Hollywood Live: RIP Louis Gossett JR

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When Louis Gossett Jr. accepted the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor in 1983 for Officer and a Gentleman, he was the first black performer to win in that category, and only the third black person after Hattie McDaniel and Sidney Poitier to win an Academy Award for Acting.

By the time he won his Oscar, he had already won an Emmy as Fiddler of the blockbuster 1977 miniseries Roots. I first met Mr. Gossett when I was doing a documentary on the Atlantic slave trade for BET. We hired Lou to read several slave narratives that had been uncovered by historian and professor the late Nathan Huggins.

Listen as Gossett tells the story of a man who just won his freedom:

“I might have been free long before I was, but you had it in your power to have kept me there much longer. I think it is very probable that I should have been a toiling slave on your plantation today, if you had treated me differently.”

That was a sound clip from the film Dark Passages. You know, over the years, I got to know Lou Gossett through many of the wonderful causes he supported. He was A champion of justice, a really good man, a great cook, and yes, a great actor. I will miss you, Louis Gossett Jr. Rest in peace and power.

And for all these stories and a whole lot more, don’t forget to follow Tanya Hart on social media @tanyahollywood and @aurnonline.

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