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Also Known As: Lou Gossett Died:
Born: May 27, 1936 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, producer, basketball player, nightclub singer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Having been an acclaimed performer on stage and decorated for his work on screen, actor Louis Gossett, Jr. was unable to sustain the kind of quality career worthy of someone who has won both an Emmy and Academy Award. After making a splash on Broadway while only 16 years old, Gossett made his name with acclaimed performances in "The Desk Set" (1955) and "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959), while making slower strides on television and in feature films. He finally became a star with his Emmy-winning performance in the groundbreaking miniseries, "Roots" (ABC, 1977), which opened fewer doors than one would have imagined. With his strong performance as a tough-as-nails drill sergeant in "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982), Gossett became the first African-American to win an Academy Awards since Sidney Poitier in 1964. But the offers for quality material failed to roll in, which plunged the actor into a depression made worse by drug and alcohol abuse. He managed to pull himself out of his rut with numerous made-for-television movies and a well-liked role as an Air Force colonel in "Iron Eagle" (1985). Though sometimes confined to rather forgettable straight-to-video thrillers, Gossett's long and varied career...

Having been an acclaimed performer on stage and decorated for his work on screen, actor Louis Gossett, Jr. was unable to sustain the kind of quality career worthy of someone who has won both an Emmy and Academy Award. After making a splash on Broadway while only 16 years old, Gossett made his name with acclaimed performances in "The Desk Set" (1955) and "A Raisin in the Sun" (1959), while making slower strides on television and in feature films. He finally became a star with his Emmy-winning performance in the groundbreaking miniseries, "Roots" (ABC, 1977), which opened fewer doors than one would have imagined. With his strong performance as a tough-as-nails drill sergeant in "An Officer and a Gentleman" (1982), Gossett became the first African-American to win an Academy Awards since Sidney Poitier in 1964. But the offers for quality material failed to roll in, which plunged the actor into a depression made worse by drug and alcohol abuse. He managed to pull himself out of his rut with numerous made-for-television movies and a well-liked role as an Air Force colonel in "Iron Eagle" (1985). Though sometimes confined to rather forgettable straight-to-video thrillers, Gossett's long and varied career allowed him to be regarded as one of the more respected performers of his generation.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Love Songs (1999) Director ("A Love Song For Champ")

