Actor Louis Gossett Jr. Dies at Age 87


Lex Valluzzi, Staff Writer

American actor Louis Gossett Jr. passed away on March 29th, 2024, in Santa Monica,  California. The family has not released the cause of death and has asked the public to please  respect the family’s privacy at this time.  

Gossett was born in Brooklyn, New York on May 29th, 1936, to Hellen Wray and Louis  Gossett Sr. Gossett grew up as an athlete in middle and high school, however, a sports-related  injury derailed him from this and led him to take an acting class in school.  

He made his acting debut at age seventeen in a high school production. Gossett had roles in plays such as Take a Giant Step, A Raisin in the Sun, and Tambourines to Glory. For these, he won the Donaldson Award for best newcomer. Gossett then went on to have roles in bigger projects such as An Officer and a Gentleman, A Gathering of Old Men, and Roots. For these roles, he received many nominations for the Emmy Awards and the Golden Globe Awards. Gossett also became the first black man to win the Acadamy Award in the category “Best Supporting Actor.” He also became the third black man ever to take home an Oscar.  

Gossett’s acting resume builds greatly over the decades, with credits in movies, Broadway plays,  and television shows. Most recently he took on the role of the main antagonist “Albert Johnson”  in the musical adaptation of The Color Purple in 2023. He was also an active member of the folk  music scene in New York City. He released his first single in 1964 and co-wrote some 

songs throughout the 1960s.  

In Gossett’s early life, he was an alumnus of New York University, where he attended on a  drama scholarship. He was also offered an opportunity to play basketball for the New York  Knicks and began training with the team before he ultimately decided to leave to accept a role in Lorraine Hansbury’s play A Raisin in the Sun. In 2010 Gossett released a memoir  

about his life and acting career, he stated that he “thought of his early career as a reverse  Cinderella story, with success finding him from an early age and propelling him forward, toward  his Academy Award.” He also revealed a prostate cancer diagnosis that was caught in its early  stages.  

Acting aside, Gossett was also the founder of the “Eracism Foundation” in 2006. A  nonprofit organization that worked towards creating a society without systemic racism and advocated for increased diversity in the film industry in Hollywood.  

Gossett was an influential member of Hollywood’s New York film industry for many  years. He advocated for the justice of others and was overall a man of many talents. May he rest  in peace. 

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