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‘Shaft’ Star Richard Roundtree, Considered The First Black Action Movie Hero, Has Died At 81

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(LOS ANGELES) – Richard Roundtree, the pioneering actor who portrayed the ultra-smooth private detective in multiple “Shaft” films beginning in the early 1970s, has died. He was 81.

Patrick McMinn, Roundtree’s longtime manager, said the actor was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and died on Tuesday at his home in Los Angeles. 1993, he was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent a double mastectomy.

“Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African American leading men,” McMinn told the audience. “The impact he had on the industry cannot be overstated.”

Roundtree, born in New Rochelle, New York, was regarded as the first Black action hero and rose to prominence in the blaxploitation genre with his portrayal of New York street-smart John Shaft in the Gordon Parks-directed film in 1971. Roundtree made his first feature film appearance at 28 after beginning his modeling career.

Roundtree’s “Shaft” was part of a shift in how Black films were perceived in Hollywood, which had previously overlooked Black actors in productions, particularly for main roles. The majority of blaxploitation films were aimed at African-American viewers.

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‘Shaft’ Star Richard Roundtree, Considered The First Black Action Movie Hero, Has Died At 81

His character in the film navigated the world of thugs. He was known for his catchphrases, such as “It’s my duty to please that booty.”

“What we were doing was a good, old Saturday afternoon shoot ’em up,” Roundtree told The Associated Press in 2000.

The “Shaft” theme song by Isaac Hayes, which includes the line “You a bad mother— (Shut your mouth),” helped cement the original film’s place in mainstream culture. The late vocalist, who died in 2008, said the song was “like the’shot heard round the world.” In 1971, his song received an Academy Award for Best Song and two Grammys the following year.

Following the popularity of the film, Roundtree reappeared in the sequels “Shaft’s Big Score” in 1972 and “Shaft in Africa” in 1973. That same year, he reprised his role as the astute detective in the CBS television series “Shaft,” which lasted only seven episodes.

Roundtree repeated his role in the remake of “Shaft” in 2000, starring Samuel L. Jackson. He played Jackson’s uncle in the big-budget film aimed at a broad audience. Both actors reprised their roles in the 2019 film starring Jessie T. Usher.

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In a social media post, Jackson referred to Roundtree as a “prototype” and the “best to ever do it.”

“SHAFT, as we know it, is & will always be his Creation,” Roundtree said. “His passing leaves a deep hole not only in my heart, but I’m sure a lotta y’all’s, too.”

Richard featured in several other significant films during his 50-year career, including “Earthquake,” “Man Friday” with Peter O’Toole, “Roots,” “Maniac Cop,” “Se7en,” and “What Men Want” starring Taraji P. Henson. He also had recurring parts on “Magnum P.I.,” “The Love Boat,” “Being Mary Jane,” and “The Love Boat.”

Roundtree was honored with a lifetime achievement award at the MTV Movie & T.V. Awards 1995.

SOURCE – (AP)

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

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Sony said on Tuesday that it will lose 900 jobs, or 8% of PlayStation’s global workforce.

According to a PlayStation news statement, Sony Interactive Entertainment’s layoffs will affect all regions, with its in-house London studio, which is responsible for the competitive singing video game “Singstar,” closing entirely.

“These are incredibly talented people who have contributed to our success, and we are very grateful,” said Jim Ryan, president and CEO of Sony Interactive Entertainment. “However, the industry has changed immensely, and we need to future ready ourselves to set the business up for what lies ahead.”

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Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

According to Bloomberg, the personnel cut comes after the business lowered its sales expectations for the year and Naomi Matsuouka, Sony’s senior vice president, stated that the PlayStation 5 console was nearing the end of its lifecycle.

Ryan stated in September that he would resign as president of Sony Group Corporation in March. Hiroki Totoki, the COO and CFO, will serve as interim CEO.

sony

Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

The incoming CEO will face an entire tech sector in turmoil, with industry giants laying off 5,500 staff in the first two weeks of 2024 alone.

Specifically, the video gaming industry has seen employment losses from 2023 into this year, with Epic Games slashing 830 workers last September and Tencent’s Riot Games laying off 11% of its workforce in January.

sony

Sony To Lay Off 900 At PlayStation As Tough Times For The Video Games Industry Persist

In his email to employees, Ryan echoed the leadership of those other game firms, saying, “We had to step back, look at our business holistically, and move forward focusing on the company’s long-term sustainability and delivering the best experiences possible for our community.”

Sony Group Corporation’s (SONY) stock declined less than 1% after the announcement on Tuesday.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ And ‘Marvel’ Actor, Dead At 49

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Kenneth Mitchell, an actor who appeared in “Star Trek: Discovery” and Marvel’s “Captain Marvel,” has died, his family said in a statement posted on his verified social media account on Sunday.

He was 49.

