Monday , May 20 2024

Richard Roundtree’s Shaft co-star Samuel L. Jackson and Gabrielle Union lead celebrity tributes to the iconic actor after his death at 81 from cancer

The death of the actor Richard Roundtree on Tuesday afternoon at age 81 led to a bevy of social media tributes for the Shaft star.

Among the celebrities paying tribute to the late actor were Samuel L. Jackson, who starred alongside Roundtree in the final two films in the Shaft series, the sequel Shaft (2000) and the confusingly titled 2019 follow-up Shaft.

He shared a still from the latter film while serenading the veteran actor as the ‘best to ever do it.’

Gabrielle Union also paid her respects to her former costar, who was a series regular for all five seasons of her BET drama series Being Mary Jane.

In Jackson’s post, he included a still of himself and Jessie T. Usher, who played the son and grandson of the original private detective John Shaft, respectively.

Saying goodbye: Samuel L. Jackson and Gabrielle Union were among the stars who paid tribute to their late costars Richard Roundtree on Tuesday

A legend: The actor died earlier in the day at age 81 from pancreatic cancer

Saying goodbye: Samuel L. Jackson and Gabrielle Union were among the stars who paid tribute to their late co-stars Richard Roundtree on Tuesday, after his death earlier in the day at age 81 from pancreatic cancer

Torn up: Jackson gushed about Roundtree and said his death 'leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I'm sure a lotta y'all's too'; still from Shaft (2019)

Torn up: Jackson gushed about Roundtree and said his death ‘leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I’m sure a lotta y’all’s too’; still from Shaft (2019)

The three men strutted down the street in stylish red suede double-breasted dusters. 

‘Richard Roundtree, The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!! SHAFT, as we know it is & will always be His Creation!!’ Jackson gushed in this caption on Instagram. 

‘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!!’ he continued, referencing Isaac Hayes’ iconic soundtrack for the first Shaft film (1971).

‘Angels whispering, “That Cat SHAFT Is A Bad Mutha, Shutcho Mouth!! But I’m Talkin’ Bout SHAFT!! THEN WE CAN DIGIT,’ he concluded, adding several brown hearts and fist bump emojis.

Jackson acted with Roundtree in the John Singleton–directed Shaft from 2000, which received positive reviews and was a hit at the box office.

But the 2019 sequel, which both men returned for, was lambasted by critics and failed to make back its initial budget.

Although Roundtree was best known for starring as Shaft in multiple films, he also had a varied career on television.

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From 2013 to 2017 he played the father of Gabrielle Union’s title character on Being Mary Jane for BET.

Learning from the best: Gabrielle Union recounted the pleasure of spending time with Richard while filming her BET series Being Mary Jane

Learning from the best: Gabrielle Union recounted the pleasure of spending time with Richard while filming her BET series Being Mary Jane

Moved by his accomplishments: Viola Davis beamed while posing next to the late actor in a photo she posted to Instagram. 'You epitomized Black manhood on-screen when we so desperately needed it,' she wrote

Moved by his accomplishments: Viola Davis beamed while posing next to the late actor in a photo she posted to Instagram. ‘You epitomized Black manhood on-screen when we so desperately needed it,’ she wrote

Sending his regards: Carl Weathers also raved about Roundtree's roles in a Tweet from Tuesday evening. 'I just heard, the icon that is Richard Roundtree is gone. The original SHAFT!!! His performance influence so many and so much. And he was a great guy!' he enthused

Sending his regards: Carl Weathers also raved about Roundtree’s roles in a Tweet from Tuesday evening. ‘I just heard, the icon that is Richard Roundtree is gone. The original SHAFT!!! His performance influence so many and so much. And he was a great guy!’ he enthused

A hero: The football star–turned–coach Deion Sanders wished for blessing for 'all associated with the Great & Legendary Richard Roundtree,' adding that he was 'truly 1 of my childhood heroes. He was Him!!!!!'

A hero: The football star–turned–coach Deion Sanders wished for blessing for ‘all associated with the Great & Legendary Richard Roundtree,’ adding that he was ‘truly 1 of my childhood heroes. He was Him!!!!!’

 

Two icons: The estate of Isaac Hayes, who did the Shaft soundtrack and died in 2008, also shared a remembrance of Roundtree; seen in 1971

Two icons: The estate of Isaac Hayes, who did the Shaft soundtrack and died in 2008, also shared a remembrance of Roundtree; seen in 1971

‘Working with Richard Roundtree was a dream,’ Union wrote on X (formerly Twitter) while including a still of herself with the late actor in a dramatic moment.

‘Getting to hang with him & our Being Mary Jane family was always a good a** time with the best stories and laughs.

She added that Roundtree 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,’ she concluded, adding the hashtag, ‘#RIPRIchardRoundtree.’

Viola Davis beamed while posing next to the late actor in a photo she posted to Instagram. 

‘You epitomized Black manhood on-screen when we so desperately needed it,’ she wrote. ‘The strength, authority, the mystery and ownership of sexuality seared through the screen and into our lives. You left us with that. Rest well Mr. Roundtree… May flights of angels…’ 

Carl Weathers also raved about Roundtree’s roles in a Tweet from Tuesday evening.

‘I just heard, the icon that is Richard Roundtree is gone. The original SHAFT!!! His performance influence so many and so much. And he was a great guy!’ he enthused, adding, ‘#NeverForgotten’ and ‘#BePeace.’ 

