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Louis Gossett Jr, First Black Man To Win Academy Award For Best Supporting Actor Passes Away At 87

Curated By: Yatamanyu Narain

Last Updated: March 29, 2024, 21:06 IST

Los Angeles, United States of America (USA)

Louis Gossett Jr passes away at the age of 87.

Louis Gossett Jr passes away at the age of 87.

Louis Gossett Jr breathed his last at the age of 87, as confirmed by his family through a statement.

Louis Gossett Jr., the groundbreaking actor who became the first Black man to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in “An Officer and a Gentleman,” has died at the age of 87, his family confirmed in a statement.

“With profound sadness, we announce the passing of our dear father this morning. We appreciate the outpouring of sympathy during this challenging time and ask for privacy as we mourn,” the family statement, shared by Gossett’s long-term publicist, expressed.

Gossett’s acting journey began in his teens after a basketball injury led him to discover his passion for acting. By 15, he was already making his mark on Broadway as the lead in “Take A Giant Step,” and he continued to sharpen his acting skills, studying alongside icons like Marilyn Monroe and Martin Landau.

Despite the hardships of being a Black actor in Hollywood, Gossett persisted, debuting in film with “A Raisin in the Sun” in 1961. He faced challenges in securing substantial roles until his Emmy-winning performance as Fidler in the 1977 miniseries “Roots” and his Oscar-winning role in 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Gossett’s career also included memorable performances in military roles in the “Iron Eagle” series and “Sadat,” and he won a Golden Globe for his role as civil rights activist Sidney Williams in “The Josephine Baker Story” on HBO.

Diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2010, Gossett publicly shared his diagnosis to encourage early detection and treatment, particularly among African-American men.

Despite his health battles, Gossett continued to act, leaving a lasting impression with roles in shows like “Madame Secretary,” “Hap and Leonard,” and on HBO’s “Watchmen.” His most recent role was in the film adaptation of “The Color Purple,” where he played Ol’ Mister, captivating audiences with his performance.

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