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Oscar Winning Actor Louis Gossett Jr. Has Passed Away At 87

Written by on March 29, 2024

The first Black man to win an Oscar for supporting actor, Louis Gossett Jr. has died at 87. In 1982, Gossett Jr. starred as Marine Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” for which he scored an Academy Award for best supporting actor and became the first Black man to win in the category. The Brooklyn-born actor, who attended New York University, became one of the most famous Black actors of his time with decades of commercial and critical acclaim. In addition to his groundbreaking Oscar win, the pioneering talent won an Emmy for his role in the TV miniseries “Roots” based on Alex Haley’s book of the same name. Over the years, Gossett Jr. became a generational talent on the screen and stage. He scored eight Primetime Emmy nominations throughout his career for roles in “Roots,” “The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots,” “Backstairs at the White House,” “Palmerstown, U.S.A.,” “Sadat,” “A Gathering of Old Men,” “Touched by an Angel” and most recently in 2020 for the HBO limited series “Watchmen.”

He also starred in stage and screen versions of “A Raisin In The Sun,” which helped make him a Hollywood star. In recent years, he has guest-starred or appeared on television series including “Madam Secretary,” “The Book of Negroes,” “The Spoils Before Dying” and “The Good Wife” spinoff “The Good Fight.” He also played Ol’ Mister in last year’s Oprah Winfrey-produced remake of “The Color Purple” starring Fantasia Barrino, Danielle Brooks, Taraji P. Henson and Colman Domingo. Throughout his life, the actor publicly battled a slew of health struggles. In 2010, Gossett announced his prostate cancer diagnosis and a decade later, Gossett was hospitalized with COVID-19 in December 2020. He leaves behind two children, Satie and Sharron.

Source: USA Today


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