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1983 Academy Awards

Source: William Nation / Getty

Louis Gossett Jr., the first Black man to win a supporting actor Oscar, has died. He was 87.

The legendary actor died Friday morning in Santa Monica, California, his family told AP. The cause of death has not yet been reported. However, he did battle prostate cancer and a respiratory illness in recent years.

As one of the most recognized actors on screen, the impact of Gossett’s talent was known and felt for more than six decades.

Throughout his celebrated career, Gossett blazed trails for many generations of Black actors who came after him.

He most notably won his groundbreaking Academy Award for his role as a Marine drill instructor in the 1982 film “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

He also took home an Emmy for his role in the 1977 ABC miniseries “Roots,” which swept the awards ceremony that year.

“Roots” shined a bright spotlight on iconic Black actors such as LeVar Burton, John AmosCicely Tyson and Ben Vereen.

Louis Gossett Jr In 'Roots'

Source: Warner Bros. / Getty

Gossett, a Brooklyn native, was multitalented. He attended New York University on a basketball and drama scholarship. He made his Broadway-debut at age 17 in “Take a Giant Step,” which was selected as one of the 10 best Broadway shows of 1953 by The New York Times.

He was among Sidney Poitier and Ruby Dee in receiving critical acclaim for his role in the Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun.” The iconic actor was also a part of the film version in 1961, which was his first time in Hollywood.

“Never mind the awards, never mind the glitz and glamor, the Rolls-Royces and the big houses in Malibu. It’s about the humanity of the people that he stood for,” his cousin said.

CLEO TV extends our deepest condolences to the family of Louis Gossett, Jr. and everyone who his work has impacted over the last 60+ years.

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