Fast Facts

  • Made his professional acting debut while still in high school in the Broadway production of Take a Giant Step and won the Donaldson Award for best newcomer of the year.
  • Received an athletic-drama scholarship to New York University, where he played on the varsity basketball team.
  • Was invited to try out for the NBA's New York Knicks after graduating from NYU, but chose to pursue an acting career instead.
  • Prepared for his Oscar-winning role in An Officer and a Gentleman by spending 10 days training at Camp Pendleton's school for drill instructors.
  • Cowrote the protest song "Handsome Johnny" with Richie Havens, who performed it at Woodstock in 1969.
  • In 2006, founded the Eracism Foundation, a nonprofit working to eliminate racism.
  • Wrote an autobiography, An Actor and a Gentleman, which was published in 2010.

Awards

  • 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
  • 1981, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
  • 1987, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
  • 1977, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series: Winner
  • 1983, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Winner
  • 1984, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Nominee
  • 1992, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Miniseries or Motion Picture Made for Television: Winner
  • 1982, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner
  • 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Variety or Music: Nominee
  • 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee

Relationships

  • Hattie Glascoe — Ex-wife
  • Satie Gossett — Son
  • Sharron Anthony Gossett — Son
  • Louis Gossett — Father
  • Helen (Wray) Gossett — Mother
  • Cyndi James-Reese — Ex-wife
  • Christina Mangosing — Ex-wife

College

  • New York University, New York, NY (BA, 1959)

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Details

  • Birth Place: Brooklyn, NY
  • Birthday: May 27, 1936, Gemini
  • Profession: Actor
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