Louis Gossett Jr. made his professional acting debut at the age of 17, in the play Take a Giant Step, winning the Donaldson Award as best newcomer to theatre. He went to NYU on a basketball scholarship and was invited to try out for the NY Knicks, yet he decided to continue his acting career with a role in the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun alongside Sidney Poitier. Now almost six decades later, he has appeared in 167 films and television shows that have garnered him numerous awards including three Golden Globes, two Emmys, one of which was for his portrayal of Fiddler in “Roots” and of course, the Oscar for his unforgettable performance as Gunnery Sgt. Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman.
Although Mr. Gossett is still working in films, with an emphasis on faith-based stories, he is primarily dedicating ‘the last quadrant’ of his life to an all-out conscious offensive against racism, violence, ignorance and social apathy. The Shamba Centers under his Eracism Foundation will have classes, seminars, workshops, and exercises for teens and pre-teens to help them understand and eliminate racism by creating a living environment where racism and injustice have difficulty in existing.
The purpose of Mr. Gossett’ s guest appearances is to get relevant stories out via the media so young people will know on whose shoulders they stand, what history they represent and what is expected of them. He encourages them to connect with their spirituality and improve their conduct with the overall result of becoming respectful, responsible, disciplined, positive Americans.
His recent autobiographical book, AN ACTOR AND A GENTLEMAN, is not your run-of-the-mill Hollywood memoir, but rather a funny, fascinating and sometimes heartbreaking tour through the last half-century of American life, as seen through the eyes of one of our most talented artists.
Louis Gossett Jr. – athlete, actor, educator, activist, author – still taking giant steps.