Confirmation of his passing was provided by his cousin, Neal L. Gossett, to CBS News. The demise occurred on Thursday night in Santa Monica, California, as reported by The Associated Press, though no specific cause of death was disclosed.In a statement issued on Friday, Gossett’s family expressed their profound sorrow, confirming his passing and requesting privacy during this trying period.Reflecting on his journey, Gossett often likened his ascent in the entertainment industry to a reverse Cinderella story, where success found him unexpectedly early in life and propelled him towards greater heights, culminating in his Academy Award triumph for his role in “An Officer and a Gentleman.”His acting career commenced with humble beginnings, earning his inaugural acting credit during a high school production in Brooklyn while sidelined from the basketball team due to an injury. Despite his lack of apprehension at the time, Gossett later acknowledged the potential fear he should have felt, reflecting on his journey onto the stage.Reflecting on his experience, Gossett expressed gratitude for the opportunity to collaborate with icons like Poitier, Sands, and Dee, emphasizing the invaluable lessons they imparted. Their mentorship not only illuminated the path between what was commendable and what was not but also instilled in him a profound passion for the craft, which he described as coursing through his veins.

Subsequently, Gossett ascended to stardom on Broadway, notably assuming the role of Billy Daniels in “Golden Boy” alongside Sammy Davis Jr. in 1964.

His initial foray into Hollywood in 1961, for the film adaptation of “A Raisin in the Sun,” left him with bitter recollections. He recounted enduring the indignity of lodging in a cockroach-infested motel, one of the few accommodations accessible to Black individuals at the time.

In 1968, Gossett returned to Hollywood to undertake a significant role in “Companions in Nightmare,” NBC’s inaugural made-for-TV movie, starring alongside Melvyn Douglas, Anne Baxter, and Patrick O’Neal. This time, the experience was markedly different, as he was accommodated at the prestigious Beverly Hills Hotel and provided with a rented convertible by Universal Studios.

However, an encounter with law enforcement during his drive back to the hotel cast a shadow over his newfound Hollywood experience. Pulled over by a Los Angeles County sheriff’s officer, Gossett was subjected to unwarranted scrutiny, with multiple officers stopping him and inspecting his vehicle, despite no legitimate cause. Recalling the incident, Gossett spoke of the lasting impact it had on him, underscoring the need for vigilance in navigating a society where such injustices persisted.

His poignant reflection on the incident underscored the ongoing relevance of movements like “Black Lives Matter,” resonating with the enduring struggle for equality and justice.

All lives matter, becuse not only did they hurt me, but they hurt themselves,” Gossett asserted, reflecting on the broader implications of racial injustice.

Following dinner at the hotel, he took a stroll only to be halted by a police officer citing a local curfew law. Despite no evidence of wrongdoing, Gossett found himself detained for three hours, chained to a tree and handcuffed. Despite this encounter with racism, Gossett remained resolute, refusing to allow it to overshadow his determination.

In the late 1990s, Gossett encountered another instance of racial profiling when he was pulled over while driving his vintage Rolls Royce. Although initially mistaken for someone else, recognition spared him from further harassment.

Determined to combat racism, Gossett established the Eracism Foundation with the vision of fostering a world free from discrimination.

Gossett’s career boasted numerous guest appearances on popular TV shows like “Bonanza,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Mod Squad,” “McCloud,” and a memorable collaboration with Richard Pryor on “The Partridge Family.”

In August 1969, Gossett narrowly avoided a tragic fate, having departed from a gathering at Sharon Tate’s house just before the infamous Manson Family murders occurred.

Born Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. on May 27, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, he rose to prominence as Fiddler in the landmark miniseries “Roots” in 1977, a role that illuminated the horrors of slavery.

His portrayal as the tough Marine drill instructor in “An Officer and a Gentleman” earned him an Oscar and a Golden Globe in 1983, marking a pivotal moment in his career.

Despite personal struggles with addiction, illness, and adversity, Gossett remained committed to his craft, viewing his lengthy career as a blessing and an ongoing opportunity to serve a greater purpose.

Gossett’s legacy extends beyond the screen, encompassing impactful roles in TV movies like “The Story of Satchel Paige,” “Backstairs at the White House,” and “The Josephine Baker Story.”

Survived by his sons Satie and Sharron, and with a familial connection to actor Robert Gossett, Louis Gossett Jr. leaves behind a rich legacy of resilience, talent, and advocacy


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