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Louis Gossett, Jr.

At the MovieGuide Faith and Values Awards Gala, 2008
Born Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.
May 27, 1936 (1936-05-27) (age 73)
Brooklyn, New York, USA
Occupation Actor
Years active 1958–present
Spouse(s) Hattie Glascoe
Christina Mangosing
Cyndi James Reese

Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. (born May 27, 1936) is an American actor best known for his role in An Officer and a Gentleman (for which he won Best Supporting Actor as the tough-as-nails Sergeant Emil Foley). He was the first African-American male to win an Oscar in a supporting role; the second black male to win for acting; and, the third African-American actor to win overall. Gossett subsequently appeared in many feature films such as The Principal, The Deep, Jaws 3-D, The Guardian, in a film career that spans over three decades.


Early life

Gossett, Jr. was born in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York to Hellen Rebecca (née Wray), a nurse, and Louis Gossett, Sr., a porter.[1] His stage debut came at the age of 17, in a school production of You Can't Take It with You when a sports injury resulted in the decision to take an acting class. Polio had already delayed his graduation.

After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1954, he attended New York University, declining an athletic scholarship.[2] Standing 6'4" (1.93 m), he was offered the opportunity to play varsity basketball during his college years at NYU, which he declined to concentrate on theater. His high school teacher had encouraged him to audition for a Broadway part, which resulted in his selection for a starring role on Broadway in 1953 from among 200 other actors well before he entered NYU.


Gossett stepped into the world of cinema in the Sidney Poitier vehicle A Raisin in the Sun in 1961. However, in 1953 he made Broadway history appearing as a star in "Take a Giant Step," which was selected by the New York Times drama critics as one of the 10 best shows of the year. He was 19, and still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, with no formal drama training. He had been delayed in graduating by a bout with polio. He entered NYU in 1954, declining a basketball scholarship to participate in their theater arts program.

Since his film debut, Gossett has starred in numerous film productions such as The Deep, An Officer and a Gentleman, Jaws 3-D (as SeaWorld manager Calvin Bouchard), Enemy Mine, the Iron Eagle series, Toy Soldiers and The Punisher. His role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman (opposite Richard Gere) showcased his talent and won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. In 1986, he starred in another role as a military man in the film Iron Eagle. It was followed by three sequels.

Gossett's Broadway theatre credits include A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Golden Boy (1964), and Chicago (2002).

He also has performed in other media, including television productions. His Emmy Award-winning role of Fiddler in the 1977 groundbreaking television miniseries Roots first brought Gossett to the audience's attention. In 1983, he was cast in the title role in Sadat, a miniseries which chronicled the life and assassination of Anwar Sadat. While filming An Officer and a Gentleman, Gossett was also starring in the 1982–1983 science fiction series, The Powers of Matthew Star. He plays the role of fictional US President Gerald Fitzhugh in the movie Left Behind: World at War.

Gossett is the voice of the Vortigaunts in the video game Half-Life 2 (but he did not reprise the role in Half-Life 2: Episode Two) and is the Free Jaffa Leader Gerak in Season 9 of the sci-fi television series Stargate SG-1. He provides the voice of Lucius Fox in The Batman animated series. He recorded several commercials for a Nashville-based diabetic company, AmMed Direct, LLC. In 2008 he filmed the "Keep It Real" series of commercials for the Namibian lager Windhoek.[3]

In 1997, Gossett presented When Animals Attack! 4, a one hour special on Fox. Gossett also co-wrote the antiwar folk song "Handsome Johnny" with Richie Havens.

Gossett portrayed John in the Word of Promise audio bible.


In 2007, Gossett, Jr., was the honored guest and keynote speaker for the alumni hall of fame gala benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, St. Petersburg, Florida. Gossett has appeared every year supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He is an alumnus himself and has continued to work for and with the organization.

