Trailblazer Louis Gossett Jr. Passes Away at 87

Louis Gossett Jr

Louis Gossett Jr., a pioneer in the entertainment industry as the first Black man to secure an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, and renowned for his portrayal in the iconic miniseries “Roots,” has died at the age of 87.

Gossett’s cousin, Neal L. Gossett, confirmed his passing in Santa Monica, California, with the family issuing a statement on Friday morning. While the cause of death remains undisclosed, his cousin fondly recollected Gossett’s companionship with Nelson Mandela and his knack for humor in the face of adversity.

Louis Gossett Jr’s Journey

Louis Gossett’s trajectory in the industry was akin to a reverse Cinderella story, propelled by early success towards his crowning achievement, the Academy Award for his role in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Gossett’s breakthrough came with his portrayal of Fiddler in the groundbreaking “Roots” miniseries in 1977, which shed light on the horrors of slavery. This role paved the way for his Oscar-winning performance as the formidable Marine drill instructor in “An Officer and a Gentleman” in 1983, a role that also earned him a Golden Globe.

Gossett’s journey began in his Brooklyn high school’s production, leading to Broadway and eventually Hollywood. Despite facing racism and adversity, he stood tall, earning critical acclaim and becoming a stalwart in the entertainment industry.

Throughout his life, Gossett confronted racism head-on, establishing the Eracism Foundation to combat racial discrimination and striving to create a world devoid of prejudice.

Despite his struggles with addiction and health issues, Gossett leaves behind a legacy of resilience and groundbreaking performances. He is survived by his sons Satie and Sharron, and his cousin, actor Robert Gossett. Gossett’s indelible mark on the industry will be remembered for generations to come.