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Fighting Man, A (2014)
2.
 Firstling, The (2012)
3.
 Smitty (2012)
4.
 Grace Card, The (2011)
5.
7.
8.
 Cover (2008)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Brooklyn, New York
1953:
Broadway debut, "Take a Giant Step"
1954:
TV debut on "Philco Television Playhouse"
1955:
Returned to Broadway supporting Shirley Booth in "The Desk Set"
1959:
Received an offer to play for the New York Knicks but turned it down to take a stage role in "A Raisin in the Sun"
1961:
Film debut, "A Raisin in the Sun"
:
Was a nightclub singer at the Bitter End, Folk City, Gaslight Club, Black Pussy Cat and Cafe Id in New York during the 1960s
1964:
Acted on Broadway in musical version of "Golden Boy", starring Sammy Davis Jr
1968:
Played Willie Nurse on Broadway in Sidney Poitier's directorial debut, "Carry Me Back to Morningside Heights"
1969:
Wrote protest song, "Handsome Johnny", performed by Richie Havens at Woodstock music festival
1970:
TV series regular on "The Young Rebels" (ABC), set during the American Revolutionary War era; played blacksmith Isak Poole
1972:
Provided comic relief in George Cukor's "Travels With My Aunt", playing Maggie Smith's fortune-telling companion
1975:
Acted alongside James Earl Jones and Cicely Tyson in "The River Niger", a feature film based on the 1972 Tony-winning play
1977:
Played Fiddler on the landmark ABC miniseries "Roots"; garnered Emmy Award
:
Starred as Dr MacArthur St Clair on the short-lived ABC medical series "The Lazarus Syndrome"
1981:
Portrayed legendary baseball pitcher Satchel Paige in ABC movie "Don't Look Back"
1982:
Won Academy Award as Best Supporting Actor for his performance as the tough drill sergeant in "An Officer and a Gentleman"
:
Co-starred as the alien Dehay (alias Walt Shepherd) on NBC sci-fi series, "The Powers of Matthew Star"
1983:
Earned an Emmy nomination for his portrayal of Anwar Sadat in the synicated miniseries "Sadat"
1985:
Offered a feature sci-fi turn as the lizard-like Jeriba Shiban in "Enemy Mine"
1986:
Created the role of Charles 'Chappy' Sinclair in "Iron Eagle"; reprised role in two feature sequels and one TV-movie
1987:
Picked up another Emmy nomination for his performance in "A Gathering of Old Men" (CBS)
1988:
Reprised his Emmy-winning role as Fiddler in the ABC holiday TV-movie, "Roots: The Gift"
1989:
Starred as an anthropologist in the rotating ABC adventure series "Gideon Oliver"
1992:
Played 'Honey' Roy Palmer in "Diggstown", with Bruce Dern and James Woods; then-wife Cyndi played on-screen wife
1994:
First producing credit (as co-executive producer), the NBC movie "Ray Alexander: A Taste for Justice"; also starred
1996:
Executive produced and starred in two Showtime movies, "Inside", directed by Arthur Penn, and "Run For the Dream: The Gail Devers Story", in which he played track coach Bob Kersee
1997:
Executive produced and starred in the TV-movies "To Dance With Olivia" (CBS) and "In His Father's Shoes" (Showtime); latter won a Daytime Emmy as Outstanding Children's Special
1997:
Co-produced and starred in feature film "Managua"
1998:
Narrated the AMC special "Small Steps, Big Strides: The Black Experience in Hollywood"
1998:
Was executive producer and star of the Showtime original thriller "The Inspectors"; reprised role and producer duties in the 2000 sequel "The Inspectors 2: A Shred of Evidence"
1998:
Featured in "Bram Stoker's Legend of the Mummy", aired on HBO
1999:
Contributed to the Showtime anthology drama "Love Songs", directing the "A Love Song For Champ" segment and acting in the other two segments of the dramatic trilogy
1999:
Played Vernon Jordan in the Showtime original film "Strange Justice"
2000:
Played the tough owner of a telemarketing firm with a cameo in the Canadian independent thriller "The Highwayman"
2000:
Executive produced and starred in the CBS TV-movie "The Color of Love: Jacey's Story"
2001:
Starred in and was executive producer of the sequel "For Love of Olivia"
2002:
Returned to Broadway playing Billy Flynn in the long-running revival of "Chicago"; left production after about a week reportedly due to ill health
2005:
Cast in the HBO original movie "Lackawanna Blues" based on Ruben Santiago-Hudson autobiographical one man show
2005:
Had a recurring role in "Stargate SG-1"
2007:
Starred in Tyler Perry's "Daddy's Little Girls"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Abraham Lincoln High School: Brooklyn , New York - 1954
New York University: New York , New York - 1959

Notes

Some sources list 1937 as the year of Mr. Gossett's birth.

Among Gossett's numerous charities are The Muscular Dystrophy Association, The United Negro College Fund, The United Nations "World Summit For Children", the Children's Candlelight Vigil, PATH (People Assisting the Homeless), Boy's Hope, The End Hunger Network, National Rainbow Coalition, and Coalition to Stop the Violence. He is a recipient of the Wings of Hope Anti-Drug Award, the Martin Luther King Jr Alumni Award, an Honorary Big Brother Award, and Indiana State Senator, Carolina Mosby's Above and Beyond Award.

Gossett on his role as a black drill sergeant who is the mentor of Jason Gedrick's teenage hero in "Iron Eagle": "I like the part of Chappy because the character's a father figure for a black man -- a hero for a change. The movies have such an impact on children these days that a positive role like this takes racism and throws it away. It's my pleasant duty to jump into any role like that." --quoted in the "Iron Eagle" press kit, 1987.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Hattie Glascoe. Journalist. Marriage annulled.
wife:
Christina Mangosing. Actor. Divorced.
wife:
Cyndi James. Actor. Married on December 25, 1987 in Israel; Gossett filed for divorce on January 7, 1992.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Louis Gossett. Porter. Started as a porter for the local gas company, eventually becoming head of the billing department.
mother:
Helen Gossett. Maid, nurse. Son's early success enabled her to quit job as a domestic and return to finish her high school education.
son:
Satie Gossett. Born c. 1974; mother, Christina Mangosing; Gossett granted custody after court battle.
son:
Sharron Anthony Gossett. Born in 1977; Gossett became his legal guardian after seeing Sharron on ABC news segment on poverty among children in 1985.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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