Louis Gossett was born on May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York. In 1953, while still a student at Abraham Lincoln High School, Gossett made his professional acting debut in the Broadway play Take a Giant Step, which was named one of the 10 best shows of the year by The New York Times. After graduating high school, Gossett attended New York University, where he turned down an athletic scholarship to focus on his theater studies. Gossett made his film acting debut in A Raisin in the Sun, which starred Sidney Poitier, and gained acclaim and an Emmy Award for his role as Fiddler in the groundbreaking TV miniseries Roots. Gossett won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his role as drill sergeant Emil Foley opposite Richard Gere in An Officer and a Gentleman. In addition to starring in a plethora of theatrical films, including Iron Eagle, Enemy Mine, Jaws 3-D and Toy Soldiers, Gossett has appeared in a number of TV shows and Broadway plays.