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 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 8:53 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

He sure made quite an impact in the 1980s in some high profile roles, including of course his Academy Award winning role in AN OFFICER AND GENTLEMAN. May he rest in peace.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 9:48 AM   
 By:   Indy1981   (Member)

Gossett and Isaac Hayes were brilliant together in their back-door pilot in an episode of The Rockford Files.

I admire actors like Gossett who work in not always classic countless productions, which I prefer to picky actors who win an award and then make themselves unavailable and irrelevant because of it.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 10:32 AM   
 By:   Nicolai P. Zwar   (Member)

Yes, he was always reliable. Even if it was a clunky film like JAWS III, he was always great to see. He had a cool aura, every movie, especially the bad ones, became better just because Louis Gossett Jr. was in it.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 10:43 AM   
 By:   First Breath   (Member)

Sad news. I remember him best from 1994's FLASHFIRE, where he acted alongside Billy Zane.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 10:45 AM   
 By:   Adam.   (Member)

"Fall in, you slimy worms!!" (An Officer & a Gentleman)

RIP, good sir.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 11:18 AM   
 By:   Clark Wayne   (Member)

Met him once, in Milton Keynes of all places. Have his autograph on an Enemy Mine still. A very cool guy.

RIP, Jeriba Shigan.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 12:45 PM   
 By:   Bill Carson, Earl of Poncey   (Member)

Shame. Didnt realise he was 87. I noticed him first in comedy western Skin Game with James Garner, and then The Choirboys. Always liked him. Had his own unique style he perfected.

 Posted:   Mar 29, 2024 - 3:44 PM   
 By:   Solium   (Member)

Always a solid actor. RIP.

 Posted:   Apr 1, 2024 - 9:48 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The title of Lorraine Hansberry’s play, and subsequent screenplay, was derived from the following lines of the Langston Hughes poem Harlem: “What happens to a dream deferred?/ Does it dry up/ like A RAISIN IN THE SUN?” Its 11 March 1959 debut marked the first time a play written by an African-American woman was produced on Broadway. The show opened to critical acclaim, and less than a month later, it was optioned by Columbia Pictures, who paid $300,000 for film rights, and an additional $50,000 to Hansberry to adapt the screenplay. The play won the New York Drama Critics Circle award for Best American Play of the season.

The story was partly based on Lorraine Hansberry’s real-life experience as a child growing up in Chicago. Like the fictional “Younger” family, the Hansberrys purchased a home in the predominantly white neighborhood of Woodlawn, where residents invoked a racially restrictive covenant in an attempt to force them out. With the aid of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Hansberry’s father sued, and the case of Hansberry v. Lee was ultimately decided in his favor by the U.S. Supreme Court. Hansberry wrote A RAISIN IN THE SUN roughly twenty years later, in the midst of the Civil Rights Movement, at the age of twenty-six. She was quoted as saying, “I wrote it… one night, after seeing a play I won’t mention, I suddenly became disgusted with a whole body of material about Negroes. Cardboard characters. Cute dialect. Or hip-swinging musicals from exotic scores.”

Although the 6 March 1960 New York Times (NYT) claimed that Hansberry had recently completed a screen treatment, producer David Susskind stated in an interview in the 17 July 1960 NYT: “We’ve violated every tenet of screen production. We took no screen tests, wrote no film treatment, and we didn’t consider Sammy Davis Jr. and Earth Kitt for the leads.” Susskind collaborated on the project with first-time film producer Philip Rose, who had produced the Broadway show with funding from an estimated 147 independent investors.

The original stage cast, most of whom reprised their roles in the film, took part in a protest rally against racial segregation outside Woolworth’s at Times Square on 8 June 1960. The only four actors who did not reprise their roles were: Lonne Elder, III, who was replaced by Joel Fluellen; Glynn Turman, who was replaced by Stephen Perry; Ed Hall; and Douglas Turner.

Sidney Poitier, who played “Walter Lee Younger” in both the original play and film, had reportedly renounced pictures “that utilize conflict between races as themes,” as quoted in the 29 November 1959 Los Angeles Times. In the story, Walter, “Ruth Younger” (Ruby Dee), their son “Travis” (Stephen Perry), along with Walter's mother “Lena (Claudia McNeil), and younger sister “Beneatha” (Diana Sands), live in poverty in a run-down two-bedroom apartment on Chicago's South Side. Beneatha's character and direction in life are influenced by two different men who are potentially love interests: her wealthy and educated boyfriend “George Murchison” (Louis Gossett, Jr.), and “Joseph Asagai” (Ivan Dixon), a student from Nigeria. A RAISIN IN THE SUN marked Lou Gossett’s feature film debut.