Personal life

Gossett has been married three times. His first marriage was to Hattie Glascoe; it was annulled. His second, to Christina Mangosing, took place on August 21, 1973. Their son Satie was born in 1974. Gossett and Mangosing divorced in 1975. His third marriage, to Cyndi James-Reese, took place on December 25, 1987. They adopted a son, Sharron (born 1977). Gossett and James-Reese divorced in 1992.[4]

On February 9, 2010, Gossett announced that he is suffering from prostate cancer. He added the disease was caught in its early stages, and expects to make a full recovery. [5]



Year Film Role Notes
1961 A Raisin in the Sun George Murchison
1969 The Bushbaby Tembo
1970 The Landlord Copee
Leo the Last Roscoe
1971 Skin Game Jason O'Rourke
1972 Travels with My Aunt Zachary/'Wordsworth'
1973 The Laughing Policeman Insp. James Larrimore SFPD
The Fuzz Brothers Francis Fuzz
1974 The White Dawn Portagee
1976 J. D.'s Revenge Rev. Elija Bliss
The River Niger Dr. Dudley Stanton
1977 The Choirboys Calvin Motts
The Deep Henri Cloche
1980 It Rained All Night the Day I Left Leo Garcia
1982 An Officer and a Gentleman Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Golden Globe Award
NAACP Image Award
1983 Jaws 3-D Calvin Bouchard Razzie Award (nominated)
1984 Finders Keepers Century
1985 Enemy Mine Jeriba 'Jerry' Shigan Saturn Award (nominated)
1986 Firewalker Leo Porter
Iron Eagle Chappy Sinclair
1987 The Principal Jake Phillips
A Gathering of Old Men
1988 Iron Eagle II Chappy Sinclair
1989 The Punisher Jake Berkowitz
1991 Toy Soldiers Dean Parker
Cover Up Lou Jackson
1992 Diggstown 'Honey' Roy Palmer
Aces: Iron Eagle III Chappy Sinclair
1993 Flashfire Ben Durand
Monolith Capt. MacCandless
1994 Curse of the Starving Class Ellis
A Good Man in Africa Prof. Sam Adekunle
Blue Chips Father Dawkins
1995 Iron Eagle IV Chappy Sinclair
1996 Managua Paul
1997 Legend of the Mummy Corbeck
The Wall That Heals Narrator
1999 Y2K Morgan
2000 The Highwayman Phil Bishop
2002 Deceived Col. David Garrett Direct-to-Video Release
2005 Left Behind: World at War President Gerald Fitzhugh
Window Ralph Stanley
2006 Club Soda Doc
All In Caps
2007 Cover Det. Hicks
Daddy's Little Girls Willie
2008 Delgo Zahn voice only
The Perfect Game Cool Papa Bell awaiting release
The B.A.M.N. Squad TBA awaiting release
2009 The Least Among You Samuel Benton awaiting release
Shannon's Rainbow Max post-production
Dog Jack Grown up Jed post-production
2010 Why Did I Get Married Too? Porter in production
Smitty Mr. Smith post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2009 ER Leo Malcolm Episode: The Family Man
2007 The Batman Lucius Fox Voice Role
2006 Family Guy Sergeant Angryman Voice Role
Episode: Saving Private Brian
2005-2006 Stargate SG-1 Gerak
2005 Lackawanna Blues Ol'lem Taylor HBO TV-Movie
Solar Attack President Ryan Gordon Direct-to-DVD Release
2004 Half & Half Ray Willis Episode: The Big Lover, My Brother Episode
Episode: The Big Thanks for Nothing Episode
2003 Momentum Raymond Addison SCI FI TV-Movie
Jasper, Texas R.C. Horn Image Award (nominated)
Showtime TV-Movie
The Dead Zone Pastor David Lewis Episode: Zion
2002 Resurrection Blvd. Ezekiel 'Zeke' Grant Episode: En Un Momento
