Louis Gossett Jr. was born in Brooklyn, New York, on May 27, 1936. Growing up to find fame on the stage and screen with roles in “Roots” and “An Officer and a Gentleman,” he earned plenty of industry honors while also becoming the first Black actor to win an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.

Gossett clearly achieved plenty of well-deserved respect, but not without facing racism. He told Reuters in 2010, “Somewhere along the way, that charm [of Hollywood] disappeared.” But he didn’t let it deter him, instead using it to move forward, saying, “I needed to get experience from that, to get where I am today.”

In 2020, Gossett also opened up to Closer Weekly about his thoughts on life as he’s gotten older. “As an elder, I can tell you that [life is] simpler than we make it sometimes. We dream about being big and famous and getting a lot of money, but the root is simple,” he said. The star, who obviously had a spiritual side, then explained, “There are two choices we have to make every day: one is the devil, one is God. They’re both stronger than us. Be selfless and then you get on the right track. You’re good with God.”

Our condolences go out to Gossett’s family, friends, and fans.

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