Samuel L. Jackson has offered a moving and energetic tribute to his “Shaft” costar Richard Roundtree, who died today after a short battle against pancreatic cancer. In an Instagram post, Jackson wrote, “Richard Roundtree, The Prototype, The Best To Ever Do It!! SHAFT, as we know it is & will always be His Creation!!”
“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.
Jackson concluded, “Angels whispering, “That Cat SHAFT Is A Bad Mutha, Shutcho Mouth!! But I’m Talkin’ Bout SHAFT!! THEN WE CAN DIGIT👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾👊🏾‼️‼️‼️‼️💯💯💯💯🤎🤎🤎🤎🤎🤎🤎.”
Roundtree and Jackson starred in both 2000 and 2019’s “Shaft” films, which were made decades after Roundtree first starred as the titular character in the 1971 film as well as its subsequent sequels.
Heralded as a cinematic symbol of Black power, Roundtree broke the mold as the first Black private investigator shown on the big screen. Tributes have been pouring in from costars and friends alike.
Gabrielle Union, who worked with Roundtree in “Being Mary Jane,” tweeted, “Working with Richard Roundtree was a dream. Getting to hang with him & our Being Mary Jane family was always a good ass time with the best stories & laughs. 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. #RIPRichardRoundtree.”
Carl Weathers tweeted, “I just heard, the icon that is Richard Roundtree is gone. The original SHAFT!!! His performance influenced so many and so much. And he was a great guy! #NeverForgotten #BePeace.”
Journalist Roland Martin wrote, “I adored my relationship with Richard Roundtree. 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. RIP, noble Black man!”
Comedian Loni Love also tweeted in honor of Rountree. She said, “Sad to hear of the passing of Richard Roundtree.. He was fabulous as John Shaft at a time when there were few leading Black men in film. He put the sexy and cool in being a detective. Rest well. Condolences to his family. “
“Abbot Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph added her voice to the chorus singing Roundtree’s praises. She tweeted, “When I was a teenager I use to dream about growing up to meet Richard Roundtree. I did and what a wonderful human being.”
Former NFL star and current University of Colorado Boulder coach Deion Sanders said, “God bless all associated with the Great & Legendary Richard Roundtree “Shaft” He was truly 1 of my childhood heroes. He was Him!!!!!”
The family of Isaac Hayes, who performed the theme for “Shaft,” tweeted, “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. #RichardRoundtree#Legend”