Sidney Poitier and Louis Gossett, Jr. in A RAISIN IN THE SUN

Fifteen percent of the picture was to be filmed in Chicago, with the remainder to be staged at Columbia Studios in Los Angeles. Exterior shooting at a West Side Chicago home prompted backlash from white neighbors, who contacted the homeowner, fearing they were planning to sell the house to “Negroes.” The ordeal mimicked not only the screenplay but Hansberry’s real-life experience in the late 1930s, and resulted in cast and crew being forced out of the neighborhood. Bigotry also affected filmmakers when a national fraternity refused to allow a character to be depicted as a member, and the University of Chicago stipulated that production could only take place on its grounds if the institution’s name was not used.

Paul Weatherwax was the initial film editor, but he died of a heart attack on 13 September 1960, before the picture was completed. Director Daniel Petrie subsequently flew from New York City to Los Angeles to begin working on the edit. He oversaw the cutting of fifteen minutes, to achieve a 128-minute running time. William A. Lyon was credited as film editor, in addition to Weatherwax. The recording of Laurence Rosenthal’s score began at Columbia Studios in late November 1960. Intrada released the score in 2010.

Columbia financed the $1.5 million budget, despite considering the material risky. The studio expected they would have to “write off most of the Southern market because of the Negro theme.” Publicity was handled by the independent firm of Kaiser, Sedlow & Temple, evidencing the recent phenomenon of studios outsourcing advertising campaigns. The film had a domestic gross of $3.4 million.

The picture opened on 29 March 1961 at the Forum Theatre and Trans-Lux 52nd Street Theatre in New York City. It later screened on 13 May 1961 as one of the U.S. entries to the Cannes Film Festival. It received largely positive reviews and was lauded by Hansberry, who deemed the film “more effective than the play” in a note of congratulations to Columbia chief Sam Briskin. In 2005, the film was added to the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry. The following year, it was ranked #65 on AFI’s “100 Years… 100 Cheers” list of the most inspiring films of all time.

 Posted:   Apr 2, 2024 - 11:06 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

During the 1960s, Louis Gossett, Jr. appeared mainly on stage, making the occasional guest star appearance on television shows. In 1968, he appeared in one of the earlier made-for-television movies, COMPANIONS IN NIGHTMARE. The story is built around group therapy, with six people gathering to air their various disturbances. One of these individuals is a psychotic, which we discover after he kills one, then another of the group. Finding out who it is requires a minute examination of each member by the two doctors conducting the session. Melvyn Douglas and Leslie Nielsen play the doctors, with Anne Baxter, Gig Young, Dana Wynter, Patrick O’Neal, William Redfield, and Bettye Ackerman as the group. Louis Gossett, Jr. plays “Detective McKay.”

Norman Lloyd directed the mystery, which aired on NBC on 23 November 1968. The film marked the only TV movie scored by Bernard Herrmann. The score has not been released. The film itself may be lost, with the Universal production not being seen since a 1991 airing on Canadian television.

 Posted:   Apr 3, 2024 - 12:44 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Louis Gossett traveled to Tanzania to film THE BUSHBABY, a UK-financed film set in Kenya. It was his first co-starring role and his first poster credit. In the film, “Jackie Leeds” (Margaret Leclere, billed as Margaret Brooks), vacationing with her father (Donald Houston) in Africa, is given a bushbaby as a gift. She falls in love with the tiny, screaming beast and plans to take it back with her to England. As her ship leaves port, Brooks hops off the boat, hoping to leave the bushbaby in its natural home. Having missed the ship, Brooks and the little animal are helped by their former servant, “Tembo” (Gossett), who agrees to accompany them on a trip across Africa, a journey that will link up Jackie with one of her father's friends. When local authorities assume that Jackie has been kidnapped by Tembo, he becomes a wanted man. Racist whites and white slavers pursue the girl, Tembo, and the animal.

Louis Gossett, Jr. and Margaret Brooks in THE BUSHBABY

John Trent directed this 1969 family film, which saw a limited release in the U.S in 1970. Les Reed provided the unreleased score.

 Posted:   Apr 3, 2024 - 12:52 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE LANDLORD tells the story of an affluent young man, “Elgar Enders” (Beau Bridges), who purchases a tenement brownstone in Brooklyn with the intention of converting it into a swinging bachelor pad with all the necessary psychedelic trappings. What he doesn’t anticipate is the opposition he faces from his current black tenants. Diana Sands costars as “Fanny,” who has an ill-fated affair with Elgar. Louis Gossett, Jr. is “Copee,” Fanny’s enraged husband. Marki Bey is “Lanie,” a mulatto artist dancer who becomes Elgar’s girlfriend, and Pearl Bailey is “Marge,” the resident fortune teller who introduces Elgar to soul food.

