Lous Gosset Jr.

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Louis Gossett Jr. has reportedly died at the age of 87. The late actor was famous for his role in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman, for which he won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first Black man to take home an Oscar in the category.

The Associated Press reported the news on Friday, March 29. Gossett’s cause of death has not been revealed.

In addition to Gossett’s Oscar-winning role, he was also known for his performance in 1977’s miniseries Roots, having won an Emmy Award.

Louis Gosset Jr. at the 45th NAACP Image Awards
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The Brooklyn native got his start in show biz in the 1950s after auditioning for a Broadway play. After earning more acting credits, Gossett went on to play multiple film roles. In 1961, he appeared alongside the prominent Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun. Throughout the early years of Gossett’s career, Hollywood perpetuated racial stereotyping in countless films and television shows, which he opened up about in several interviews.

During a conversation with The Times in 2008, Gossett opened up about his experience in Hollywood as a Black actor.

“I had to act as if I was second class. I had to behave myself,” he told the publication that year, according to The Los Angeles Times. “The only time I was really free was when the director said ‘action’ in front of a camera or on the stage and that’s when I flew.”

Eight years later, Gossett pointed out that the film industry needed to explore more African American stories.

“Everybody knows about the Roman and the Greeks and the Vikings and the British. But there’s another culture that’s very rich: the African culture,” Gossett explained to The Washington Post in 2016. “We have to tell those stories. Our inclusion in history is important to see, especially for African American children. They have to know whose shoulders they stand on.”

Gossett was married three times. His first wife was Hattie Glascoe, whom he was married to from 1967 to 1968 when they annulled their marriage. In 1973, he tied the knot with Christina Mangosing, and they divorced in 1975. In 1987, the late actor married third wife Cyndi James-Reese, and they divorced in 1992.

He is survived by his two children: son Satie and son Sharron.

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