With consistency being the benchmark for stardom in Hollywood, Richard Roundtree has proven his star power in every sense of the word. As a leading actor for over the last thirty years, he has established himself as a constant force in the entertainment industry.
Discovering that he enjoyed the spotlight while on a football scholarship at Southern Illinois University, Richard signed with Johnson Publications to model in their annual Ebony Fashion Fair, touring 79 cities in 90 days. Roundtree then returned to New York, his home state, began acting lessons and later became a member of New York’s acclaimed Negro Ensemble Company. A succession of Off-Broadway roles resulted in his starring role as Jack Johnson in “The Great White Hope.”
Richard initially received international fame when Gordon Parks chose him to star as John Shaft, private detective and supercop hero in the feature film “Shaft.” That role catapulted Roundtree into the world arena as one of the hottest new actors on the scene. He continued the franchise with “Shaft’s Big Score,” “Shaft in Africa,” and the television series “Shaft.”
But Roundtree was just beginning to stretch his talents as a movie star. He quickly moved on to star with some of Hollywood’s most well-known actors, including Clint Eastwood, Robert Shaw, Peter O’Toole, Richard Harris, David Niven, Tony Curtis and Laurence Olivier, naming just a few.
Richard was in the summer release of “Speed Racer,” with John Goodman and Susan Sarandon. Among his more than 70 other feature films is the smash hit “Seven,” the critically acclaimed “Once Upon A Time…When We Were Colored,” the remake of “Shaft,” reprising the role that made him famous, “Steel,” with basketball superstar Shaquile O’Neal, and “George of the Jungle” for Disney Pictures.
Richard’s television credits have included series regular roles on “413 Hope Street,” where he garnered an NAACP Image Award nomination for Best Leading Actor in a Series, and “Buddies,” with Dave Chappel for ABC. In October he can be seen starring with Pam Grier in the Hallmark Channel’s production of “Ladies of the House.” Other movies for television include the top rated “Having Our Say,” portraying Booker T. Washington, “Christmas in Connecticut,” directed for Arnold Schwarzenegger, and the Starz production of “Joe and Max.” He has recurred on the ABC smash hit series’ “Desperate Housewives” and “Heroes.” Richard is the recipient of a Peabody Award for his narration on the PBS documentary “The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow.”
An advocate for the fight against breast cancer, Richard is on the lecture circuit and takes part in events to help raise awareness and funds towards finding a cure for this disease.
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