Louis Gossett Jr. has passed away. He was 87.

Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born on May 27th, 1936 in Coney Island, Brooklyn, New York City. He made his stage debut at the age of 17. Shortly thereafter, he successfully auditioned for the Broadway play Take a Giant Step.

Gossett continued acting onstage in critically acclaimed plays including A Raisin in the Sun (1959), The Blacks (1961), Tambourines to Glory (1963), and The Zulu and the Zayda (1965). In 1977, Gossett appeared in the famed miniseries Roots, for which he won Outstanding Lead Actor for a Single Appearance in a Drama or Comedy Series at the Emmy Awards.

He won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1982 for his role as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer And A Gentleman, becoming the first black actor to win in this category.

He worked steadily, but for Outposters of a certain age it is almost certainly two roles that stick in your mind and are close to your hearts.

One of these is Air Force Reserve Colonel Charles “Chappy” Sinclair in Iron Eagle. The other is a role where he single-handedly grabs a particular shakey sequel by the scruff of the neck and elevates every scene he is in, regardless of the ridiculousness around him – Calvin Bouchard in Jaws 3-D.

He also appeared as Henri Cloche in The Deep, Dean Parker in Toy Soldiers, Detective Jake Berkowitz in The Punisher, and Ol’Mister in the recent The Color Purple.

He had countless TV appearances including Watchmen, Hap and Leonard, Stargate SG-1, Extant, Captain Planet and the Planeteers, and The Young Rebels.

Gossett Jr.’s nephew confirmed the news to The Associated Press, indicating that the actor passed away Thursday evening in Santa Monica. No specific cause of death was revealed.

Rest in peace Chappy.

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