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Louis Gossett Jr. Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (3) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (17) | Personal Quotes (14)

Overview (3)

Date of Birth 27 May 1936Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Birth NameLouis Cameron Gossett Jr.
Height 6' 2½" (1.89 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born on May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York City. He made his professional acting debut at age 17, winning the Donaldson Award as best newcomer to theatre. He went to New York University on a basketball scholarship and was invited to try out for the New York Knicks, yet he decided to continue his acting career with a role in the Broadway production of "A Raisin in the Sun". Gossett stepped into the world in cinema in the Sidney Poitier version of A Raisin in the Sun (1961). His role as the tough drill sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) showcased his talent and won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first African-American male to win an Academy Award in a supporting role, the second to win for acting, and the third to win overall. He also starred as United States Air Force pilot Colonel Charles "Chappy" Sinclair in the action film Iron Eagle (1986) and its sequels.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tak

Spouse (3)

Cyndi James Gossett (25 December 1987 - 1992) (divorced)
Christina Mangosing (21 August 1973 - 1975) (divorced) (1 child)
Hattie Glascoe (August 1964 - ?) (annulled)

Trade Mark (2)

Deep, commanding voice.
Often plays military commanders and authority figures

Trivia (17)

Conceived and co-wrote the well known song "Handsome Johnny" with Richie Havens. As the opening act for the original Woodstock, Havens performed "Handsome Johnny," as the 8th song in that historic first set. According to Havens, "...(Gossett) had gotten it up to the 'Dunkirk war'...I brought it up to date..." (From liner notes in The Best of Richie Havens CD, 1993).
Was named as "King of Brooklyn" at the Welcome Back to Brooklyn Festival in 1990.
He and his ex-wife Cyndi James Gossett have an adopted son.
Along with Stacy Keach, he was one of two actors considered for the role of the SGC's new commanding officer, General Hank Landry, on Stargate SG-1 (1997). The role instead went to Beau Bridges, however Gossett was cast as a Jaffa leader named Gerak.
He was the first male to be shown giving birth on screen, as Jeriba "Jerry" Shigan in Enemy Mine (1985).
Was considered for the role of Lieutenant Ted Traxler in The Terminator (1984), which went to Paul Winfield.
Was originally cast as Gale Sayers in the television movie Brian's Song (1971). Just days before shooting began, Gossett tore his Achilles' tendon while working out for the film. The studio execs scrambled and quickly hired Billy Dee Williams as a replacement. Gossett, depressed over missing his "shot", was promised by producer David L. Wolper the first great role that came along. About six years later, Wolper called Gossett to play Fiddler in Roots (1977), the Emmy Award-winning role that made him a star.
First cousin of Robert Gossett.
His foundation, Eracism, is devoted to eradicating racism.
(February 8, 2010) Diagnosed with prostate cancer.
Attended Woodstock. He said, "I wanted to be in the now. There were a whole bunch of us there, in the now. Anywhere anything exciting was happening, we were there.".
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on May 20, 1992.
In the early 1990s, Rich Little offered him the chance to be his opening act in Las Vegas, but he turned it down, a move that he deeply regrets. He sent his wife, Cyndi James Gossett, in his place.
Father of Satie Gossett.
He was cast in his Oscar winning role in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) after Jack Nicholson turned down the role, and none of the other actors who the producers wanted proved available at the time. Screenwriter Douglas Day Stewart then did research on a Navy base in Pensacola, Florida and found out the top drill instructors they had there were African-American. Upon realizing this, Gossett was cast in what can now arguably be his best remembered role.
Gossett was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers.
Attended Brooklyn's Abraham Lincoln High School.

Personal Quotes (14)

If a role isn't different, it's not worth doing.
When I'm offered a role, I look at what I think I can do with it. I look to see if I can project myself into it.
I can do more than anyone suspects. I pride myself on my versatility. It took 32 years of difficult parts, second leads, villains and juveniles. The Oscar changed the quality of the roles I was being offered.
The Lord may not come when you want Him, but he's always going to be there on time.
[2010, on filming Enemy Mine (1985)] That was a challenge. I prefer a challenge, because when you've done that, you've done something. That was something where nobody could see my face or my eyes; I was giving somebody a performance through that makeup. That was six months in Germany. A lot of pain in the eyes and stuff.
[2010, on An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)] When I went in for that part, I don't know what my agent said, but when I knocked on the door, he looked at me and said, "You've got the part". I didn't have to do anything. It was a case of "be careful what you ask for", because now that I've got the part, I've really got to deliver the goods. I took 30 days and went down to San Diego, where I studied drill instructors and studied with them for 28 of those days. Then I came to the set with one of them, and when I showed up, I said I was the DI. I had to move away from them, because they didn't take me seriously. So I didn't hang out with anybody. I just moved away...It took a bit of a toll. But I was getting ready to do anything in order to do that performance. It was my shot, and I was doing as much as I could to do a good performance.
[2010, on winning the Oscar for An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)] It did create a lot of opportunities, but I thought there would be more. I thought it would be a windfall. But it wasn't. It was what it was. It only affected me for a little while, and then it stopped affecting me. I just come out the other end.
[2010, on The Landlord (1970)] Hal Ashby was a great man. A great man. I had some great experiences with Hal and Diana Sands and Beau Bridges and Pearl Bailey and Lee Grant. We had a very good time. For a lot of us, it was our first major motion picture, and we had a ball. An absolute ball. My favorite scene is when "Copee" goes crazy. It's a magic scene there. I was very satisfied with that performance. That entire movie.
[2010, on coming close to being killed by the Manson Family] When I was living in Laurel Canyon, we were there to welcome The Rolling Stones, and The Beatles were in town, and they were staying at the Chateau Marmont Hotel. We had taken pictures and were talking and stuff. Roman Polanski was there, and his wife, she was pregnant. It was a nice bunch of people. The Mamas and the Papas were there, the people I hung out with most of the time. So they said, "Everybody's going to have late coffee and breakfast at Roman Polanski's house". Right around the corner is where my house is, so I'm going to go to the house, take a shower, and put on some fresh clothes. I take a shower, put on some fresh clothes, and turn on the TV, and there the news is. So I dodged a bullet.
[1983 interview] What happens in real life should be represented on the screen, but it isn't. Just glance inside a restaurant, or look out onto the streets. You will see more black people there than you do on the screen. In that sense the movies are letting us down.
[on his receiving an Academy Award] The only Oscar I ever knew was a cousin.
[on about his absence from 1970s blaxploitation films] Sometimes it was by choice, sometimes by coincidence. I did have other jobs during that entire era.
[on his 9 year-old son Satie in 1983] As much energy and love I put into my acting, I put into him. I have to be careful he's not my shadow, that he can create his own personality and be what he wants. That means walking a tightrope as a parent.
[in 1983] Here I am, a black actor getting attention, and suddenly I'm asked to do "Othello." I'll do "Richard III, I'll do "Macbeth," but I don't have any interest in doing "Othello." James Earl Jones is good enough for me.

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