ACTOR LOUIS GOSSETT JR PASSES AWAY AT AGE 87

Louis Gossett Jr., who won a supporting actor Oscar for playing the hard-as-nails drill instructor in 1982’s “An Officer and a Gentleman” a few years after winning an Emmy for his role as the cunning Fiddler in “Roots,” has died.

He was 87.

The cause of death has not yet been released.

In the movie “An Officer and a Gentleman,” Gossett’s Sgt. Emil Foley memorably drove Richard Gere’s character to the point of near collapse at a Navy flight school. Gossett was the first African American man to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for that role.

In addition to “An Officer and a Gentleman” Gossett is best known for the film “Enemy Mine” (1985), in which he played an alien forced to come to terms with his human enemy when he and an astronaut played by Dennis Quaid find themselves stranded on a planet, and “Iron Eagle” (1986), in which he played an Air Force veteran who helps a young pilot find his father, who has been shot down and captured.

Having first gained widespread attention through his work on the landmark miniseries “Roots,” Gossett starred in another miniseries about slavery, BET’s ‘The Book of Negroes,” in 2015.