March 29, 2024 – The pressures and disappointments became so great he sank into depression and became addicted to cocaine and alcohol. He said police handcuffed him to a tree for three hours because he looked suspicious driving a luxury sports car and blasting Sam Cooke on the radio.Mr. Gossett led an anti-racism foundation called Eracism. He won an Oscar playing a Marine drill instructor in ‘An Officer and a Gentleman’ and an Emmy as a wise old enslaved person in the groundbreaking miniseries ‘Roots’

Louis Gossett Jr., an actor who brought authority to hundreds of screen roles, winning an Oscar as a Marine drill instructor in “An Officer and a Gentleman” and an Emmy Award as a wise, older guide to the enslaved Kunta Kinte in the groundbreaking miniseries “Roots,” died March 29 at a rehabilitation center in Santa Monica, Calif. He was 87.

His first cousin Neal L. Gossett confirmed the death but said he did not know the immediate cause. In recent years, Louis Gossett Jr. battled prostate cancer and respiratory illness caused by toxic mold in his former home in Malibu, Calif.

In a career spanning nearly seven decades, Mr. Gossett became one of the most recognizable actors of his generation. With his gleaming shaved skull and the sinewy 6-foot-3 physique of a former college basketball player, he brimmed with magnetism.