Louis Gossett Jr., the pioneering actor who made history as the first Black man to win both an Academy Award and an Emmy, passed away at 87.


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Gossett’s nephew confirmed the news to The Associated Press. Gossett, renowned for his role in the iconic TV miniseries Roots and his Academy Award-winning performance in An Officer and a Gentleman, died Thursday night in Santa Monica, California.

Born on May 27, 1936, in Brooklyn, New York, Gossett rose to prominence with his memorable roles on stage and screen. His career included acclaimed performances in Broadway productions like A Raisin in the Sun and Hollywood films like Companions in Nightmare.

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Gossett’s breakthrough came with his portrayal of Fiddler in the landmark miniseries Roots, which depicted the harrowing realities of slavery. He later achieved cinematic acclaim for his role as a Marine drill instructor in An Officer and a Gentleman, for which he received an Oscar and a Golden Globe. Survived by his sons Satie and Sharron, Gossett leaves a lasting legacy as a trailblazing actor and a champion for diversity and representation in the entertainment industry.