Beau Bridges and Louis Gossett, Jr. in THE LANDLORD

Diana Sands and Lou Gossett had previously appeared together in A RAISIN IN THE SUN. Hal Ashby made his directorial debut with THE LANDLORD. Ashby had been the editor for producer Norman Jewison on four of Jewison’s prior films, including IN THE HEAT OF THE NIGHT (1967), for which Ashby won an Academy Award for his editing. Al Kooper scored and wrote four songs for the 1970 film. The soundtrack was released on a United Artists LP, but has not been reissued on CD. The $2 million production received good reviews, but had below average grosses of $2.6 million.

 Posted:   Apr 4, 2024 - 3:30 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

The western comedy SKIN GAME is set in 1857, when con man “Quincy Drew” (James Garner) and his black friend “Jason O'Rourke” (Louis Gossett, Jr.) swindle slave owners into buying Jason, who's a free man, and later share the profits when Jason escapes captivity.

James Garner and Louis Gossett, Jr. in SKIN GAME

Director Paul Bogart was replaced by Gordon Douglas for two to three weeks after Bogart contracted hepatitis. The NAACP protested the 1971 film after learning that Louis Gossett, Jr.'s stunt double was a white man in blackface. SKIN GAME marked the first time that James Garner had returned to work on the Warner Bros. lot in more than ten years, following his leaving the television series “Maverick.” David Shire’s score for the film has not had a release. The film had decent grosses of $6.7 million domestically.

 Posted:   Apr 5, 2024 - 1:57 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Among Louis Gossett’s many television guest star appearances in the early 1970s was a first-season episode of the police series “The Rookies”. In “Covenant with Death,” against the advice of their lieutenant, Officers “Terry Webster” (Georg Stanford Brown) and “Willie Gillis” (Michael Ontkean) are charmed by “Toby Jones” (Louis Gossett, Jr.) who leads an evangelical church fighting drug use. When Gillis spots Jones fleeing a bust at a heroin house, he uncovers Jones' criminal history.

Louis Gossett, Jr. in “The Rookies,” “Covenant with Death”

Leonard J. Horn directed the episode, the fifth in the series, which aired on ABC on 8 October 1972. Elmer Bernstein scored the episode as well as provided the theme for the series.

 Posted:   Apr 6, 2024 - 12:08 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Maggie Smith and Alec McCowen co-starred in the 1972 comedy-adventure TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT. McCowen plays stodgy banker "Henry Pulling," who gets involved in the zany adventures of his aunt, "Augusta Bertram" (Smith), a flamboyant, redheaded septuagenarian. Louis Gossett, Jr. plays Augusta’s current lover, an African fortune teller named “Wordsworth.”

Louis Gossett, Jr. in TRAVELS WITH MY AUNT

George Cukor directed the film. Gossett called Cukor "The consummate director and a filmmaking genius. He kept shooting until he got it right. He knew when to say something to you, and he knew when to leave you alone. He was always one step ahead of everyone."

The score by Tony Hatch has not had a release. The $3.2 million production was a minor loser at the box office.

 Posted:   Apr 8, 2024 - 9:51 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

When one victim in a San Francisco mass murder is a police detective, his partner “Jake Martin” (Walter Matthau) and new partner “Leo Larsen” (Bruce Dern) investigate in THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN. Louis Gossett, Jr. co-starred as fellow detective “Larrimore” in the film.

Bruce Dern and Louis Gossett, Jr. in THE LAUGHING POLICEMAN

Stuart Rosenberg directed the 1973 film, which was mainly shot on location in San Francisco. Charles Fox's score did not get a release. The film did modest business, with a $5.3 million U.S. gross.

 Posted:   Apr 8, 2024 - 11:25 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE was the story of baseball player Roy Campanella (Paul Winfield) of the Brooklyn Dodgers. Based in part on his 1960 autobiography of the same name, it explored his role in integrating baseball, his own professional rise, and the physical and emotional work of recovery he had to undergo after the devastating 1958 auto accident that left him paralyzed from the shoulders down. Ruby Dee played Campanella’s wife “Ruthe,” and Louis Gossett, Jr. played “Sam Brockington,” his physical therapist.

Louis Gossett, Jr. and Paul Winfield in IT’S GOOD TO BE ALIVE

Michael Landon made his television movie directing debut with the film, which aired on CBS on 22 February 1974. Michel Legrand provided the unreleased score.

 Posted:   Apr 9, 2024 - 11:41 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Producer Martin Ransohoff first read James Houston’s novel THE WHITE DAWN in early 1970 and purchased the film rights within two days. After Ransohoff left Filmways and signed an exclusive development deal with Paramount Pictures, THE WHITE DAWN became the first project he produced under that deal.

