Although with consistency being the benchmark for stardom in Hollywood, Richard Roundtree has proven to be a star in every sense of the word. As a leading actor over the last twenty five years, he has established himself as a constant force with his stellar work in both feature films and television. And yet this "Working Actor" still fits the bill as his roles have varied and his appetite for continued acting assignments has never waivered!
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 culminated in his starring role as Jack Johnson in "The Great White Hope".
Richard initially received international. fame starring as John Shaft: private detective and supercop hero in a trio of movies: “Shaft”, “Shaft in Africa”, and "Shaft's Big Score". He also starred in the 90 minute television series, "Shaft".
But Roundtree was just beginning to stretch his talents. He quickly moved on. to star in a number of films with some of Hollywood's most legendary actors. "City Heat” with Clint Eastwood, "Diamonds", with Robert Shaw, "Man Friday" with Peter O'Toole, "Game for Vultures" with Richard Harris, and "Inchon" with Laurence Olivier, naming just a few.
Richard's recent work has been just as impressive, having added the smash hit thriller "Seven" with Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, and the critically acclaimed "Once Upon A Time...When We Were Colored" . Other recent features include “Steel” with basketball superstar Shaquile O’Neal and the highly successful "George of the Jungle" for Disney Pictures.
He was recently given an honor by being nominated by the NAACP for an IMAGE AWARD as Best Actor in a Drama Series for his work as Mr. Thomas on the highly acclaimed FOX series, 413 Hope Street.
Richard was seen earlier this year on CBS portraying Booker T. Washington in the top rated movie for television, "Having Our Say". Other television highlights have been the movies for television, "Christmas in Connecticut", directed by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the recent "Bonanza" MOW's for NBC, and playing Charles Dutton's gay Uncle on several episodes of "Roc". He has also starred as a regular on the series, "Outlaws" for CBS, "Buddies" for ABC, and "Rescue 77" for the WB network.
Richard devotes his time to projects concerning children and is an excellent photographer and an avid golfer. A recent grandfather, Richard makes his home in Agoura Hills, California, with his wife Karen, daughters Tayler-Marie, Morgan and his new son John James.
Acting is a circle and you get what you put out. It requires a high degree of professionalism to keep the circle going. Being late; being unprepared; or not knowing your lines, breaks the circle.
The stage prepares you for that degree of professionalism. People who have had a background in the theater automatically develop a work ethic that gives them that level of professionalism".
Richard shared this anicdote which were added to our list of "Famous Quotes".
While working in Lebanon on "Embassy" with Chuck Conners, Max von Sydow, and Broderick Crawford. Richard recalls being frustrated with the antics of an unprepared young actor. Seeing his frustration, Crawford took Roundtree aside and interjected,:
Whatever you do in this business; It's much easier than lifting heavy things!"
Paul Patterson, Sr.
Reverend Alonzo Sparks
Judge Samuel Letts
Wallace Boden, Sr.
Lou Bailey / Mr. Bailey
Det. Miles Porter
Burt Campana - Oakley Drive-In Owner (voice)
Lee Marvin - Cleetus Woods
Assistant V.P. Trueman
Uncle John Shaft
Booker T. Washington
'Barracuda' Jim Barnes
Rev. Gordon Sims / Dr. Mumford
Captain Ralph Phipps
Robinson Ashe Jr.
Dr. Daniel Reubens (1989-1991)
Maj. Kevin Cooper
Sergeant Matt Gideon
Isaiah 'Ice' McAdams
Cmdr. Frederick Bryce
Agent Bill Bryant
Sergeant John Austin
Sgt. Augustus Henderson
The Black Man
Richard 'Dick' Shannon
Oliver Travers (2002-2003)
* Quantrel_D. Colbert
** NBC Universal
*** © 2012 Todd Williamson