Episode: Esperando Lagrimas
What About Your Friends: Weekend Getaway Dr. Barnes UPN TV-Movie
Opening Ceremony Salt Lake Paralympic Winter Games Narrator
2001 For Love of Olivia Daniel Stewart CBS TV-Movie
2000 The Color of Love: Jacey's Story Lou Hastings Satellite Award (nominated)
CBS TV-Movie
The Inspectors 2: A Shred of Evidence Inspector Frank Hughes Showtime TV-Movie
Dr. Lucille David Mulera TV-Movie
1999 Strange Justice Vernon Jordan Showtime TV-Movie
Love Songs Reuben Segment: A Love Song for Dad
Showtime TV-Movie
Black Reel Award (won-1) (nominated-1)
1998 The Inspectors Inspector Frank Hughes Showtime TV-Movie
1997 Ellen Sgt. Timko Episode: G.I. Ellen
Early Edition Jim Matthews Episode: The Medal
In His Father's Shoes Frank Crosby/Richard CableACE Award (nominated)
Daytime Emmy Award (won-1) (nominated-1)
Showtime TV-Movie
To Dance with Olivia Daniel Stewart CBS TV-Movie
Touched by an Angel Anderson Walker Episode: Amazing Grace (1)
Episode: Amazing Grace (2)
Emmy Award (nominated)
Image Award (won)
1996 Inside Questioner TV-Movie
Run for the Dream: The Gail Devers Story Bob Kersee TV-Movie
Captive Heart: The James Mink Story James Mink Image Award (nominated)
1995 Ray Alexander: A Menu for Murder Ray Alexander
Zooman Rueben Tate
A Father for Charlie Walter Osgood
1994 Ray Alexander: A Taste for Justice Ray Alexander NBC TV-Movie
Picket Fences Rick Jennings Episode: Terms of Estrangement
1993 Return to Lonesome Dove Isom Pickett Miniseries
Father & Son: Dangerous Relations NBC TV-Movie
Story of a People Host Miniseries
1991 Keeper of the City Det. James Dela TV-Movie
Carolina Skeletons James Bragg NBC TV-Movie
The Josephine Baker Story Sidney Williams Golden Globe Award (won)
HBO TV-Movie
1990 Sudie and Simpson Simpson TV-Movie
Captain Planet and the Planeteers Commander Clash Voice Role
El Diablo Van Leek HBO TV-Movie
1989 Gideon Oliver Gideon Oliver
1988 Roots: The Gift Fiddler ABC TV-Movie
Goodbye, Miss 4th of July Big John Creed Disney Channel TV-Movie
Sam Found Out: A Triple Play ABC TV-Movie
1987 The Father Clements Story Father Clements NBC TV-Movie
A Gathering of Old Men Mathu Emmy Award (nominated)
CBS TV-Movie
1984 The Guardian John Mack CableACE Award (nominated)
HBO TV-Movie
1982-1983 The Powers of Matthew Star Walter 'Walt' Shepherd/D'Hai
1983 Sadat Anwar al-Sadat Emmy Award (nominated)
Golden Globe Award (nominated)
1982 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: Louis Gossett Jr/George Thorogood & The Destroyers
Benny's Place Benny Moore ABC TV-Movie
American Playhouse Episode: Zora is My Name!
1981 Don't Look Back: The Story of Leroy 'Satchel' Paige Leroy 'Satchel' Paige ABC TV-Movie
1980 Palmerstown, USA Emmy Award (nominated)
1979 The Lazarus Syndrome Dr. MacArthur St. Clair
Lawman Without a Gun Tom Hayward NBC TV-Movie
Backstairs at the White House Levi Mercer Emmy Award (nominated)
NBC Miniseries
1978 The Critical List Lem Harper NBC TV-Movie
To Kill a Cop Everett Walker Uncredited Role
NBC TV-Movie
The Sentry Collection Presents Ben Vereen: His Roots Emmy Award (nominated)
The Lazarus Syndrome Dr. MacArthur St. Clair ABC TV-Movie
1976-1977 The Rockford Files Marcus 'Gabby' Hayes Episode: Foul on the First Play
Episode: Just Another Polish Wedding
