*It was a night to remember and the house was packed at Maverick’s Flat on Crenshaw Boulevard with the stars of stage and screen who all came together to honor one of their own, none other than legendary actor Richard Roundtree. A man who as Roger Mosley put it, “made Hollywood notice that there was a black man in a leading role that was a hit at the box office.”
It was Roundtree’s lead role in the motion pictures “Shaft” and “Shaft’s Big Score” that caused those films to make more money than Carter has liver pills. And it also opened up doors for many black actors to follow after him.
What also made “Shaft” something special, was the fact that the original music score done by the late Isaac Hayes received an Academy Award for Best Musical Score. So it’s no wonder that so many of his peers came out last week to salute him and help celebrate his 71st birthday.
From the beautiful Kathy Bradley, Freda Payne, Lawrence Hilton Jacobs, Marla Gibbs and her daughter Angela, Tony King, Randy “Roughhouse” Harris, Gloria Hendry (who’s still looking beautiful) Margaret Avery who is also performing with him as his wife in the up and coming show “Being Mary Jane,” Roger Mosley, and not to forget, the legendary Jim Brown who calls Richard “a great pioneer, and a great talent that never forgets his people.”
They were all there to pay homage to a man whom they all look up to.
In an exclusive interview with Richard he pointed out to me that he highly regarded Gordon Parks, who he calls a second father and the debt that he owes to him is immeasurable. He was blessed to be cast in the role of “John Shaft” and he says that Gordon Parks had a way about him that spoke volumes. He says that he was a man of few words and well respected, and a renaissance man with class. A lot of you may not know this but before he developed an incredible acting career, he was a model for Eunice Johnson’s Ebony Fashion Fair. And he did quite a few advertisements and commercials for all sorts of brands.
Coming back to Maverick’s Flat he says “was a an incredible and meaningful night for me because starting out in the early 70s this is where I used to hang out, so this is a very special night.”
Speaking of Maverick’s Flat, much credit must be given to owner Curtis Fralin, his GM Leon Lewis, Roland Wirt, and Mark Gaspard for all working together to make this another memorable “Alumni Night” at Maverick’s.
And we’re all looking forward to what they have next on their agenda.
Check out snaps from the event courtesy of photo journalist Ian Foxx (www.photosbyfoxx.com/):
Southern California based Mohammed Mubarak, a portrait artist as well, can be contacted at email@example.com.