Oscar Winner Louis Gossett Dead at 87

(LibertySociety.com) – Iconic actor Louis Gossett Jr. died on March 28 in California at the age of 87. Gossett made history in 1983 when he was the first black man to win an Oscar for his character in the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman.” He also won a Golden Globe award for the role.

He was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. Gossett found fame at an early age, which he referred to as the opposite of a Cinderella story. During high school, he fell in love with acting when he participated in a student production of a comedy play.

Gossett was encouraged by his high school English teacher to audition for a Broadway production in 1953. He was successful, debuting on the stage at just 16 years old. Gossett said that he did not know enough to feel nervous about the significance of his accomplishment, but in hindsight, he should have been a little more fearful. He received a scholarship for drama and basketball and attended New York University. Within a short period, he was performing on television shows with prominent figures, including Ed Sullivan. He became a Broadway star in 1964, just five years after receiving his first accolade on the big stage.

In 1961, Gossett made his first trip to Hollywood to make a movie version of a Broadway production. He recalled the experience negatively, as he was forced to stay in a bug-infested hotel due to segregation. Seven years later he went back to play a major role in a made-for-television movie. His hotel accommodation was far better than his first trip. However, he recalled three separate encounters with cops who believed he was out of place because of the color of his skin.

Gossett’s biggest television success was in 1977 for his role in as Fiddler in “Roots,” a miniseries about slavery. He went on to appear in several television movies, one of which won him a second Golden Globe award.

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