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Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.

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Information about Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.

Profile image of Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Brown
Favorite Food:
Fritters (Conch)
Favorite Time of Year:
May
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Scuba Diving
Favorite Quote:
There’s No Such Thing As Impossible.

Birthplace

Born:
5/27/1936
Birth Location:
New York, New York

Profession

Category:
EntertainmentMakers
Occupation(s):
Actor

Favorites

Favorite Color:
Black, Brown
Favorite Food:
Fritters (Conch)
Favorite Time of Year:
May
Favorite Vacation Spot:
Scuba Diving
Favorite Quote:
There’s No Such Thing As Impossible.

Birthplace

Born:
5/27/1936
Birth Location:
New York
See how Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers

Biography

Actor Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. was born May 27, 1936 in Sheepshead Bay, Coney Island to Hellen Rebecca Wray Gosset and Louis Gossett Sr.. Gossett’s Brooklyn neighborhood nurtured activists and artists like Gustav Blum, Harvey Keitel, Neil Simon, Neil Diamond and Arthur Miller. Gossett attended PS 135 and was student body president of Mark Twain Junior High School (PS 209). When Gossett acted in a production of You Can’t Take It With You at Abraham Lincoln High School, talent scouts picked him for Broadway’s Take A Giant Step, for which Gossett won the Donaldson Award in 1952 for best newcomer to theatre. In 1954, he appeared in Desk Set with Shirley Booth. After graduation Gossett received a basketball scholarship to New York University. The 6’4” Gossett, who also pitched against Sandy Koufax, was drafted by the New York Knickerbockers in 1958.

Deciding to forego sports for acting, Gossett studied at The Actors Studio with John Sticks and Peggy Fury. In 1961, Gossett’s acting skills were soon noticed when he was cast in the Broadway production and movie Raisin in the Sun. He was also in the all-star cast of 1961’s The Blacks that featured James Earl Jones, Cicely Tyson, Roscoe Lee Brown and Maya Angelou. Gossett later went on to appear in small television roles including: The Bush Baby and Companions in Nightmare. Gossett briefly tried his hand at folk singing before he got his first big movie role in The Landlord with Diana Sands. Gossett has appeared in over 50 movies and hundreds of television shows between 1971 and 1999. Some of the more popular shows he appeared in ( listed in chronological order) are: Skin Game , The Deep , Don’t Look Back: The Story of Leroy “Satchel” Paige , Sadat , Finders Keepers, Enemy Mine, Firewalker , Iron Eagle, A Gathering of Old Men , The Principal, The Father Clements Story ,Diggstown , Return to Lonesome Dove , Curse of the Starving Class , A Good Man in Africa , Ray Alexander , Captive Heart: The James Mink Story , Y2K , and Lackawanna Blues . Gossett was awarded an Emmy for his portrayal of “Fiddler” in Alex Haley’s miniseries Roots (1977). He won a Golden Globe Award for HBO’s The Josephine Baker Story (1991) and an Academy Award for best supporting actor for his portrayal of Sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982).

Gossett’s community involvement began in 1964, when he received a grant with James Earl Jones and Paul Sorvino to begin a theatre group for trouble bound youth. Gossett, who often plays strong role models, frequently speaks to youth groups about manhood, drugs and life. Gossett also partnered with Father George Clements to develop Shamba Centers to teach African American history and culture. Eracism is a non-profit that Gossett developed in an effort to combat racism in America and abroad. In 2005, he sponsored a Los Angeles anti-violence effort called One Summer of Peace.

Louis Gossett, Jr. was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on March 30, 2005.

See how Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. is related to other HistoryMakers
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  • Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. lists his favorites
  • Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his mother's background
  • Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. reflects on the importance of tracing one's lineage
  • Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. remembers his great-grandmother's watermelon farm
  • Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. remembers his maternal great-grandmother
  • Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about the importance of preserving ancestry
  • Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his childhood
  • Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. recalls his experience with racism in the South
  • Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his father's family background
  • Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes the history of Bennettsville, South Carolina
  • Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his father's personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his relationship with his cousins
  • Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his earliest childhood memory
  • Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. contrasts his experiences with racism in the North and the South
  • Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood
  • Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his childhood personality
  • Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes living in a multicultural community
  • Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his Broadway debut
  • Tape: 2 Story: 10 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes being a child actor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about the success of his Broadway debut, 'Take a Giant Step'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes the effect of McCarthyism on the theater community
  • Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes the popularity of gospel contests in the 1950s
  • Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes balancing acting and school as a teenager
  • Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his early roles in television
  • Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his interest in a professional sports career
  • Tape: 3 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes making his decision to commit to a career as an actor
  • Tape: 3 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes being cast in 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 3 Story: 9 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his relationships with fellow actors in the theater
  • Tape: 3 Story: 10 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his family's reactions to his performance in 'A Raisin in the Sun'
  • Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. speaks about motivation and desire
  • Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. recalls a racist experience in Wilmington, Delaware, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. recalls a racist experience in Wilmington, Delaware, pt. 2
  • Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. remembers experiencing racial profiling in Hollywood, California
  • Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his first major movie role
  • Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about laying the groundwork for the Negro Ensemble
  • Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about shooting his first film in Africa, pt. 1
  • Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about shooting his first major film in Africa, pt. 2
  • Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his major film roles in the 1970s
  • Tape: 5 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his big screen role in 'Skin Game'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about the influence of television and media
  • Tape: 5 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. highlights his favorite film projects
  • Tape: 5 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. details his 'Roots' experience and reflects on its legacy
  • Tape: 5 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about the importance of telling little known stories
  • Tape: 5 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes filming 'An Officer and a Gentleman'
  • Tape: 5 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about winning as Oscar for best supporting actor
  • Tape: 6 Story: 1 - Second slating of Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr.'s interview
  • Tape: 6 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes life after winning an Oscar
  • Tape: 6 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. speaks about portraying Egyptian president Anwar Sadat
  • Tape: 6 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his role in 'Enemy Mine'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his role in 'Iron Eagle'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. speaks about his major movie roles in the 1980s, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. speaks about 'Roots: The Next Generations'
  • Tape: 6 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about a real-world need for mentorship and visiting grammar school students, pt. 1
  • Tape: 6 Story: 9 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about a real-world need for mentorship and visiting grammar school students, pt. 2
  • Tape: 6 Story: 10 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. explains the importance of black narratives in film
  • Tape: 6 Story: 11 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about the films he has produced
  • Tape: 6 Story: 12 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. lists films that he would like to be involved in
  • Tape: 7 Story: 1 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. imagines historical epics about ancient Africa
  • Tape: 7 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about portraying James Mink in 'Captive Heart'
  • Tape: 7 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. speaks about his recent and current projects
  • Tape: 7 Story: 4 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about black representation in Hollywood
  • Tape: 7 Story: 5 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. considers hypothetical black historical films
  • Tape: 7 Story: 6 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about African American representation in Hollywood
  • Tape: 7 Story: 7 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about comedian Lincoln Perry's career, pt. 1
  • Tape: 7 Story: 8 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about comedian Lincoln Perry's career, pt. 2
  • Tape: 7 Story: 9 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his favorite roles
  • Tape: 7 Story: 10 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community
  • Tape: 7 Story: 11 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. considers what he would have done differently
  • Tape: 7 Story: 12 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about his children
  • Tape: 7 Story: 13 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. reflects upon his legacy
  • Tape: 8 Story: 1 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. describes how he prepares for a role
  • Tape: 8 Story: 2 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. talks about playing unusual characters
  • Tape: 8 Story: 3 - Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. narrates his photographs