Entertainment & SocietyActor Louis Gossett Dies at 87

Actor Louis Gossett Dies at 87

GTBCO FOOD DRINL

March 29, (THEWILL)- Louis Gossett Jr, the first Black man to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance as a hard-man drill instructor in An Officer and a Gentleman, has died.

Gossett died on Thursday night in Los Angeles, at the age of 87. The cause of his death was, however, not stated.

Gossett appeared in more than 60 movies, and in 1983 became the third Black actor after Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier to win an Academy Award for his supporting role as a stern gunnery sergeant in Taylor Hackford’s An Officer and a Gentleman.

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The movie also netted the actor a Golden Globe, and he later picked up another Supporting Actor Globe for The Josephine Baker Story, as well as an Emmy for the eight-part smash-hit ABC miniseries, Roots.

The New York native, who announced in 2010 that he had prostate cancer, cultivated a tough guy image that paid dividends in a slew of action movies, including Iron Eagle and The Punisher.

Gossett chronicled his painful experiences as a trailblazing black actor in his memoir, An Actor and a Gentleman, including his first trip to Los Angeles in the 1960s when he was pulled over by police four times during a single-car journey.

Divorced from his third wife in 1992, Gossett lived in Malibu, California and raised two sons.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 27, 1936, and cut his teeth on stage, appearing in Take a Giant Step, which was selected as one of the 10 best Broadway shows of 1953 by The New York Times.

He won a part in the 1959 Broadway production of Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun before making his Hollywood debut alongside Poitier in the film version two years later.

His other credits include The Deep, Blue Chips, Daddy’s Little Girls, Firewalker and Jaws-3D.

Gossett Jr. came to wide attention on the small screen, winning an Emmy for his turn as the slave Fiddler in Roots, a cultural phenomenon that drew more than 100 million viewers for its finale in January 1977.

He was nominated for television’s top prize six more times, including for his portrayal of Anwar Sadat in the 1983 miniseries Sadat.

He continued to work well into his 70s, appearing briefly on HBO’s Boardwalk Empire and CBS shows, Extant and Madam Secretary, as well as NBC’s ER and HBO superhero series, Watchmen.

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