Announcer: Live from the Lowes Hotel and the Comcast Network, its Your Morning Now. Here are your hosts Greg Coy and Gwen Owens in for Connie Colla.
Gwen Owens: And the cool man himself, ‘Shaft’ comes to our studio. Richard Roundtree joins us later to help raise awareness about breast cancer and he was diagnosed with the disease about 15 years ago.
Leading man Richard Roundtree will be here soon. Roundtree first came to stardom for his role in 1970s movie ‘Shaft’.
Greg Coy: Say it with emotion.
Gwen Owens: Now he is a celebrity for good cause to help raise awareness about breast cancer. Shaft joins just later on this hour.
Greg Coy: That’s John ‘Shaft’. Thanks so much Gwen. You know, there are two things that are certain about cancer – it does not discriminate and breast cancer does not just affect only women. Someone who unfortunately knows about breast cancer firsthand is our next guest, famed actor Richard Roundtree. He has been diagnosed and treated for breast cancer. He is in Philadelphia for a special event to raise awareness about this issue. We are going to talk to him about that in just a minute but first good morning to you.
Richard Roundtree: Good morning.
Greg Coy: So this is Richard Roundtree, also known as John Shaft. This is just Richard Roundtree ...
Richard Roundtree: Yeah, exactly.
Greg Coy: But male breast cancer, was it a shock when you first heard about it, right?
Richard Roundtree: You think?
Greg Coy: Yeah, I mean because you know your doctor says, “You know, you have cancer”. You are thinking ‘do I have lung cancer; do I have more than one’?
Richard Roundtree: Actually I heard him say cancer and then….wait, did you say breast cancer?
Greg Coy: Breast cancer.
Richard Roundtree: He said, “Yes Richard”, he, in his 35 years of practice he had come across maybe I think he says something like three.
Greg Coy: Yeah.
Richard Roundtree: So when he said that, I said, “Is he questioning my manhood here?”
Greg Coy: I mean when you heard the number then what did you think? I mean did you think what did you have to do? What kind of treatments did you have to go through?
Richard Roundtree: Well as he was explaining the procedures that I had to go through, the six months of chemotherapy, mastectomy and I am thinking that ‘wait a minute, women die from this’ and I thought it’s really getting scared and he said, “You know, relax. It is going to be…”, and which brings me to the point of why I am here.
The Cancer Treatment Centers of America is a very unique hospital. So many changes have happened over the years since I have had this, that was 93’ incidentally. Cancer Treatment Centers, I mean I haven’t seen the facility but what I have heard about it is so unique and different and it’s like a spa and the…
Greg Coy: The treatment is outstanding and that their care is…
Richard Roundtree: The way the doctors approach it – the mind, body and spirit – the whole gamut of emotions that one goes through, they are on top of that and it’s concentrated in one area. It’s incredible to be there.
Greg Coy: What would you tell men watching this right now about getting the test? Is there a test that you can ask for? Is there a test that you should, so you know what, I saw Richard Roundtree was talking about…
Richard Roundtree: My mantra is early detection can save your life. That’s why I am here talking to you today. I am a bit of a hypochondriac also. So I was in the shower and I felt this little… I immediately went to the doctor and I had it checked out. We as men have this cavalier attitude about our health issues, I mean ‘it will go away; there’s nothing there, it will pass’ – anything you feel that’s a little abnormal, have it checked out immediately and getting that annual physical is very, very important.
Greg Coy: Tell us about the event in Philadelphia at the Philadelphia Center for Treatments of Cancer.
Richard Roundtree: Oh, Cancer Treatment Centers is having, every year they have the five-year hump day, if you will, five year you are cancer free and celebrating those people who have helped people who have got moving, who have survived and celebrate that. You know, as an actor I remember it distinctly my fifth year when the doctor said, “You are no longer a cancer patient. You are cancer-free.” Wow! That’s huge. So every opportunity I get to celebrate that with the other survivors is, I am on it.
Greg Coy: You are a busy guy – Speed Racer, Desperate Housewives, what else you’ve got going on?
Richard Roundtree: I just completed a Hallmark film with, oh well, a senior moment here, Pam Grier.
Greg Coy: Oh really?
Richard Roundtree: Yes, yes, yes, it’s very nice and it’s a Hallmark film so it’s a good story about emotions and what not and I had a wonderful time. I have always had a good time with Pam.
Greg Coy: I can’t help asking you and closing about that also like John ‘Shaft’ or thing like that. About doing ‘Shaft’ so many years ago and I remember now your picture John Shaft was in my college dorm room. Did you ever think that it was going to be that iconic of a film?
Richard Roundtree: Absolutely not. You’ve got to remember I was a young kid back then… oh no!
And back then I had hair and it was all black. No, I mean I was so happy to have a job and a major motion picture ahead, I couldn’t see pass that.
Greg Coy: Well, you know what, it’s been a, it’s a career that launched with so many wonderful things and even doing great public service right now. Richard Roundtree, it’s been an honor. It truly has been and my pleasure.
Richard Roundtree: Thank you for having me.
Greg Coy: The event is called Breast Cancer Survivor, the event is called ‘Celebrate Life’, they have breast cancer survivors together talking with Richard Roundtree, it’s at 6:00 p.m. tonight at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Philadelphia. For more information look online at cancercenter.com.
After the break we go around the water cooler. It’s not a bridal dress by Vera Wang but brides that we got very creative when designing their wedding dresses and now there’s proof….