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The football star–turned–coach Deion Sanders wished for blessing for ‘all associated with the Great & Legendary Richard Roundtree,’ adding that he was ‘truly 1 of my childhood heroes. He was Him!!!!!’ 

The estate of Isaac Hayes, who did the Shaft soundtrack and died in 2008, also shared a remembrance of Roundtree.

‘The Hayes family would like to share our sadness with the loss of Richard Roundtree, a true icon. His legendary role as SHAFT, transcended the screen, defining an era. Rest in power, Richard,’ it wrote.

Sex icon: The comedian and talk show host Loni Love was 'sad' to hear of Roundtree's death. 'He was fabulous as John Shaft at a time when there were few leading Black men in film,' she wrote. 'He put the sexy and cool in being a detective'

Sex icon: The comedian and talk show host Loni Love was ‘sad’ to hear of Roundtree’s death. ‘He was fabulous as John Shaft at a time when there were few leading Black men in film,’ she wrote. ‘He put the sexy and cool in being a detective’

Dream come true: Abbott Elementary star and Broadway legend Sheryl Lee Ralph revealed her decades-long desire to see Roundtree in the flesh

Dream come true: Abbott Elementary star and Broadway legend Sheryl Lee Ralph revealed her decades-long desire to see Roundtree in the flesh

Sweet: Taraji P. Henson, who starred in What Men Want with Richard, hoped that he would 'Rest in paradise'

Sweet: Taraji P. Henson, who starred in What Men Want with Richard, hoped that he would ‘Rest in paradise’

Starstruck: The Craft actress Rachel True said that Roundtree would 'forever be legend.' She recounted him playing her grandfather on one of her early roles. 'He regaled me w/ tales of his place on Capri & struck me as as close to a true renaissance man as I'd ever encounter'

Starstruck: The Craft actress Rachel True said that Roundtree would ‘forever be legend.’ She recounted him playing her grandfather on one of her early roles. ‘He regaled me w/ tales of his place on Capri & struck me as as close to a true renaissance man as I’d ever encounter’

Old pals: The singer–songwriter Billy Vera shared side-to-side photos of him decades apart posing with Roundtree. He said the actor was 'a dear and supportive friend of many years'

Old pals: The singer–songwriter Billy Vera shared side-to-side photos of him decades apart posing with Roundtree. He said the actor was ‘a dear and supportive friend of many years’

The comedian and talk show host Loni Love was ‘sad’ to hear of Roundtree’s death.

‘He was fabulous as John Shaft at a time when there were few leading Black men in film,’ she wrote. ‘He put the sexy and cool in being a detective. Rest well. Condolences to his family.’ 

Abbott Elementary star and Broadway legend Sheryl Lee Ralph revealed her decades-long desire to see Roundtree in the flesh.

‘When I was a teenager I use to dream about growing up to meet Richard Roundtree. I did and what a wonderful human being [sic],’ she wrote. 

Taraji P. Henson, who starred in What Men Want with Richard, hoped that he would ‘Rest in paradise.’

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She shared a still from the film of the two lovingly embracing in a boxing gym. 

The Craft actress Rachel True said that Roundtree would ‘forever be legend.’ 

She recounted him playing her grandfather on one of her early roles. 

‘He regaled me w/ tales of his place on Capri & struck me as as close to a true renaissance man as I’d ever encounter,’ she wrote.

The singer–songwriter Billy Vera shared side-to-side photos of him decades apart posing with Roundtree.

‘I’m sad to announced that my old homeboy Richard Roundtree passed away this afternoon,’ he wrote, adding that Roundtree was ‘a dear and supportive friend of many years, going back to our Westchester County, New York days.’

The journalist Roland Martin beamed in a photo with Roundtree, writing that he ‘adored’ his relationship with the star.

‘The conversations were always fascinating and illuminating. He had that big smile and he was always so gracious, elegant and smooth. I am so glad that God ordained for our paths to cross,’ he wrote. 

Pals: The journalist Roland Martin beamed in a photo with Roundtree, writing that he 'adored' his relationship with the star

Pals: The journalist Roland Martin beamed in a photo with Roundtree, writing that he ‘adored’ his relationship with the star

Sweet: The singer Stephanie Mills shared a photo of herself with Roundtree and shared that she was 'heartbroken' by the 'loss of another legend,' and she wrote about her gratitude after he saw her perform

Sweet: The singer Stephanie Mills shared a photo of herself with Roundtree and shared that she was ‘heartbroken’ by the ‘loss of another legend,’ and she wrote about her gratitude after he saw her perform

Surprise meetup: The actor and comedian Matt Knudsen shared a photo from the golf course and recounted how he ended up playing a twosome game with the actor despite not knowing each other

Surprise meetup: The actor and comedian Matt Knudsen shared a photo from the golf course and recounted how he ended up playing a twosome game with the actor despite not knowing each other

Thumbs up: The soap actor Kin Shriner added that Roundtree was even 'cooler' than his character Shaft in person

Thumbs up: The soap actor Kin Shriner added that Roundtree was even ‘cooler’ than his character Shaft in person

The singer Stephanie Mills shared a photo of herself with Roundtree and shared that she was ‘heartbroken’ by the ‘loss of another legend,’ and she wrote about her gratitude after he saw her perform.

The actor and comedian Matt Knudsen shared a photo from the golf course and recounted how he ended up playing a twosome game with the actor despite not knowing each other.

‘We’d never met, but it was just the two of us playing and laughing for hours. What a man, what a memory,’ he added. 

The soap actor Kin Shriner added that Roundtree was even ‘cooler’ than his character Shaft in person.

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