- 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.
- 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
- 1987, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Miniseries or Special: Nominee
- 1979, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
- 1981, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1997, Emmy — Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series: Nominee
- 1978, Emmy — Outstanding Continuing or Single Performance by a Supporting Actor in Variety or Music: Nominee
- 1982, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role: Winner
- 1977, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series: Winner
- 1984, Emmy — Outstanding Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Special: Nominee
- Hattie Glascoe — Ex-wife
- Louis Gossett — Father
- Helen (Wray) Gossett — Mother
- Cyndi James-Reese — Ex-wife
- Christina Mangosing — Ex-wife
- Satie Gossett — Son
- Sharron Anthony Gossett — Son
- New York University, New York, New York, United States (BA, 1959)
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