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The First Black Man To Win An Oscar Gossett Jr Dies 87

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Louis Gossett Jr., who was the first African man to win an Emmy and an Oscar for supporting acting for his part in the landmark TV miniseries “Roots,” passed away. He was eighty-seven.

The Associated Press was informed by Gossett’s first cousin, Neal L. Gossett, that the actor passed away in Santa Monica, California. According to a family statement, Gossett passed away on Friday morning. The cause of death remained a mystery.

Gossett’s cousin recounted a man who was a terrific joker and strolled with Nelson Mandela; this relative dealt with racism head-on and did it with humor and dignity.

Never mind the lavish homes in Malibu and the Rolls-Royces; never mind the accolades. It’s about the individuals he stood for and their humanity,” his cousin said.

For Louis Gossett, success came to him early in life and drove him toward his Academy Award for “An Officer and a Gentleman.” He saw his early career as a reverse Cinderella narrative.
As Fiddler in the ground-breaking 1977 miniseries “Roots,” which portrayed the horrors of slavery on TV, Gossett made his breakthrough on the small screen. John Amos, LeVar Burton, and Ben Vereen were among the large cast members.
In 1983, Gossett was nominated for a third Black Oscar in the supporting actor category. He took home the trophy for his portrayal as the commanding Marine drill instructor in the film “An Officer and a Gentleman,” which starred Debra Winger and Richard Gere. For the same part, he was also awarded a Golden Globe.

Above all, it was a significant confirmation of my position as a black actor,” he wrote in his 2010 memoir, “An Actor and a Gentleman.”

Since he was injured and unable to play basketball, he received his first acting credit in the “You Can’t Take It with You” production at his Brooklyn high school.

In his memoir, he said, “I was hooked—and so was my audience.”
His English teacher encouraged him to go try out for “Take a Big Step” in Manhattan. After being cast, he debuted on Broadway in 1953 at the age of sixteen.
Gossett wrote, “I knew too little to feel scared.” In hindsight, I should have been frightened to death when I entered that period, but I wasn’t.

Gossett received scholarships to study acting and basketball at New York University. Before long, he was performing and singing on David’s television shows, Susskind, Ed Sullivan, Red Buttons, Merv Griffin, Jack Paar, and Steve Allen.

Louis Cameron Gossett, born on May 27, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, was an actor who gained fame for his roles in films like “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Companions in Nightmare.” He studied acting with Marilyn Monroe, Martin Landau, and Steve McQueen at an offshoot of the Actors Studio, taught by Frank Silvera.

Gossett received critical acclaim for his role in the Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1959 and went on to become a star on Broadway. He returned to Hollywood in 1968 for a major role in “Companions in Nightmare,” NBC’s first made-for-TV movie. In 1968, he was booked into the Beverly Hills Hotel and rented a convertible.

Gossett faced abuse and harassment from sheriff’s officers while driving in Beverly Hills. He was chained to a tree and handcuffed for three hours before being released when the original police car returned. Gossett founded the Eracism Foundation to help create a world where racism doesn’t exist.

Gossett made guest appearances on shows such as “Bonanza,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Mod Squad,” “McCloud,” and a memorable turn with Richard Pryor on “The Partridge Family.” In August 1969, he was invited to actor Sharon Tate’s house, where she and others were killed by Charles Manson’s associates.

Gossett struggled with alcohol and cocaine addiction for years after his Oscar win and was diagnosed with toxic mold syndrome. He was hospitalized with prostate cancer in 2010 and was hospitalized with COVID-19 in 2020. He is survived by his sons Satie, a producer-director from his second marriage, and Sharron, a chef whom he adopted after seeing the 7-year-old in a TV segment on children in desperate situations.


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