Richard Roundtree, a legendary character in Blaxploitation film known for his depiction of detective John Shaft in Gordon Parks’ 1971 action thriller, died Tuesday afternoon after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 81 years old.

Roundtree’s manager since 1987, Patrick McMinn, confirmed his demise. Richard’s work and career served as a turning point for African Americans starring men in the film, McMinn noted in a statement. It is impossible to exaggerate his influence on the business.” Because of Roundtree’s efforts in the film industry, African-American performers in prominent parts now have more visibility and recognition. His influence is still felt today.

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He was married to Mary Jane Grant.

Who is Mary Jane Grant?

Mary Jane Grant was married to actor Richard Roundtree. John James and Kelli were the couple’s two children, born between 1963 and 1973.

Mary Jane Grant’s career and personal life are hardly known. After her 1973 divorce from Roundtree, she made the decision to live a secretive life away from the spotlight.

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Although the specifics of Roundtree and Grant’s first encounter are still unknown, on November 27, 1963, they exchanged vows. Their ten-year marriage ended in divorce in December 1973.

While Roundtree has never publicly talked about his marriage to Grant or the details of their breakup, he did say in an interview with Ebony magazine in 1972 that he was looking for a companion who was “independent” and didn’t mind being herself. He also underlined how crucial it was to have a woman by his side who would back his work.

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It’s possible that Grant didn’t fit Roundtree’s ideal mate description or that their bond gradually grew weaker over time. Whatever the reasons for their split, it’s clear that Roundtree and Grant get along well even if they were once married. Both of them have made progress in their life and are positive about each other.