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Wed, 05.27.1936

Louis Gossett, Film/TV Actor born

Louis Gossett

*Louis Gossett was born on this date in 1936. He is a Black actor.

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City, to Hellen Rebecca Wray, a nurse, and Louis Gossett Sr., a Pulman porter. He is an alumnus of Mark Twain Intermediate School 239 and Abraham Lincoln High School. His stage debut came at 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. His high school teacher had encouraged him to audition for a Broadway part, resulting in his selection for a starring role in 1953 from among 200 other actors well before college.

After high school graduation in 1954, he attended New York University, declining an athletic scholarship. Shortly after, he successfully auditioned for the Broadway play Take a Giant Step.  Gossett would act on stage in A Raisin in the Sun and on its screen in its film adaptation. From thereon, Gossett added to his resume many roles in films and television, as well as releasing music. Since his beginnings, Gossett has appeared in a wide range of projects.

Film projects include The Landlord (1970), Skin Game (1971), Travels with My Aunt (1972), The Laughing Policeman (1974), The White Dawn (1974), The Deep (1977), Enemy Mine (1985), The Principal (1987), The Punisher (1989), Toy Soldiers (1991). As well as television appearances in Bonanza (1971), The Jeffersons (1975), American Playhouse (1990), Stargate SG-1 (2005), Boardwalk Empire (2013), The Book of Negroes (2015), etc.

He acted in video games and commercials and continued to work on stage. In 1977, Gossett gained wide recognition for his role in the miniseries Roots. For which he won "Outstanding lead actor for a single appearance in a drama or comedy series" at the Emmy Awards. In 1982, for his role in An Officer and a Gentleman, he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor and became the first black actor to succeed in this category. At the Emmy Awards, Gossett continued to receive recognition with acting nominations for The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots (1978), Palmerstown, U.S.A. (1981), Sadat (1983), A Gathering of Old Men (1987), Touched by an Angel (1997), and Watchmen (2019).

He won and was nominated at other ceremonies, including the Golden Globe Awards, Black Reel Awards, NAACP Image Awards, etc. Gossett is also well known for his role in the Iron Eagle film series (1986-1995). Gossett has been married three times, fathered one son, and adopted one. 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 was in 1987. They adopted a son, Sharron (born in 1977). Gossett and James-Reese divorced in 1992.

In 2010, Gossett announced that he had prostate cancer and expected to recover fully. In 2016, Gossett cohosted as a guest programmer on Turner Classic Movies' primetime lineup. In 2019, at the Emmy Awards, he was nominated for "Outstanding supporting actor in a limited series or movie." At the Black Reel Awards, he was nominated for "Outstanding Supporting Actor, TV Movie/Limited Series ."In December 2020, Gossett contracted COVID-19. In 2021, Gossett appeared in the film Not To Forget to raise awareness and funds for the fight against Alzheimer's. In 2022, Gossett was cast in a supporting role for the American horror film, Awaken the Reaper.

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