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Death of Louis Gossett Jr., first black American actor to win an Oscar for a supporting role

American actor Louis Gossett Jr.

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Death of Louis Gossett Jr., first black American actor to win an Oscar for a supporting role

American actor Louis Gossett Jr., the first black actor to win the Oscar for best supporting actor, has died at the age of 87, American media reported on Friday March 29. He died Thursday evening in Los Angeles of unspecified causes, according to his family cited by media including CBS. When contacted, its representatives did not respond immediately.

Louis Gossett Jr. won the Oscar in 1983 for his portrayal of a drill sergeant in the film An Officer and a Gentleman. His composition also won him a Golden Globe. This prolific actor starred in more than 60 films, becoming the third black actor, after Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier, to win an Oscar.

Louis Gossett Jr. opposite Richard Gere in Officer and Gentleman

Louis Gossett also starred in multiple television series including the cult series Roots, which attracted more than 100 million viewers during its "finale" in January 1977. This native of New York, who announced in 2010 that he was suffering from a prostate cancer, cultivated a tough guy image in action films, including Iron Eagle (1986).

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In his memoir, Actor and Gentleman, he recounts his difficult beginnings as a black actor, including his first trip to Los Angeles in the 1960s, during which he was arrested by police four times during a single car ride. Divorced from his third wife in 1992, Louis Gossett lived in Malibu, California. He is the father of two sons.

He was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 27, 1936, and made his stage debut in Take a Giant Step, which was selected as one of the ten best Broadway shows of 1953 by the New York Times. He also starred in the films The Deep, Blue Chips, Daddy's Little Girls, Firewalker and Jaws 3.

Louis Gossett has also been nominated six times for an Emmy, the most prestigious award in television, notably for his interpretation of Anwar Sadat in the series Sadat, in 1983. In 2015, he declared to Variety magazine that his role in the TV movie, that of the Egyptian leader who made peace with Israel, was his favorite. “It was a challenge to play someone with such a history. His spirit was very close to that of Mandela. He went from a hawk to a dove,” he said.

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