‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ actor Louis Gossett Jr. dies at 87

LOUIS Gossett Jr., 1936-2024. | Amy sussman/ap

Louis Gossett Jr., who won the 1983 Oscars for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the romantic drama film An Officer and a Gentleman, has died. He was 87.

In a statement posted by The Hollywood Reporter, Gossett’s family said, “It is with our heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved father passed away this morning. We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

His family did not disclose the cause of death, but in 2010, the actor revealed that he was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He also encouraged fellow African-American men to get tested for the disease.

Gossett was the first black man to win an Oscar in the Best Supporting Actor category for giving an outstanding performance in the role of a drill instructor in the 1982 movie An Officer and a Gentleman. He replicated his victory at the Golden Globe Awards.

In 1992, Gossett won a second Golden Globe Best Supporting Actor award, this time for the category Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television, for this work on The Josephine Baker Story.

The last acting honors that Gossett received was in 2022, bagging the Best Supporting Actor in a Supporting Role award at the Moscow Indie Film Festival for the movie Not to Forget.

Gossett was a tall actor, and his athletic physique helped him land some sports-related roles, like that of a boxer in the 1992 comedy movie Diggstown.

After graduating from New York University in 1959, Gossett also tried out for the New York Knicks, but he eventually ventured into acting.

Gossett was an activist. In 2006, he founded the Eracism Foundation, a non-governmental organization that aimed to help eradicate racism.

After news of his passing came out, many Hollywood stars posted their tributes online.

Viola Davis, a co-star in the series How to Get Away with Murder, wrote that Gossett was an “inspiration” and a “great example of excellence.”

She added, “You were a Lion — a King. Your work will forever be seared in my brain and heart. As a young actor, you were our example of excellence. That’s a legacy. Well done sir. What a life!!!! You will continue to inspire. Rest. May flights of angels sing thee to thy rest.”