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Louis Gossett Jr., 1st Black Man To Win Supporting Actor Oscar, Passes Away At 87

Louis Gossett Jr, an Emmy winner for his performance in the groundbreaking TV miniseries “Roots’ died in California Friday morning.

Louis Gossett Jr., the first Black man to win a supporting actor Oscar and an Emmy winner for his performance in the groundbreaking TV miniseries “Roots,” has passed away at the age of 87.

His family confirmed his passing without providing a cause of death. Gossett’s first cousin Neal L. Gossett said the actor died in Santa Monica, California on Friday morning.

Born in New York, the actor clinched the Academy Award in 1982 for portraying Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in “An Officer and a Gentleman.” He also secured an Emmy in 1978 for his performance in “Roots,” the groundbreaking TV mini-series tackling slavery.

Having made his Broadway debut as a teenager, Gossett later starred in productions like “A Raisin in the Sun” and “Golden Boy.” Over a career spanning six decades, he earned widespread acclaim.
Gossett remained active in acting throughout his life, with his final role being in the 2023 musical remake of “The Color Purple.”

In a post on Instagram, Colman Domingo described him as “a true great. A true legend”.

“What an honor to have been able to give him his flowers on his last day of his final film ‘The Color Purple’ where he played my father,” he wrote.

Fantasia Barrino, also wrote: “Louis Gossett Jr, what an awesome man you were and the stories you told us, I’ll never, ever forget.”

She added that he had “paved the way for black actors and actresses”.

Melissa Enoch

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