Richard Roundtree (born July 9, 1942) is an American actor and former fashion model. He is best known for his portrayal of private detective John Shaft in the 1971 film Shaft and in its two sequels, Shaft's Big Score (1972) and Shaft in Africa (1973). Born in New Rochelle, New York, Richard Roundtree graduated from New Rochelle High School in 1961 and starred on New Rochelle High's undefeated and nationally ranked football team in 1960. He attended Southern Illinois University Carbondale. Roundtree was diagnosed with the rare form of male breast cancer in 1993 and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. Roundtree was a leading man in early 1970s blaxploitation films, his best-known role being Detective John Shaft in the hugely popular action movie Shaft. 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 1989-1991.
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