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‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ Oscar winner Louis Gossett Jr. dies at 87


Louis Gossett Jr. won a supporting actor Oscar for playing the hard-nosed training instructor in 1982’san officer and a gentleman” He died early Friday morning, just a few years after winning an Emmy for playing the sly Fiddler on “Roots.” He was 87 years old.

Gossett’s family announced his death in a statement, writing: “We are deeply saddened to confirm that our beloved father passed away this morning. We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. During this difficult time, Please respect the family’s privacy.”

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In Taylor Hackford’s An Officer and a Gentleman, Gossett’s character, Sergeant Emile Foley, memorably pushes Richard Gere’s character to a near-breakdown at Naval Flight School. Gossett was the first black man to win a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the role.

In addition to An Officer and a Gentleman, Gossett is also known for the film Enemy Mine (1985), in which he played an alien forced to make a deal with humanity’s enemies. Dennis Quaid found himself stranded on a planet, and “Iron Eagle” (1986), in which he played an Air Force veteran who helps a young pilot find his father, who was shot down and captured.

After winning an Emmy in 1978 for “Roots,” Gossett received six more Emmy nominations over the years. He was nominated for his role as the Egyptian president who made peace with Israel in the 1983 TV movie “Sadat.” He also received nominations for his performance in the 1978 Variety Special “Sentinel Series Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots”; for his performance as Levi Mercer in the 1979 NBC miniseries “The Back Staircase of the White House”; For his leading role in the television series “Palmerstown, U.S.A.” in 1981; for his leading actor role in the miniseries or special “Old Man’s Party” (1987), directed by Volker Schlöndorff, in which he in which he co-starred with Richard Widmark and Holly Hunter; and had a recurring role as Anderson Walker in the CBS drama “Headline.” Touched by an Angel,” 1997.

In his 70s, Gossett is still working hard, and in 2013 he memorably made a cameo on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire,” playing Charl, the mentor to Michael Kenneth Williams’ character Chalky. Key met him again while on the run.

He also recently starred as Quinn in CBS’ Halle Berry sci-fi thriller “Extant” and guest-starred on “Madam Secretary” (2014) .

Gossett first gained widespread attention with his landmark miniseries Roots, then starred in another miniseries about slavery, BET’s The Book of Negroes, in 2015.

questioner type In 2015, Gossett replied: “Anwar Sadat was his favorite character. It was a challenge to play a man with such a history. His spirit was very Mandela-like. He went from hawk to dove.” .he “he lost his brother and the people he loved. He said he was willing to step into Israel in the name of peace. Mandela was willing to come out of prison with a smile on his face. “

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn. At 17, he made his stage debut in a school production of You Can’t Take It With You; a sports injury prompted his decision to take acting classes. He also battled polio while growing up. He received an athletic scholarship but paid his own way to New York University, where the tall young man could have played varsity basketball but declined in favor of theatrical pursuits.

In 1953, Gossett made his Broadway debut, although he had no formal training as an actor, replacing Bill Gunn as Spencer Scott in “One Giant Step,” which was reviewed by The New York Times Critics rated it one of the top ten Broadway shows. Year.He was first mentioned in type for his work on the show.

Other Broadway credits include the classic 1959-60 original production of A Raisin in the Sun, in which he played George Murchison, the wealthy and educated daughter of the Younger family, Beneatha. Well-educated boyfriend; George denies his African ancestry and represents fully assimilated Africans. Black person. Gossett made his big screen debut when he reprized the role in the 1961 film version of A Raisin in the Sun (he had previously played a smaller role in the original comedy The Desk Team, which, thankfully, The character is also very popular in Japan.)

In 1963 he appeared on the Rialto stage in Langston Hughes’s adaptation of Tambourines to Glory, starring Sammy Davis Jr. Gossett was an understudy in the controversial hit musical “Golden Boy” starring Sammy Davis Jr., in which Gossett played Mephistophelian boxing promoter Eddie Sardin. Eddie Satin). Also one of the stars of the original musical Zulu and Zaida, which tells the story of a Jew and a black man bridging the racial gap in Johannesburg.

In 1968, Gossett starred with Diane Ladd and others in Sidney Poitier’s play “Take Me Back to Morningside Heights” and in 1971 played the assassinated African in the play “Murder Angels” Leader Patrice Lumumba.

Decades later, in 2002, Gossett returned to Broadway, replacing Billy Flynn in the musical “Chicago.”

As one of the show’s executive producers, Gossett won a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Children’s Special for 1997’s “In His Father’s Shoes,” for which he was nominated for Outstanding Performer in a Children’s Special. Amazing experience with my son.

He was also nominated for the Outstanding Special Class Award at the 2002 Salt Lake Paralympics Opening Ceremony and served as commentator.

Later in his career, Gossett continued to play roles on television and in movies. He appeared in seven episodes of the critically acclaimed HBO miniseries Watchmen and had a starring role in the 2020 religious drama Reason. He also appears in the 2023 TV series Watchmen. A remake of The Color Purple.

Gossett was married three times. His first marriage, to Hattie Glascoe, was annulled in 1964. He was married to Christina Mangosing (1973-75) and actress Cyndi James Gossett (1987-92). Both marriages ended in divorce.

Survivors include a son, producer Sadie Gossett of Mangosing; adopted son Sharon with Cindy James Gossett; and a nephew, actor Robert Gossett.

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