Jacob Mendez
Jacob Mendez

Taylor Hackford remembers Louis Gossett Jr. “I hired him on the spot”

“The role of Sergeant Foley in 'Officer and Gentleman' it was written for a white actor. When I visited the Naval Officer Training Center in Pensacola, Florida, I noticed that many of the instructors had different skin colors. “I found it interesting that blacks and Latinos influence whether white recruits become officers or jet pilots,” the director recalled.

“Then I changed the casting guidelines for Sergeant Foley and started talking to black actors. Lou Gossett came along – I knew and admired his work on stage. He told me that he had served in the US Army, so in addition to being an established actor, he was familiar with military life. I hired him on the spot,” he continued Hackford.

“The Sergeant Foley he created Lou Gossett, was the first black hero in cinema history to have complete power over white characters. The Academy appreciated his committed performance, awarding him an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. He fully deserved it,” concluded the director of “An Officer and a Gentleman.”

Gossett Jr. died March 29, 2024. His nephew confirmed the news of his death in an interview with the Associated Press. The actor's cause of death was not announced. It is known that he has been suffering from prostate cancer since 2010. His filmography ended with “The Color Purple”, which appeared on the HBO Max streaming platform in April.