An Inspirational Evening with Louis Gossett Jr.

An Inspirational Evening

An Inspirational Evening with Louis Gossett Jr.

Running Time: 90 mins

Please join film fans and artists for a powerful screening of The Least Among You and an extraordinary evening with the legendary Louis Gossett, Jr. Screening and Award Presentation occurs Tuesday, March 3rd at 7:00pm at the California Theatre.

With a commanding height of 6’4” and a flair for projecting quiet authority, Louis Gossett, Jr. ranks as one of the most respected African-American actors of stage, screen, and television. Known for choosing diverse and challenging roles, his effortless brilliance translates immediately, whether as a landlord, an officer or even as an alien.

Born in Brooklyn, NY, Louis Gossett, Jr. was a basketball player in high school (who later played briefly with the New York Knicks) until a leg injury benched him and his interest turned toward acting. The aspiring actor caught a break at his first Broadway audition for Take A Giant Step (1953), where, beating out 400 other candidates, the then 16-year-old landed the lead and ended up with a Donaldson Award for the year's best newcomer.

His acting career soon flourished and his work in the stage and film versions of the groundbreaking drama about African-American family life in Lorraine Hansberry’s A Raisin in the Sun (1961) proved a watershed. This led to numerous appearances on network series in the 1960s and 70s culminating in 1977, when he picked up an Emmy for his eloquent portrayal of Fiddler in the landmark ABC miniseries Roots.

Meanwhile, his big screen reputation grew with critically acclaimed work in such comedies as The Landlord (1970), The Skin Game (1971), Travels with My Aunt (1972) and the film adaptation of the Tony Award-winning drama The River Niger (1975). A riveting performance as a drug-dealing cutthroat stalking Nick Nolte and Jacqueline Bisset in The Deep (1977) catapulted him to wider popularity, but the tough by-the-book drill sergeant in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) won him a Best Supporting Oscar that solidified his place in the Hollywood hierarchy.

Following his Oscar, he made numerous big screen and television appearances, being singled out for his work as Egyptian president Anwar Sadat in Sadat (1983), the sci-fi adventure Enemy Mine (1985) where his lizard-like makeup won kudos, and in the action adventure series Iron Eagle (1985-1995) which introduced him to a whole new generation of moviegoers.

Continuing to captivate audiences with an instinctive approach to character, Louis Gossett, Jr. superbly portrayed a down-and-out boxer in Diggstown (1991) and a heroic headmaster in Toy Soldiers (1991) and gave well thought-out and nuanced performances in such socially themed projects as To Dance with Olivia(1997), and the critically acclaimed Jasper, Texas (2003).

The recipient of every known acting accolade, including multiple Golden Globes, Emmys, and People’s Choice Awards, his performances have connected him with his fans on a global scale. Organizations such as the NAACP, CARE, and the United States Armed Forces have used his likeness to add validity and integrity to their causes.

In 2006, he also founded and developed the Eracism Foundation, a nonprofit organization aimed at creating entertainment that helps bring awareness and education to issues such as racism, ignorance, and societal apathy. With a vast and breathtaking career, Louis Gossett, Jr. continues to find roles that mean something to us all, and it is not just his work as an artist that inspires, but also his efforts to make us better, to empower people, and to transform our lives.