Louis Gossett Jr preferred Hollywood stardom to Knicks dreams dies aged 87

The silver screen became blurry this week with the passing of a true talent. The veteran actor and former basketball player left us at the age of 87. Details surrounding his passing remain private, but his legacy as a popular performer lives on.

Despite having the potential for a career in professional basketball with the New York Knicks, he chose to pursue acting in Hollywood. His early passion for acting throughout his Brooklyn high school years was the driving force behind this decision, and it is now undeniable that he chose his path wisely.

Louis Gossett Jr passed away at 87

Louis Gossett Jr., known for his award-winning performances in “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Roots,” passed away on Friday at the age of 87 in Santa Monica, Calif. His cousin, Neal L. Gossett, confirmed the news, although the cause of his death was not specified.

In “An Officer and a Gentleman,” Mr. Gossett played Emil Foley, a tough Marine drill instructor who profoundly impacts a troubled young Naval aviation recruit, portrayed by Richard Gere. This part showed how versatile Mr. Gossett was as an actor, and it earned him the top acting award, the Oscar. Subsequently, he became the first black man to win an Oscar for best supporting actor.

Louis Gossett Jr passed away at 87
via Dailymotion

Vincent Canby, in his review for The New York Times, praised Louis Gossett Jr’s portrayal of Sergeant Foley, noting his transformation from a harsh taskmaster to a character with depth, cunning, dedication, and humor. This nuanced performance ultimately led to Mr. Gossett’s well-deserved recognition with an Academy Award and an Emmy. Mr. Gossett’s legacy extends beyond his acting prowess; he was a guiding figure in the entertainment industry, leaving a lasting impact on viewers and aspiring actors alike.

In 2010, the actor was diagnosed with prostate cancer. He chose to share this news openly to inspire African-American men, who often neglect preventive check-ups and early treatment for this disease. He hoped to encourage them to prioritize their health by seeking quality medical care and early detection, just as he did.

Despite facing cancer, he continued to pursue his passion for acting. Even in his 80s, he remained active in the entertainment industry. He co-starred in the film adaptation of “The Color Purple” and appeared in the HBO series “Watchmen,” earning his eighth Emmy nomination in 2020. His dedication to his craft was evident, earning praise as “the kind of performance that wins awards.”

Louis Gossett Jr nearly joined the Knicks before his Oscar win

In a recent interview with Janine Rubenstein of People magazine, actor Louis Gossett Jr. discussed his brief stint with the New York Knicks, reflecting on his transition from basketball star to acclaimed actor. Gossett, known for his roles in “An Officer and a Gentleman” and “Roots,” revealed that his acting career took off during his time with the Knicks when playwright Lorraine Hansberry offered him a role in “A Raisin in the Sun.”

During his early 20s, Gossett had already made appearances on stage and television when he received a professional tryout from the Knicks. Despite being in rookie training, the opportunity to star in a play that tackled important themes such as assimilation and racism was too enticing to pass up. The job’s financial prospects, which included a sizable per diem that was higher than what most athletes made at the time, also had an impact on Gossett’s decision to pursue acting.

“A Raisin in the Sun,” which debuted in 1959 and was later adapted into a film in 1961, marked Gossett’s entry into the world of acting. Since then, he has amassed an impressive list of credits, including his recent role in “The Color Purple” alongside notable stars like Fantasia Barrino and Taraji P. Henson.

Louis Gossett Jr’s career has been defined by his versatility and ability to take on challenging roles, earning him accolades such as an Emmy for his performance in “Roots.” His journey from the basketball court to the stage and screen serves as an inspiring example of following one’s passion and seizing opportunities when they arise.

Do let us know your thoughts in the comment section about this legend who died.


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