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First Black man to win supporting actor Oscar, Louis Gossett Jr d!es at 87

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1st Black man to win supporting actor Oscar, Louis Gossett Jr, dies at 87

Louis Gossett Jr., the first Black man to win a supporting actor at Oscars and an Emmy winner for his role in the seminal TV miniseries “Roots,” has d!ed

1st Black man to win supporting actor Oscar, Louis Gossett Jr, dies at 87
First Black man to win supporting actor Oscar, Louis Gossett Jr d!es at 87

Gossett’s nephew told The Associated Press that the actor d!ed in Santa Monica, California, on Thursday night. His cause of d3ath was not revealed.

Gossett earned his first acting credit in his Brooklyn high school’s production of “You Can’t Take It with You” while he was sidelined from the basketball team with an injury.

“I was hooked — and so was my audience,” he wrote in his 2010 memoir “An Actor and a Gentleman.”

His English teacher urged him to go into Manhattan to try out for “Take a Giant Step.” He got the part and made his Broadway debut in 1953 at age 16.

“I knew too little to be nervous,” Gossett wrote. “In retrospect, I should have been scared to death as I walked onto that stage, but I wasn’t.”

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Gossett attended New York University on a basketball and drama scholarship. He was soon acting and singing on TV shows hosted by David Susskind, Ed Sullivan, Red Buttons, Merv Griffin, Jack Paar and Steve Allen.

Gossett became friendly with James Dean and studied acting with Marilyn Monroe, Martin Landau and Steve McQueen at an offshoot of the Actors Studio taught by Frank Silvera.

He founded the Eracism Foundation to help create a world where racism doesn’t exist.

Gossett made a series of guest appearances on such shows as “Bonanza,” “The Rockford Files,” “The Mod Squad,” “McCloud” and a memorable turn with Richard Pryor on “The Partridge Family.”

In August 1969, Gossett had been partying with members of the Mamas and the Papas when they were invited to actor Sharon Tate’s house. He headed home first to shower and change clothes. As he was getting ready to leave, he caught a news flash on TV about Tate’s murder. She and others were killed by Charles Manson’s associates that night.

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Gossett broke through on the small screen as Fiddler in the groundbreaking 1977 miniseries “Roots,” which depicted the atrocities of slavery on TV. The sprawling cast included Ben Vereen, LeVar Burton and John Amos.

Gossett became the third Black Oscar nominee in the supporting actor category in 1983. He won for his performance as the intimidating Marine drill instructor in “An Officer and a Gentleman” opposite Richard Gere and Debra Winger. He also won a Golden Globe for the same role.

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