Thom Gossom Jr. (born 1952) is an American actor, writer, and communications professional. Born in Birmingham, Alabama, he received his Bachelor of Arts in communications from Auburn University where he was the first black athlete in the Southeastern Conference to walk on, earn a full scholarship and graduate. Gossom defied the odds and became a three-year starter. He is featured in the HBO special, "Breaking the Huddle", about integration of Southern college football. Gossom furthered his education with a Master of Arts in communication from The University of Montevallo in Alabama. He is owner and President of Best Gurl Inc. a communications firm. Gossom's career has spanned film, television and the stage. His film credits include "Fight Club", "Jeepers Creepers 2", and "Miss Ever's Boy's". He starred as the title character, "Israel", in the NYPD Blue Emmy winning episode, "Lost Israel." and in the recurring roles of City Councilman Ted Marcus on "In the Heat of the Night". Judge Blake Winters in "Boston Legal, as Judge Kenneth Shepard on "Reckless" and as Lieutenant Moore in the upcoming series "Partners". Gossom's theatre roles include, "Speak of Me As I Am". a critically acclaimed one-man play that he write, "Fences" and "American Buffalo", among others. "Quiet Courage". a film he write and produced in association with Auburn University, tells the story of James Owens, the first black athlete to break the racial barriers of college football in the Deep South. The film delves into the personal price that Owens' paid in being "the first" and the impact his presence made not just in the game, but in the lives of those he touched that still reverberates today. Watch Quiet Courage trailer here. Gossom's writing credits include his published memoir, "Walk-On: My Reluctant Journey To Integration at Auburn University", which chronicles his role in collegiate football history. Gossom's newest work, "A Slice of Life", is the first of a three-part collection of "life stories" woven around themes of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary circumstances. Gossom also writes a current events blog, "As I SEE It". When not writing, producing or acting, Gossom is a frequent speaker for universities, corporation and civic organizations. Through his experience, intellect and wit, he inspires, entertains, educates and motivates his audience.