throughout the 1990s, many of his films were not well-received, but he found success elsewhere in stage plays.

During that period, however, he reemerged on the small screen as a cultural icon. On September 19, 1991, Roundtree appeared in an episode of Beverly Hills, 90210 with Vivica A. Fox. 

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The episode was “Ashes to Ashes”, Roundtree playing Robinson Ashe Jr. Roundtree appeared in David Fincher’s critically acclaimed 1995 movie Seven, and in the 2000 Shaft, again as John Shaft, with Samuel L. Jackson playing the title character, who is described as the original Shaft’s nephew.

Roundtree guest-starred in several episodes of the first season of Desperate Housewives as an amoral private detective. He also appeared in 1997’s George of the Jungle and played a high-school vice-principal in the 2005 movie, Brick.

His voice was utilised as the title character in the hit PlayStation game Akuji the Heartless, where Akuji must battle his way out of the depths of Hell at the bidding of the Baron.

In 1997–1998, Roundtree had a leading role as Phil Thomas in the short-lived Fox ensemble drama, 413 Hope St. He portrayed Booker T. Washington in the 1999 television movie Having Our Say: The Delany Sisters’ First 100 Years.

Beginning in 2005, Roundtree appeared in the television series The Closer as Colonel D. B. Walter, U.S.M.C. (retired), the father of a sniper, and in Heroes as Simone’s terminally ill father, Charles Deveaux.

Next, Roundtree appeared as Eddie’s father-in-law in episodes of Lincoln Heights. Roundtree then had a supporting role in the 2008 Speed Racer film as a racer-turned-commentator who is an icon and hero to Speed.

He also appeared in the two-parter in Knight Rider (2008) as the father of FBI Agent Carrie Ravai, and co-starred as the father of the lead character on Being Mary Jane, which has aired on BET since 2013.

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In 2019, Roundtree co-starred in the comedy film What Men Want, and returned to the role of John Shaft in Shaft, a sequel to the 2000 film, opposite Samuel L. Jackson and Jessie Usher, who portray John Shaft II and John Shaft III, respectively.

This time, Roundtree’s character was described as Jackson’s character’s father, while acknowledging that Roundtree had pretended to be Jackson’s Shaft’s uncle in the 2000 movie. Starting in 2019, Roundtree had a recurring role on Family Reunion.

Personal Life 

Roundtree was married and divorced twice and had five children. His first marriage was to Mary Jane Grant, whom he married in 1963. Roundtree and Grant had two children before divorcing in December 1973. He dated actress and TV personality Cathy Lee Crosby shortly thereafter.

Roundtree later married Karen M. Ciernia in September 1980; together they had three children. Roundtree and Ciernia divorced in 1998. Roundtree was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993 and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy.

Roundtree died of pancreatic cancer at his Los Angeles home on October 24, 2023, at the age of 81.

Richard Roundtree

Richard Roundtree Net worth 

Richard Roundtree has an estimated net worth of $3.4 millions. Richard Roundtree was an American actor.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQ)

Who is Richard Roundtree?

Richard Roundtree was an American actor.

When was Richard Roundtree born?

He was born on July 9, 1942.

How old is Richard Roundtree?

He is currently 81 years old as of 2023.

Where was Richard Roundtree born?

He was born in New Rochelle, New York. 

Where is Richard Roundtree from?

He is from America.

What is Richard Roundtree’s net worth?

Richard Roundtree has an estimated net worth of $3.4 millions.

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