Louis Gossett Jr., the first Black man to win an Oscar for supporting actor, passes away

LOS ANGELES Louis Gossett Jr., who was the first Black 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.

Louis Gossett Jr., the first Black man to win an Oscar for supporting actor, passes away
Louis Gossett Jr.

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. It was yet unclear what caused the death.

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. Serving as the formidable Marine drill instructor in “An Officer and a Gentleman” alongside Richard Gere and Debra Winger, he took home the award for that role. For the same part, he was also awarded a Golden Globe.

“An Actor and a Gentleman,” his memoir from 2010, stated, “was a huge affirmation of my position as a Black actor more than anything else.”

Louis Gossett Jr. A fortunate occurrence

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

He stated in his memoir, “I was hooked—and so was my audience.”

His English teacher highly recommended that he travel to Manhattan and try out for the show “Take a Giant Step.” After landing the role, the sixteen-year-old made his Broadway debut in 1953.

Gossett received a basketball and theater scholarship to attend New York University. Soon after, he began appearing in TV plays and singing on programs presented by Steve Allen, Jack Paar, Ed Sullivan, Red Buttons, Merv Griffin, and David Susskind.

Gossett made friends with James Dean and studied acting at an offshoot of the Frank Silvera-taught Actors Studio with Marilyn Monroe, Martin Landau, and Steve McQueen.

Gossett, together with Sidney Poitier, Ruby Dee, and Diana Sands, starred in the Broadway version of “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1959, earning praise from critics.

He went on to become a Broadway sensation, playing Sammy Davis Jr. in “Golden Boy” in 1964 to replace Billy Daniels.

Racism in the style of Los Angeles

1961 marked Gossett’s first trip to Hollywood, where he worked on “A Raisin in the Sun.” He remembered the trip with bitterness, sleeping in one of the few Black people’s only accommodations, a cockroach-infested motel.

He made a big comeback to Hollywood in 1968 when he starred in NBC’s first made-for-TV film, “Companions in Nightmare,” alongside Melvyn Douglas, Anne Baxter, and Patrick O’Neal.

This time, Gossett had a reservation at the Beverly Hills Hotel and a convertible rented from Universal Studios. After picking up the automobile, he drove back to the hotel and was stopped by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s officer, who told him to put up the car’s roof and turn down the radio before he could go.

He was stopped by eight sheriff’s police in a matter of minutes; they made him lean against the car and open the trunk while they called the automobile rental company before releasing him.

A close call with the Manson clan

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Louis Gossett Jr.

A number of television programs featured Gossett as a guest star, including “Bonanza,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Mod Squad,” “McCloud,” and a standout episode of “The Partridge Family” with Richard Pryor.

Gossett was asked to actor Sharon Tate’s home in August 1969 after they had been out partying with Mamas and Papas members. He first went home to take a shower and get dressed. He saw a news flash about Tate’s murder on TV as he was preparing to depart. That night, she and several people were murdered by the associates of Charles Manson.

victories without taking the lead

Gossett starred in television films that included “Roots Revisited,” “The Josephine Baker Story,” “Backstairs at the White House,” and “The Story of Satchel Paige,” for which he was nominated for a second Golden Globe.

However, he insisted that receiving an Oscar didn’t alter the reality that all of his parts were supporting ones.

In 2023, he portrayed a stubborn father figure in the “The Color Purple” adaptation.

Years after winning an Oscar, Gossett battled an addiction to cocaine and alcohol. After entering rehab, he was told he had toxic mold syndrome, which he linked to his Malibu home.

Gossett revealed he had prostate cancer in 2010 and claimed it was discovered early on. He spent 2020 in a hospital due to COVID-19.

Additionally, he is survived by two sons: Sharron, a chef whom he adopted after witnessing the 7-year-old in a TV piece on children in need, and Satie, a producer-director from his second marriage. Robert Gossett, an actor, is his first cousin.

Gossett and Hattie Glascoe’s first marriage was dissolved. Both his second marriage, to Christina Mangosing, and his third, to actor Cyndi James-Reese, ended in divorce in 1975 and 1992, respectively.

watch Louis Gossett Jr.

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Rinku Kumar
Rinku Kumar

Rinku Kumar is a talented and aspiring blogger known for her captivating content and insightful perspectives. Born on March 20, 2002, in Janta West, Muzaffarpur, Bihar, Rinku discovered her passion for writing at an early age. Growing up in a world of ever-evolving digital media, she found herself drawn to the vast opportunities for self-expression and communication offered by the internet.

From a young age, Rinku exhibited a natural flair for storytelling and a keen interest in exploring diverse topics. She honed her writing skills through personal journals, school essays, and online platforms. As she delved deeper into the world of blogging, she realized its potential to not only entertain but also to inform, inspire, and connect with people worldwide.

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