Mary Jane Grant is the first wife of Richard Roundtree, the legendary actor who played John Shaft in the 1971 film Shaft and its sequels. She was married to him for 10 years, and had two children with him. But who is Mary Jane Grant, and what happened to their relationship? Here is what we know about her:
- Mary Jane Grant was born in 1941, and met Richard Roundtree when they were both students at Southern Illinois University. They fell in love and got married on November 27, 1963, when they were both 22 years old.
- Mary Jane Grant supported her husband’s career as a model and an actor, and moved with him to New York City, where he joined the Negro Ensemble Company and began acting in stage productions. She also helped him land his breakthrough role as John Shaft, the cool and charismatic detective who fought crime in Harlem.
- Mary Jane Grant and Richard Roundtree had two children together: Nicole, born in 1965, and Tayler, born in 1969. They raised their family in a spacious apartment in Manhattan, and enjoyed a glamorous lifestyle. They attended premieres, parties, and award shows, and mingled with celebrities like Isaac Hayes, Sidney Poitier, and Diana Ross.
- However, their marriage was not without problems. According to Richard Roundtree’s autobiography, Voices of Black Men: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, he admitted that he cheated on his wife several times with other women. He also struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, which affected his health and his work. He said that he was “selfish” and “irresponsible” as a husband and a father.
- Mary Jane Grant and Richard Roundtree divorced in December 1973, after 10 years of marriage. They remained friends and co-parents to their children. Richard Roundtree later dated actress Cathy Lee Crosby for a while, before marrying Karen M. Ciernia in 1980. He had three more children with her: Morgan, Kelli, and James. He divorced her in 1998.
- Mary Jane Grant never remarried after her divorce from Richard Roundtree. She focused on raising her children and pursuing her own interests. She became a successful interior designer and a philanthropist. She also supported her ex-husband when he was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1993, and when he died of pancreatic cancer on October 23, 2023.
- Mary Jane Grant is now 82 years old, and lives in Los Angeles. She is proud of her children and grandchildren, who have followed their father’s footsteps in the entertainment industry. Nicole is an actress and a producer, Tayler is a musician and a composer, Morgan is a singer and a songwriter, Kelli is a dancer and a choreographer, and James is a rapper and a DJ.
Mary Jane Grant is the first wife of Richard Roundtree, the original Shaft star who died at 81. She was his partner in life and love for a decade, and his friend for more than half a century. She is a remarkable woman who has lived a full and rich life.
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