Vale – Louis Gossett Jr

Emmy and Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr, best known for his roles in Roots and An Officer And A Gentleman, has passed away aged 87.

New York City native Louis Gossett Jr was an actor from an early age, taking to the stage aged only 17, before stepping onto Broadway through the late 50’s and into the 60’s, carving out a successful career on the boards before turning to television and a starring role in the iconic television miniseries Roots, in 1977. He would win an Emmy for his role, and would go on to snag an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor thanks to the role of Gunnery Sergeant Foley in An Officer And A Gentleman, alongside Richard Gere and Debra Winger, in 1982.

I came to know of Gossett Jr mainly through his supporting roles, typically as a gruff, often paternally militaristic type – Iron Eagle, Jaws 3D and Toy Soldiers – but it was his buried-under-a-mountain-of-makeup role in Enemy Mine that cemented him as an icon, playing the asexual Jerry opposite Dennis Quaid in the 1985 Star Wars clone directed by Wolfgang Peterson. Gossett Jr would pop up in a litany of supporting roles in the decades since, including Dolph Lundgren’s version of The Punisher, Jeffrey Obrow’s Bram Stoker’s The Legend of the Mummy, 2008’s baseball drama The Perfect Game, The Dependables, and most recently the musical remake of The Color Purple. At the time of his passing, Louis Gossett Jr had at least four posthumous performances in post-production.

Mr Gossett Jr’s cause of death was not announced, but the actor passed away on March 29th only a few months shy of his 88th birthday. He was a legend in the acting community and his presence on-screen will be greatly missed.

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