Louis Gossett Jr. Passes Away: Roots, Officer and a Gentleman Star Remembered

Louis Gossett Jr. passed away on Thursday at the age of 87, his nephew confirmed to the Associated Press. He was renowned for his role in *An Officer and a Gentleman*, making history as the first Black actor to clinch the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

The cause of his death wasn’t made public. It’s worth noting, Gossett disclosed a prostate cancer diagnosis back in February 2010, which was treated swiftly.

Throughout his illustrious career, Gossett bagged an Emmy and two Golden Globes. His Emmy came for his portrayal of Fiddler in the 1977 hit miniseries *Roots*. The Golden Globes were awarded for his roles in *An Officer and a Gentleman* and the 1991 TV movie *The Josephine Baker Story*.

Gossett’s journey began in Coney Island, Brooklyn. A proud graduate of Abraham Lincoln High School, he dived into acting in 1953 with Broadway roles. Notably, he starred in the original staging of *A Raisin in the Sun*. He later reprised his role in the 1961 film adaptation.

After about a decade on stage, Gossett transitioned to TV and film. His credits include the ABC adventure series *The Young Rebels*, episodes of *Bonanza*, *Mod Squad*, and *Good Times*, culminating in his Emmy-winning role in *Roots*.

Gossett’s later TV work was equally impressive. He earned an Emmy nomination for the 1979 miniseries *Backstairs at the White House*. Other notable roles included the ABC thriller *The Lazarus Syndrome*, *The Powers of Matthew Star*, and the title role in the 1983 *Sadat* miniseries, which brought him Emmy and Golden Globe nods.

In recent years, Gossett’s versatility shone through in various roles. He played the Jaffa politician Gerak on *Stargate SG-1*, voiced a drill sergeant in a 2006 episode of *Family Guy*, and took on the role of Lucius Fox in *The Batman* animated series. His work extended to episodes of *Touched by an Angel*, *Psych*, *Madam Secretary*, CBS’ *Hawaii Five-0* reboot, HBO’s *Watchmen*, and BET+’s *Kingdom Business*.

Gossett’s film roles after *Officer and a Gentleman* were diverse. He starred in the sci-fi drama *Enemy Mine*, the *Iron Eagle* franchise, *The Punisher* starring Dolph Lundgren, and the 2023 remake of *The Color Purple* as Ol’ Mister.

Mason Messick
Mason Messick
Mason Messick is a writer and television enthusiast. He has been covering the world of TV for 5 years and has a particular passion for drama series. Mason's engaging writing style has made him a valuable member of the Tonight.TV website team.

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