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Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ And ‘Marvel’ Actor, Dead At 49

“With heavy hearts we announce the passing of Kenneth Alexander Mitchell, beloved father, husband, brother, uncle, son and dear friend,” according to a statement released by the family.

Kenneth was diagnosed with ALS in 2018. In recent years, he and his family have published frequent updates on his health status. Mitchell posted on Instagram in August to honour the fifth anniversary of his diagnosis.

“My brother joked that they don’t have a happy ALS anniversary card in the shop. However, today, I’d like to celebrate the gift of life. I am very grateful to have this day ahead of me. It has been a long five years. So much lost, so much gained. Mitchell stated, “Incredibly hard times, mixed with so many more blessings.” “At the core are friends and relatives, carers and physicians, who have repeatedly stepped in to help my family. Giving a great deal of support, love, care, and encouragement. That is very beautiful. This sickness is very horrible…Despite the suffering, there is much to be thankful for.”

Mitchell, a Canadian native, has appeared in over 50 films and television shows throughout his career. He portrayed Carol Danvers’ father in Marvel’s 2019 film “Captain Marvel,” and an Olympic hopeful in the 2004 hockey film “Miracle.” Mitchell has appeared in scores of television shows, including “Jericho,” “The Astronaut Wives Club,” and “Switched at Birth.”

mitchell

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ And ‘Marvel’ Actor, Dead At 49

Mitchell played the Klingons Kol, Kol-Sha, Tenavik, and Aurellio in the television series “Star Trek: Discovery.”

“Whether someone is good or bad is all about perspective, and it’s about understanding that culture,” he told StarTrek.com in 2017. “You’ll get to know the Klingons on our show, and then people can decide if we really are the villains.”

Beyond his acting roles, Mitchell was remembered by those close to him as a “hope seeker, daydreamer, dream believer.” In a statement, Kenneth’s family expressed admiration for the strength he demonstrated while battling sickness.

mitchell

Kenneth Mitchell, ‘Star Trek’ And ‘Marvel’ Actor, Dead At 49

“Regardless of his later disabilities, Ken discovered a higher calling to be more fully himself for his kids,” they stated in the letter. “For five and a half years, Ken battled a slew of terrible obstacles with ALS. And, in true Ken manner, he rose above each one with grace and a determination to live a full and joyful life in every moment.

Kenneth is survived by his wife, Susan, and two young children.

SOURCE – (CNN)

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Chris Gauthier, ‘Once Upon A Time’ And Hallmark Movies Actor, Dead At 48

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According to a statement on his agent’s website, Chris Gauthier, an actor best known for roles in “Once Upon a Time,” “Eureka,” and other well-known Hallmark Channel movies, passed away on February 23.

He was 48.

His agent, Chad Colvin, confirmed the news on Facebook, adding, “This still doesn’t feel real. How could it be? “A world without you is much darker.”

His reps verified the news to CNN.

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Chris Gauthier, ‘Once Upon A Time’ And Hallmark Movies Actor, Dead At 48

“So much so that when his wife contacted me with the news yesterday, I grieved for hours in shock. “It took me until now to fully mentally and emotionally prepare myself to write this,” Colvin wrote on Sunday. “When I started in the talent representation profession almost nine years ago this month, it was at the request of one specific actor. However, I realised I needed more clients to get started if any event would take my business venture seriously. Chris Gauthier was the second actor to join the cast after recalling my experience as a press member on the Eureka production.”

“He felt my excitement for this new endeavour, he trusted me and he had faith in what I wanted to do to get him out there with the public and fans more,” he said. “Without Chris’ excitement and devotion, I wouldn’t be able to book practically the whole Eureka cast. His word of mouth, trust, and unending love of life encouraged me every day.”

gauthier

Chris Gauthier, ‘Once Upon A Time’ And Hallmark Movies Actor, Dead At 48

Colvin cited Gauthier’s work on shows such as “Smallville” and “Supernatural,” as well as his role as William Smee on “Once Upon a Time.”

“Brother…Colvin commented, “I will miss you more than you can imagine.” “I wish we could have spent more time together and that you realised how much of an impact you had on my life and everyone else’s. “Without you, this world feels smaller and colder.”

Raphael Sbarge, the actor’s “Once Upon a Time” co-star, also expressed his condolences.

gauthier

Chris Gauthier, ‘Once Upon A Time’ And Hallmark Movies Actor, Dead At 48

“A sweeter, happier soul would be hard to find,” Sbarge wrote in the caption to a group photo he shared on his verified Instagram account. “A man of consummate character, generosity and great talent, he was someone who cared deeply, loved his art, and was always kind to everyone he met.”

Gauthier’s other credits include the TV shows “A Series of Unfortunate Events,” “Joe Pickett,” and various Hallmark TV movies, including “Ms. Christmas Comes to Town.”

“We’re sorry to learn of Chris Gauthier’s passing. “Our thoughts are with his family, friends, and fans.”

SOURCE – (CNN)

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