Richard Roundtree (born July 9, 1942 in New Rochelle, New York) is an African-American actor and hero famous for portraying John Shaft in the film Shaft (1971) and in its two sequels: Shaft's Big Score in 1972, and Shaft in Africa in 1973.
He was a leading man in early 1970s Blaxploitation films. Prior to becoming an actor, he was a football player and a model.
He worked through the 1990s, although most of his later films were not well-received. Since 1990, however, he apparently was making a comeback as a cult icon. Roundtree had a part in David Fincher's critically acclaimed 1995 movie Se7en, the 2000 remake of Shaft as John Shaft's uncle, and guest-starred in several episodes of the first season of Desperate Housewives as an amoral private detective. He also starred in 1997's George of the Jungle.
Roundtree was diagnosed with male breast cancer in 1993 and underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy for treatment of the disease.