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Louis Gossett Jr.

Born May 27 1936 in Brooklyn, Lou has a flair for projecting quiet authority and has scored well personally in a string of diverse and challenging roles.

The aspiring actor caught a break at his first Broadway audition for Take A Giant Step (1953), where, beating out 400 other candidates, the then 16-year-old landed the lead. After attending NYU on a basketball scholarship, Lou was drafted by the New York Knicks but instead continued to nurture his burgeoning acting career.

His acting career soon flourished and his work in the stage and film versions of the groundbreaking drama about African-American family life in Lorraine Hansberry's A Raisin in the Sun (1961) proved a watershed. This led to numerous appearances on network series in the 1960s and 70s culminating in 1977, when he picked up an Emmy for his eloquent portrayal of Fiddler in the landmark ABC miniseries Roots.

Meanwhile, his big screen reputation grew with critically acclaimed work in such comedies as The Landlord (1970) The Skin Game (1971) with James Garner, Travels with My Aunt (1972) and the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning drama The River Niger (1975). A riveting performance as a drug-dealing cut-throat stalking Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset in The Deep (1977) catapulted him to wider popularity, but the tough by-the-book drill sergeant in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) won him a Best Supporting Oscar that consolidated his place in the Hollywood hierarchy.

Following his Oscar, he made numerous big screen and television appearances, being singled out for his work as Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in Sadat (1983), the sci-fi adventure Enemy Mine (1985) where his lizard-like makeup won kudos, and in the action adventure series Iron Eagle (1985, 1986, 1992, 1995) which introduced him to a whole new generation of moviegoers.

Still going strong, Lou's trendsetting bald head and imposing six-foot-four physique served him well in Diggstown (1991) where he played a down-and-out boxer, a heroic headmaster in Toy Soldiers (1991). Lou's well thought out and nuanced performances also managed to give credibility to socially themed projects such as To Dance with Olivia (1997), and the critically acclaimed Jasper, Texas (2003).

Currently, he'll be featured in the forthcoming release of Tyler Perry's film entitled Daddy's Little Girl as well as the independent feature All In co-starring Michael Madsen and Dominique Swain.

The recipient of every known acting accolade, including multiple Golden Globes, Emmy's, and People's Choice Awards, Lou's performance has connected him with his fans on a global scale. Organizations such as the NAACP, CARE, and the United States Armed Forces have used his likeness to add validity and integrity to their causes.

Currently, Lou is developing the Eracism Foundation. A non profit entity aimed toward educating the youth and reconnecting the generations with the aim of eradicating racism off our planet.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2007.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Louis Gossett Jr. Facts

BirthdayMay 27, 1936 (87)
BirthplaceBrooklyn, New York, USA
Height6' 4" (1m93)  How tall is Louis Gossett Jr. compared to you?
Awards1992 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or TV Film (for The Josephine Baker Story)
1983 Academy Awards: Best Supporting Actor (for An Officer and a Gentleman)
1983 Golden Globe Awards: Best Actor in a Supporting Role - Motion Picture (for An Officer and a Gentleman)

Selected Filmography

Jaws 3
An Officer and a Gentleman
On the Streets of LA
The Grace Card
Jaws 3-Movie Collection
The Perfect Game
Sudie and Simpson
El Diablo
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