1977 Visions Rex Episode: Freeman
Roots Fiddler Emmy Award (won)
TV Land Awards (won)
ABC Miniseries
Little Ladies of the Night Russ Garfield ABC TV-Movie
1975-1976 Police Story Freddie
Virgil Barnes
Episode: The Cut Man Caper
Episode: 50 Cents-First Half Hour, $1.75 All Day
1976 Little House on the Prairie Henry Hill Episode: The Long Road Home
1974-1975 Good Times Donald Knight
Uncle Wilbert
Episode: Thelma's Young Man
Episode: Michael's Big Fall
Petrocelli D.A. Kurt Olson Episode: A Very Lonely Lady
Episode: A Fallen Idol
1975 The Six Million Dollar Man O'Flaherty Episode: Clark Templeton O’Flaherty
The Jeffersons Wendell Brown Episode: George's Best Friend
Harry O Cleon Jackson Episode: Shades
Caribe David Wallace Episode: The Assassin
Delancey Street: The Crisis Within Otis James NBC TV-Movie
Black Bart Black Bart CBS TV-Movie
Lucas Tanner Bobby Koball Episode: Bonus Baby
1974 McCloud Dewey Justin Episode: Shivaree on Delancy Street
The White Dawn Portagee ABC TV-Movie
Sidekicks Jason O'Rourke TV remake of Gossett's 1971 Skin Game
CBS TV-Movie
It's Good to Be Alive Sam Brockington CBS TV-Movie
1973 Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law Episode: An Often and Familiar Ghost
1968-1969, 1972 The Mod Squad Smitty
Charley Jameson
Episode: When Smitty Comes Marching Home
Episode: The Uptight Town
Episode: Can You Hear Me Out There?
1972 Love, American Style Segment: Love and the Christmas Punch...
The Rookies Toby Jones Episode: Covenant with Death
The Living End Doug Newman CBS TV-Pilot
Insight Episode: The Man from Inner Space
1970-1971 The Young Rebels Isak Poole
1971 Cade's County Episode: The Alien Land
Alias Smith and Jones Joe Sims Episode: The Bounty Hunter
The Bold Ones: The New Doctors Dr. Karnes Episode: One Lonely Step
Longstreet Sergeant Cory Episode: The Way of the Intercepting Fist
Bonanza Buck Walter Episode: The Desperado
The Partridge Family Sam Episode: Soul Club
Big Fish, Little Fish
1970 The Bill Cosby Show Hurricane Smith Episode: The Return of Big Bad Bubba Bronson
1967, 1968 Cowboy in Africa Fulah
Episode: Fang and Claw
Episode: The Quiet Death
1968 Companions in Nightmare Lt. Adam McKay NBC TV-Movie
Daktari Mkono Episode: Adam and Jenny
The Invaders Ollie Episode: The Vise
1962 The Nurses William Taylor Episode: The Prisoner
1958 The Big Story Jamie Goodwin Episode: The Stubbornest Man


2006 Dvorak's New World: Chamber Music Plus. Louis Gossett, Jr., narrator, with Aubrey Allicock (Baritone), Sanda Schuldmann (piano), and Harry Clark (writer).[6][7]


  1. ^ Biography
  2. ^ Pfefferman, Naomi. "Louis Gossett Jr. to Give Shul Inaugural Ball Toast", The Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, January 15, 2009. Accessed September 23, 2009. "Gossett suspects that his English teacher at Abraham Lincoln High School, Gustave Blum, identified with African Americans because he had experienced anti-Semitism as a result of the blacklists."
  3. ^ Entertainment article,
  4. ^ Superior Pics biography
  5. ^ "Louis Gossett Jr. Diagnosed with Cancer". 
  6. ^ Chamber music PLUS Southwest
  7. ^ Tucson Weekly : Arts : Burleigh's Greatest Hits

External links

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