Louis Cameron Gossett, Jr. (born May 27, 1936) is an American actor famous for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman and Fiddler in the 1970s television miniseries Roots. Gossett has also starred in numerous film productions including The Deep, Jaws 3-D (as SeaWorld manager Calvin Bouchard), Wolfgang Peterson’s Enemy Mine, the Iron Eagle series, Toy Soldiers and The Punisher. He has won an Academy Award, two Emmy Awards, and two Golden Globe Awards in an acting career that spans over five decades.
 Early lifeGossett, Jr. was born in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, New York, to Hellen Rebecca (née Wray), a nurse, and Louis Gossett, Sr., a porter. His stage debut came at the age of 17, in a school production of You Can’t Take It with You when a sports injury resulted in the decision to take an acting class. Polio had already delayed his graduation.
After graduating from Abraham Lincoln High School in 1954, he attended New York University, declining an athletic scholarship. Standing 6’4″ (1.93 m), he was offered the opportunity to play varsity basketball during his college years at NYU, which he declined to concentrate on theater. His high school teacher had encouraged him to audition for a Broadway part, which resulted in his selection for a starring role on Broadway in 1953 from among 200 other actors well before he entered NYU.
 CareerGossett made Broadway history in 1953 when he appeared as a star in Take a Giant Step, which was selected by The New York Times drama critics as one of the 10 best shows of the year. He was 17, and still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, with no formal drama training.
Gossett stepped into the world of cinema in the Sidney Poitier vehicle A Raisin in the Sun in 1961. His role as drill sergeant Emil Foley in the 1982 film An Officer and a Gentleman (opposite Richard Gere) showcased his talent and won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first African-American male to win an Oscar in a supporting role, the second black male to win for acting, and the third African-American actor to win overall. His win ended a 19-year Oscar drought for African-Americans, the second longest in the Academy’s history since Hattie McDaniel’s 1939 win for her supporting role in Gone with the Wind.
In 1986, Gossett starred in another role as a military man in the film Iron Eagle. It was followed by three sequels.
Gossett’s Broadway theatre credits include A Raisin in the Sun (1959), Golden Boy (1964), and Chicago (2002).
He also has performed in other media, including television productions. His Emmy Award-winning role of Fiddler in the 1977 groundbreaking television miniseries Roots first brought Gossett to the audience’s attention. In 1983, he was cast in the title role in Sadat, a miniseries which chronicled the life and assassination of Anwar Sadat. While filming An Officer and a Gentleman, Gossett was also starring in the 1982–1983 science fiction series, The Powers of Matthew Star. He plays the role of fictional U.S. President Gerald Fitzhugh in the movie Left Behind: World at War.
Gossett is the voice of the Vortigaunts in the video game Half-Life 2 (but he did not reprise the role in Half-Life 2: Episode Two) and is the Free Jaffa Leader Gerak in Season 9 of the sci-fi television series Stargate SG-1. He provides the voice of Lucius Fox in The Batman animated series. He recorded several commercials for a Nashville-based diabetic company, AmMed Direct, LLC. In 2008 he filmed the “Keep It Real” series of commercials for the Namibian lager Windhoek.
In 1997, Gossett presented When Animals Attack! 4, a one hour special on Fox. Gossett also co-wrote the antiwar folk song “Handsome Johnny” with Richie Havens.
Gossett portrayed John in the Word of Promise audio bible.
 PhilanthropyIn 2007, Gossett, Jr., was the honored guest and keynote speaker for the alumni hall of fame gala benefiting Boys & Girls Clubs of the Suncoast, St. Petersburg, Florida. Gossett has appeared every year supporting the Boys and Girls Clubs of America. He is an alumnus himself and has continued to work for and with the organization.
Gossett, Jr., also serves on an honorary board for The National World War I Museum in Kansas City.
 Personal life Marriages and familyGossett has been married three times and fathered one son and adopted one son:
His first marriage was to Hattie Glascoe; it was annulled.
His second, to Christina Mangosing, took place on August 21, 1973. Their son Satie was born in 1974. Gossett and Mangosing divorced in 1975.
His third marriage, to Star Search champion Cyndi James-Reese, took place on December 25, 1987. They adopted a son, Sharron (born 1977). Gossett and James-Reese divorced in 1992.
Louis is cousin to TV actor Robert Gossett who stars on TNT’s The Closer.