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Here's a story from the newswires...

Actor Battled Cancer

POSTED: 9:19 a.m. EST January 19, 2004

Ron O'Neal, whose role as cocaine dealer Youngblood Priest in the 1972 film "Superfly" epitomized the so-called "blaxploitation" film genre of that era, has died.

He was 66.

His wife says O'Neal died Wednesday night at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a long bout with cancer.

His performance in Joseph Papp's Public Theatre production of "No Place To Be Somebody" brought O'Neal to the attention of the producers of "Superfly."

The film was a surprise hit, leading O'Neal to reprise the role and take over directing chores in the sequel, 1973's "Superfly TNT."

He later played in such low-budget films as "Mercenary Fighters" in 1987 and "Up Against the Wall" in 1991, which he also directed.

O'Neal capped his career with a performance in 2002's "On The Edge."

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