Louis Gossett Jr. obituaries

Actor Lou Gossett Jr, best known for his role as gunnery sergeant Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman” (1982), whose grueling training Making new recruit Richard Gere the leading man in the film.The first black actor to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor and the third black actor to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor (after Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier) to take home any Oscar.

Director Taylor Hackford said he was following a familiar Hollywood trope by casting Gossett in a role written for a white actor. john wayne, Burt LancasterVictor McLaglen or R. Lee Elmerbecause during the course of his research, he realized that “black soldiers had significant control over whether white college graduates would become officers.” Gossett, who has already won an Emmy Award, plays a different kind of mentor who teaches Canta The slave fiddler Gent came to prominence in Roots (1977), but despite his long history of success on stage, music and screen, he was a relatively unknown 46 when he landed his breakthrough role young people.

Louis was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, the son of Helen (née Ray), a nurse, and Louis Sr., a porter. He suffered from polio as a child but became an athlete before a basketball injury led him to join the high school drama club.His teacher encouraged him to audition professionally, which he did at age 17 broadway Playing a troubled kid in “One Leap” earned him a Donaldson Award for Best Newcomer.

He received a drama scholarship to New York University but went on to work on “The Desk” (1955) and made his television debut in two episodes of the NBC anthology show “The Big Story.” In 1959 he appeared in A Raisin in the Sun with Poitier and Ruby Dee, and made his film debut in 1961.That same year, he performed on Broadway in Jean Genet’s The Blacks, in an all-star cast alongside James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Roscoe Lee BrownGodfrey Cambridge and a young Maya Angelou;It’s the longest-running show in a decade.

Lou Gossett Jr played Fiddler in the groundbreaking 1977 American TV series Roots. Photo: ABC/Allstar

Gossett was also active in the Greenwich Village folk music scene, releasing his first single Hooka Dooka, Green Green in 1964, and subsequently meet the ridersand co-created popular anti-war works Handsome Johnny and Richie HavensIn 1967, he released another single, a drum and horn version Pete SeegerHe appeared in the gospel musical Tambourines to Glory (1963) and producer Mike Todd’s America, Seated at the 1964 New York World’s Fair.

His plays became more limited: “Zulu and Zaida” and “My Sweet Charlie”; the short play “Take Me Back to Morningside Heights,” in which he played a black man who owned a white slave; and His last Broadway role was in the remake of “The Golden Boy” (1964), with Sammy Davis Jr. Connor Cruise O’Brien‘s “Murder Angel” (1971). Gossett had roles in New York-set TV series such as Naked City, but he began to make his mark in Hollywood despite LAPD officers cuffing him to a tree on “suspect” grounds in 1966. Year.

On television, he starred in The Young Rebels (1970-71), set during the American Revolution.In film, he played a desperate tenant in Hal Ashby’s Landlord (1970) and James Garner In Skin Game (1971), he takes part in a scam in which Garner sells him into slavery multiple times and then helps him escape.

In 1977, he came to attention as a memorable villain in “The Movie” alongside Roots. Peter Yates’s hit film “The Deep” and took artistic revenge on the LAPD in Robert Aldrich’s “The Choirboys.” The television movie The Lazarus Syndrome (1979) became a series, in which Gossett played a realistic hospital chief of staff pitted against an idealistic young doctor. Played black baseball star Satchel Paige in the TV movie Don’t Look Back (1981); years later, he played another Negro Leagues star in The Perfect Game (2009) Cool Papa Bell.

After winning an Oscar, he played another assassinated African leader in the TV miniseries “Sadat,” a role reportedly approved by Anwar Sadat’s widow Jihan. Although he remained a busy actor, he landed good leading roles in major productions as producers closed down. Back to his instructor persona. He played Colonel “Chappy” Sinclair in The Iron Eagle (1986) and its three frustrating sequels.

But in 1989, he played an anthropology professor solving crimes in New York in Dick Wolf’s TV series “Gideon Oliver.” He also won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the television film The Josephine Baker Story (1991).movie adaptation stage Sam ShepardThe Curse of the Hungry Class (1994).

Gossett received two NAACP Image Awards and another Emmy Award for producing the children’s special “In His Father’s Shoes” (1997). In 2006 he founded End Racism Foundation, offering programs that promote “cultural diversity, rich history and anti-violence initiatives.” Although he eventually became ill from toxic mold in his Santa Monica home, he continued to have a recurring role in Stargate SG-1 (2005-06). In 2010, he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, but that didn’t slow him down.

Most recently, he played Will “Masked Justice” Reeves in the TV series Watchmen (2019), the drama about the gospel music industry Kingdom Business, and the 2023 musical remake of The Color Purple.

His first marriage to Hattie Glascoe in 1967 was annulled five months later; his second marriage to Christina Mangosing from 1973 Lasted two years; his third marriage was to Cynthia James from 1987 to 1992. He has two sons, Satie from his second marriage and Sharron from his third marriage.

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr., actor, born May 27, 1936; died March 28, 2024

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