Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. died on Thursday, March 28, 2024. His nephew reported Gossett’s passing, though a cause of death was not given. He was 87 years old.

Gossett became the first Black man to win Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars for his performance in An Officer and a Gentleman. He won an Emmy for his work in the Roots miniseries and he starred in the 1980s fighter pilot film, Iron Eagle.

“Lou was a sweetheart. He took his job very seriously. He did his research. He stayed in character the whole time,” his An Officer and a Gentleman costar Richard Gere said. “I don’t think we ever saw him socially. He was the drill sergeant 24 hours a day, and it showed clearly in his performance. He drove every scene he was in. A tough guy with a heart of gold. We were all so proud of him when he won his Oscar. Condolences to his family.”

Born on May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, Gossett attended New York University on a basketball and drama scholarship. He made his Broadway debut in Take a Giant Step in 1953, and starred opposite Sidney Poitier in a production of A Raisin in the Sun.

Gossett had over 200 movie and TV credits to his name, starting with episodes of The Big Story in ’57 and ’58. He was in the film adaptation of A Raisin in the Sun, and did guest appearances in shows like Bonanza, Mod Squad, Good Times, and The Jeffersons.

He starred in J.D.’s Revenge, The Deep, Jaws 3-D, Enemy Mine, and he returned for multiple Iron Eagle sequels after the 1986 film. Gossett was in The Punisher movie starring Dolph Lundgren, he played Civil Rights activist Sidney Williams in The Josephine Baker Story, was in Toy Soldiers, Diggstown, and he voiced Chiron in the Hercules animated series.

Some of Gossett’s later work included The Dead Zone, episodes of Stargate SG-1, he voiced Lucius Fox in The Batman animated series, he played Hooded Justice in HBO’s Watchmen limited series, and he starred in The Color Purple musical. His last completed project was in the Kingdom Business TV series.