|A.K.A.||Louis Gossett, Jr., Lou Gossett, Jr., Lou Gossett|
|Is||Actor Television actor Film actor Television director Film producer Television producer Voice actor Writer Stage actor Athlete Basketball player|
|From||United States of America|
|Type||Film, TV, Stage & Radio Literature Sports|
|Birth||27 May 1936, Brooklyn, USA|
Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. (born May 27, 1936) is an American actor. He is best known for his Academy Award winning role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman, and his role as Fiddler in the 1977 ABC television miniseries Roots. Gossett has also starred in numerous other film productions including A Raisin in the Sun, The Landlord, Skin Game, Travels with My Aunt, The Laughing Policeman, The Deep, Jaws 3-D, Wolfgang Petersen's Enemy Mine, the Iron Eagle series, Toy Soldiers and The Punisher, in an acting career that spans over five decades. He also stars in the film The Cuban, released in 2019 and directed by Sergio Navarretta.
Early life and education
Gossett was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, on May 27, 1936, to Hellen Rebecca (née Wray), a nurse, and Louis Gossett Sr., a porter. He is an alumnus of Mark Twain Intermediate School 239 and Abraham Lincoln High School. His stage debut came at the age of 17, in a school production of You Can't Take It with You when a sports injury resulted in the decision to take an acting class. Polio had already delayed his graduation.
After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1954, he attended New York University, declining an athletic scholarship. Standing 6'1" (1.86 m), he was offered the opportunity to play varsity basketball during his college years at NYU, which he declined to concentrate on theater. His high school teacher had encouraged him to audition for a Broadway part, which resulted in his selection for a starring role on Broadway in 1953 from among 200 other actors well before he entered NYU.
Gossett replaced Bill Gunn as Spencer Scott in Broadway's Take a Giant Step, which was selected by The New York Times drama critics as one of the 10 best shows of the year. He was 17, and still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, with no formal drama training.
Gossett's Broadway theatre credits include A Raisin in the Sun (1959). Gossett stepped into the world of cinema in the Sidney Poitier vehicle A Raisin in the Sun in 1961.
Also in 1961, Gossett appeared in the original cast of Jean Genet's The Blacks, the longest running off-Broadway play of the decade, running for 1,408 performances. The original cast also featured James Earl Jones, Roscoe Lee Browne, Cicely Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou and Charles Gordone.
In 1965, Gossett appeared in the musical play Zulu and the Zayda on Broadway as Paulus with music and lyrics by Harold Rome.
Gossett wrote the antiwar folk song "Handsome Johnny" with Richie Havens which Havens recorded in 1966.
His Emmy Award-winning role of Fiddler in the 1977 television miniseries Roots first brought Gossett to the audience's attention.
In 1983, he was cast in the title role in Sadat, a miniseries which chronicled the life and assassination of Anwar Sadat. While filming An Officer and a Gentleman, Gossett was also starring in the 1982–1983 science fiction series, The Powers of Matthew Star. His role as drill instructor Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first black male to win an Oscar in a supporting role, the second black male to win for acting, and the third black actor to win overall.
In 1986, Gossett starred in another role as a military man (Colonel Chappy Sinclair) in the film Iron Eagle. It was followed by three sequels.
In 1989, Gossett co-starred in the Marvel Comics adaptation The Punisher, with Dolph Lundgren in the title role. The film was directed by Mark Goldblatt, with a screenplay by Boaz Yakin. The Punisher was filmed in Sydney, Australia and also featured Jeroen Krabbé, Kim Miyori, and Barry Otto.
Gossett is the voice of the Vortigaunts in the video game Half-Life 2 and is the Free Jaffa Leader Gerak in Season 9 of the sci-fi television series Stargate SG-1. He provides the voice of Lucius Fox in The Batman animated series. He recorded several commercials for a Nashville-based diabetic company, AmMed Direct, LLC. In 1997, Gossett presented When Animals Attack! 4, a one-hour special on Fox.
He played the role of fictional U.S. President Gerald Fitzhugh in the 2005 film Left Behind: World at War. In 2008 he filmed the "Keep It Real" series of commercials for the Namibian lager Windhoek.
In 2009, Gossett also lent his voice talents in the Thomas Nelson audio Bible production known as The Word of Promise. In this dramatized audio, Gossett played the character of John the Apostle. The project also featured a large ensemble of well known Hollywood actors including Jim Caviezel, John Rhys-Davies, Jon Voight, Gary Sinise, Jason Alexander, Christopher McDonald, Marisa Tomei and John Schneider.
In 2013, Gossett starred in the controversial drama Boiling Pot, which is based on true events of racism that occurred on college campuses across the US during the 2008 Presidential election. The film, written and directed by the Ashmawey brothers under AshmaweyFilms, also stars Danielle Fishel, Keith David, M. Emmet Walsh, and John Heard. Gossett plays a detective attempting to decipher a murder case that was fueled by racism, all while putting aside his own prejudices. Boiling Pot was released in 2014. Gossett returned to television in the CBS All Access series, The Good Fight, guest starring as founding partner Carl Reddick of Diane Lockhart's new firm. He narrated an audiobook based on Twelve Years a Slave.
Gossett has been married three times and fathered one son and adopted one son. His first marriage was to Hattie Glascoe; it was annulled. His second, to Christina Mangosing, took place on August 21, 1973. Their son Satie was born in 1974. Gossett and Mangosing divorced in 1975. His third marriage, to Star Search champion Cyndi James-Reese, took place on December 25, 1987. They adopted a son, Sharron (born 1977). Gossett and James-Reese divorced in 1992.
Louis is the first cousin of actor Robert Gossett who starred on TNT's The Closer.
According to DNA analysis, he is descended, chiefly, from people of Liberia and Sierra Leone.
On February 9, 2010, Gossett announced that he had prostate cancer. He added the disease was caught in its early stages, and he expected to make a full recovery.
On July 18, 2016, Gossett cohosted as a guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies' primetime lineup. Allowed to choose four movies to air, he selected Blackboard Jungle, Lifeboat, Touch of Evil and The Night of the Hunter.