Richard Roundtree Dies, Samuel L. Jackson Pays Tribute

Samuel L. Jackson, Richard Roundtree and Busta Rhymes

A variety of actors and musicians paid tribute to the late Richard Roundtree, who popularized the character John Shaft.

Richard Roundtree, Samuel L. Jackson, Hollywood, Shaft, hip-hop news

Samuel L. Jackson and Gabrielle Union have paid tribute to late actor Richard Roundtree.

Roundtree, who was best known for playing detective John Shaft in the 1970s film series “Shaft,” passed away on Tuesday following a battle with pancreatic cancer.

He was 81.

Jackson, who played Roundtree’s on-screen nephew in the 2000 “Shaft” revival and its 2019 follow-up, paid tribute to his co-star on Instagram.

“Richard Roundtree, The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!! ‘SHAFT,’ as we know it is & will always be His Creation!!” Jackson wrote alongside a still from the 2019 movie. “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!! Angels whispering, ‘That Cat SHAFT Is A Bad M####, Shutcho Mouth!! But I’m Talkin’ Bout SHAFT!! THEN WE CAN DIGIT (sic).'”

Jackson was referring to the late Isaac Hayes’ “Theme from Shaft,” which won the Best Original Song Oscar.

Over on Twitter/X, Union described working with Roundtree on her TV show, “Being Mary Jane,” as “a dream”.

“Getting to hang with him & our Being Mary Jane family was always a good a*s time with the best stories & laughs,” she commented alongside an image from the drama. “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 (sic).”

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Roundtree also appeared in films such as “Se7en,” “Brick” and “Speed Racer” and TV shows including “Roots,” “Magnum P.I.,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” “Alias,” “Desperate Housewives,” “Heroes,” and “The Love Boat.”