Set in 1896, the film focused on three survivors of a whaling ship-wreck in the Canadian Arctic: “Billy” (Warren Oates), “Daggett” (Timothy Bottoms), and “Portagee” (Louis Gossett, Jr.). After they are saved and adopted by an Eskimo tribe, frictions arise when the three start misbehaving.

Timothy Bottoms, Warren Oates, and Louis Gossett, Jr. in THE WHITE DAWN

Shooting took place on Baffin Island, Nunavut, Canada. Cast and crew stayed in Frobisher Bay, “a bleak and ramshackle frontier settlement,” according to production notes. There, two high rise structures built by an American company that included apartments, a hotel, a post office, and a shopping mall, served as the residence for cast and crew. For production headquarters, an abandoned compound once used by the Canadian Air Force was transformed, including the addition of two sound stages to be used for interiors. The first four weeks of photography took place “four miles out on the frozen surface of Frobisher Bay,” and travel to the set took one hour via dog sleds and snowmobiles. Production then moved some miles outside town to a river called the Ikhalulik Sylvia Grenelle.

Simonie Kopapik, the actor who played “Sarkak,” was an Inuit hunter who had saved James Houston twenty years prior when the novelist was stranded on a dog sled journey near Cape Dorset. It was important to Houston that only Inuits were cast opposite the three lead actors, and director Philip Kaufman later described the Inuit performers who populated the cast as “simply the best natural actors [he’d] ever encountered.”

Upon its initial release, Movie Report advised readers to ignore the film’s [R] rating, a first for the publication. The New York Times’ Vincent Canby also spoke out against the R-rating, describing it as “absurd and a waste,” in his 22 July 1974 review. The film was re-rated from [R] to [PG] by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), six weeks after it first opened in theaters. In order to achieve the PG, Ransohoff was made to remove six seconds of footage from a love scene that takes place atop a mountain.

Henry Mancini’s score for the 1974 film was released by Intrada in 2013. The budget for the critically acclaimed film was $1.7 million, and the picture had a modest domestic gross of $2.8 million.

 Posted:   Apr 10, 2024 - 9:51 AM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

THE RIVER NIGER was based on the Tony Award-winning 1973 play of the same name by Joseph A. Walker. It’s an intimate look at life in the ghetto: “Johnny Williams” (James Earl Jones) is a house painter who moonlights as a poet, struggling to financially and emotionally support his cancer-ridden wife “Mattie” (Cicely Tyson). But times are tough, and the poverty-troubled streets are even tougher, particularly after Johnny’s son “Jeff” (Glynn Turman), just home from the Air Force, sees his old friend “Mo Hayes” (Roger E. Mosley), who has a bunch of followers primed for revolution. Louis Gossett, Jr. plays Johnny’s close friend, Jamaican physician “Dr. Dudley Stanton,” who purchases Johnny's poems while treating Mattie.

Producer Sidney Beckerman purchased the rights to the play from the Negro Ensemble Company for an undisclosed amount, reported at “well into six figures.” Beckerman was frustrated when soliciting funds for the production, despite his prior record of successful films. He explained that the film industry was unreceptive to quality African-American films, not because of overt racism, but because of inadequate sales strategies and the belief that such films had limited commercial appeal.

Cicely Tyson, James Earl Jones, and Louis Gossett accepted reduced salaries in exchange for shares of the profits, and several members of the cast and crew offered to work for less than their standard rate. Regarding the crew, Jones stated, “We would have hired more blacks, but it was shocking to find how few blacks there are in the unions.”

Although major studios originally rejected THE RIVER NIGER, after the film was produced, they competed for the distribution rights. Cine Artists Pictures was announced as worldwide distributor in February 1976. The film cost approximately $750,000 to produce, but bombed at the U.S. box office, grossing just $200,000.

The film’s score was by the funk group War. Although the posters for the film promised an Original Motion Picture Soundtrack Album on United Artists Records and Tapes, no such album was forthcoming, probably because of the film’s poor performance at the box office. Instead, War released some music from the film as part of their 1977 two-LP compilation release “Platinum Jazz.” That album was on the Blue Note label, which was manufactured and distributed by UA.

 Posted:   Apr 11, 2024 - 10:47 PM   
 By:   Bob DiMucci   (Member)

Murdered on Bourbon Street in 1942 New Orleans, gangster “J.D. Walker” (David McKnight) returns from the dead 34 years later, possessing the body of young, black law student “Isaac” (Glynn Turman) in his quest for J.D.’S REVENGE against his killer, the now “Reverend Elija Bliss” (Louis Gossett, Jr.).

Louis Gossett, Jr. in J.D.’S REVENGE

Arthur Marks produced and directed this 1976 horror blaxploitation film. Robert Prince provided the unreleased score. The film grossed a healthy $7.3 million domestically.

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