Louis Gossett Jr., the inaugural black man to claim an Oscar for the best supporting actor, has died aged 87

Louis Gossett Jr., the inaugural black man to claim an Oscar for the best supporting actor, has died aged 87

“It is with our heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved father passed away this morning. We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

 “We’re not going to get to this ‘promised land’ until we regard one another as part of the whole family,” he told ABC news in 2016, “Black, Latino as one family. That’s America.”

Louis Gossett Jr., a pioneering African American actor, achieved a historic milestone as the first Black man to win an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. This groundbreaking accomplishment occurred in 1982 when he portrayed Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the film "An Officer and a Gentleman". His unforgettable performance in this iconic role earned him the prestigious Oscar. Gossett's talent extended beyond the big screen to television, where he received an Emmy for his role in the groundbreaking miniseries "Roots", which delved into the painful legacy of slavery.

“Nobody wanted it because you couldn’t see your face or your eyes. Five and a half to six hours in makeup, that’s a challenge,” he told the Washington Times in 2017.

Throughout his remarkable six-decade career, Gossett left an indelible mark on both stage and screen. His journey began with a Broadway debut as a teenager, leading to critical acclaim in productions such as "A Raisin in the Sun" and "Golden Boy". His impact on the entertainment industry was profound, and he continued to act well into his later years.

In 2023, Gossett's final role was in the musical adaptation of "The Color Purple", a reimagining of Alice Walker's Pulitzer Prize-winning novel. He portrayed the character of Ol' Mister Johnson, the father of Albert "Mister" Johnson, played by Colman Domingo. Domingo expressed his deep admiration for Gossett, referring to him as a true great and a legend. Fantasia Barrino, who played the lead character Celie, also paid tribute to Gossett, recognizing his role in paving the way for Black actors and actresses.

Louis Gossett Jr. has left an indelible legacy in the world of entertainment, and his influence will continue to inspire future generations. May he rest in peace.

Louis Gossett Jr. starred in several notable productions throughout his illustrious career. Here are some of them:

"An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982) - Gossett won an Academy Award for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in this film.

"Roots" (1977) - Gossett received critical acclaim and an Emmy Award for his portrayal in this groundbreaking TV miniseries that explored the legacy of slavery.

"A Raisin in the Sun" - Gossett appeared in productions of this iconic play, showcasing his talent on the stage.

"Golden Boy" - Gossett's performances in productions of this play also garnered recognition and praise.

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