• Louis Gossett Jr. has passed away at 87, leaving behind a legacy as a trailblazer for Black actors, paving the way for future stars in Hollywood.
  • His seminal Oscar win in 1982 for
    An Officer and A Gentleman
    made a lasting impact on the industry.
  • Despite his passing, his work will continue to inspire generations of actors in Black cinema.



Louis Gossett Jr., the Academy Award-winning legend of stage and screen, has passed away at the age of 87. Gossett Jr. enjoyed a diverse and varied career across multiple decades, appearing in such productions as Stargate SG-1, The Laughing Policeman, and Iron Eagle. In 1982, he became the first Black actor to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the Richard Gere movie An Officer and A Gentleman. He also earned a Primetime Emmy Award for starring in Roots alongside John Amos, becoming one of the most iconic African-American actors.

As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, the actor passed away on Friday, and his family released a statement asking for privacy at this time. No cause of death has been revealed, though it is known that Gossett Jr. suffered from health problems, with a prostate cancer diagnosis in 2010. His final completed movie before his death was the 2023 remake of The Color Purple, and he has several projects in the pipeline that are all due to be released posthumously, including IF, Soul to Keep, Sin, and Unplugged.

Louis Gossett Jr. Leaves A Legacy Of Black Cinema

Louis Gossett Jr. as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley commanding squad in An Officer and a Gentleman

“The importance of his seminal Oscar win, how it helped shaped his career, and its legacy for Black actors, is something that is unlikely to be emulated again.”

The influence of Gossett Jr.’s work continues to be felt, and will inspire further generations of Black actors looking to make their mark on Hollywood. With a legacy stretching back to his debut in 1961 with A Raisin in the Sun, Gossett Jr. continued to work through every decade up until his death, and is probably best-known to modern audiences as part of the cast of the Watchmen TV show, in which he played the role of Will Reeves/Hooded Justice. Below are Gossett Jr.’s upcoming roles to be released posthumously:



Release Date



May 17

Soul To Keep

Mr. G


Awaken the Reaper

Dr. Benjamin Locke

In Production





Amos Burton

In Production

Gossett Jr. will be an actor remembered not just for his projects, but as a trailblazer for the Black community, and Black cinema as a whole. By becoming the first Black actor to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor, he paved the way for other stars like Denzel Washington, Morgan Freeman, and Cuba Gooding Jr., who would go on to collect the same award. The importance of his seminal Oscar win, how it helped shaped his career, and its legacy for Black actors, is something that is unlikely to be emulated again.

There is no question that Hollywood has lost a star of major gravitas and influence with the passing of Gossett Jr., but his memory will live on through his work, and the joy it brings to future generations. Whether another Black actor will enjoy a breakout role as prominent as An Officer and A Gentleman remains to be seen, but it’s pretty fair to say that Louis Gossett Jr. was a truly unique man, and a diverse actor, not afraid to take risks with projects.

Source: THR

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