End of an Era: Hollywood Legend Dead at 87

(WatchDogReport.org) – Louis Gossett Jr. passed away in the early hours of the morning on March 29, aged 87. Gossett was the first black man to earn an Oscar for supporting actor. His cousin, Neal L. Gossett, stated the actor died in Santa Monica, California. The cause of death has not been made public.

Gossett won his Oscar as well as a Golden Globe in 1983 for his role as a drill sergeant in An Officer and a Gentleman. He previously won an Emmy for his part in the TV miniseries Roots, which was set during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

Gossett previously announced a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2010. He underwent an intensive program of treatment for the disease.

He made his Broadway debut at age 16 in 1953 after his English teacher encouraged him to audition for Take a Giant Step and also performed in the Golden Boy musical. Gossett wrote at length about his experience of racial discrimination and harassment from the police in his early career. The actor commented that even his Oscar award had not been the “golden ticket” that might benefit other actors in their careers and that he still had to meet racism “face to face.” The actor claimed he was pulled over on Pacific Coast Highway by police in the late 1990s when he was driving a restored 1986 Rolls Royce Corniche II. The cop commented that the actor bore a resemblance to a suspect they were searching for but recognized Gossett and left.

Gossett set up the Eracism Foundation to work on creating a world where racism is non-existent. In August 1969, the actor was at a party with Mamas and Papas members. They were invited to the residence of actress Sharon Tate, but as he was getting ready to leave, he saw a news announcement of her murder.

A native of the Coney Island area of Brooklyn, New York, Gossett added the “Jr” to his name later to honor his father. Gossett commented that his Oscar award did not alter the fact that each of his parts was a supporting role. More recently, he was in the 2023 remake of The Color Purple as an obstinate patriarch. Gossett is survived by sons Sharron and Satie.

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