Louis Gossett Jr. Dies: 1st Black Man To Win Oscar For Supporting Actor Was 87 [CONDOLENCES]

Louis Gossett Jr. Dies: 1st Black Man To Win Oscar For Supporting Actor Was 87 [CONDOLENCES]

Legendary actor Louis Gossett, Jr. has died, his nephew shared. He was 87.

His cause of death has not been publicly announced.

Throughout his decades-long career, Louis Gossett, Jr. made history as the first Black man to win an Oscar Award for Best Supporting Actor due to his stellar performance in An Officer and a Gentleman. 

However, his love for acting stems beyond that, as he got his start acting in Brooklyn with his high school’s take on You Can’t Take It with You. At the time, he was taking a break from playing for the school’s basketball team due to an injury, and surprisingly fell in love with the art of acting.

He wrote in his memoir An Actor and a Gentleman, released in 2010,

“I was hooked — and so was my audience.”

At the encouragement of his teacher, he went to Manhattan to audition for a Broadway play “Take a Giant Step” and landed a role in the coveted theatre genre at just 16. He later went to New York University on a drama and basketball scholarship and ultimately took the acting route.

His dynamic résumé includes Broadway’s A Raisin in the Sun and Golden Boy. In 1961, he starred in the movie adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun. He was forced to stay in a roach-infested motel as many hotels didn’t allow Black people to stay as guests at the time.w

In 1983, he garnered an Academy Award nod for Best Supporting Actor in an An Officer and a Gentleman, becoming the third Black man to receive the prestigious nomination. He later became the first Black man to win the award.

In 2018, he opened up about the honor and said,

“Magic is magic. But I didn’t work in movies for another year. People weren’t ready for me to win. Television was ready, ’cause I worked every week in television. But movies took a minute.”

Most recently Louis Gossett Jr. appeared in the musical remake of The Color Purple last year.

Louis Gossett Jr. was also open about his personal life through the years, including his struggle with drug and alcohol addiction following his Oscar win. He announced in 2010 that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 10 years later, he was in the hospital fighting COVID-19.

He first married Hattie Glascoe before their union was annulled, and wed his second wife Christina Mangosing. The two divorced in 1975. He and his third wife, Cyndi James-Reese, split in 1992.

He is survived by his sons Satie and Sharron, and his first cousin, fellow actor Robert Gossett. 

Thoughts and prayers with Louis Gossett Jr.’s family during this tough time.


Authored by: Char