Oscar-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. died of a lung condition, according to his death certificate obtained by TMZ. The actor died in Santa Monica on March 29 at the age of 87.

According to the report, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), was the main cause of death, TMZ says, with heart failure and atrial fibrillation contributing factors.

A cause of death was not known at the time of Gossett’s passing last month.

His family announced the death in a statement on March 29: “It is with our heartfelt regret to confirm our beloved father passed away this morning.” It continued, “We would like to thank everyone for their condolences at this time. Please respect the family’s privacy during this difficult time.”

The first Black actor to win a Best Supporting Oscar, Gossett was born on May 27, 1936, in Brooklyn. He made his stage debut at 17 in a school production of You Can’t Take It with You and soon would successfully audition for the Broadway production Take a Giant Step, then perform in a star-making supporting role in the hit A Raisin in the Sun (1959). He’d reprise his Raisin role of George Murchison, the college suitor of the play’s rebellious Beneatha, in the 1961 film adaptation directed by Daniel Petrie.

His TV career began in earnest with late-1960s appearances in such series as The Invaders and Daktari, with early-’70s appearances continuing in Bonanza, Longstreet, The Mod Squad and Good Times.

But his major, signature TV role arrived in 1977 when he played the character Fiddler in the much-praised and hugely influential Roots. He won an Emmy for the performance, cementing a TV career that would continue all but uninterrupted through 2019, when he had a regular role on Watchmen. The latter earned Gossett his 7th Emmy nomination.

His film work included The Landlord, Skin Game, The Deep, The Choirboys and Jaws 3D, but it was his performance as Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley opposite Richard Gere’s new recruit Zack Mayo in An Officer and a Gentleman that earned him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He also won a Golden Globe for the performance.

Greg Evans contributed to this report.



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