An Actor and a Gentleman by Louis Gossett Jr., Phyllis Karas

By Louis Gossett Jr., Phyllis Karas

Award-winning African American actor Lou Gossett Jr. takes an unvarnished examine the daunting demanding situations and very good triumphs of his fifty-five yr careerLouis Gossett Jr. is without doubt one of the most valuable African American degree and monitor actors, who rose to status together with his Emmy-winning function within the tv miniseries Roots and Oscar-winning functionality in An Officer and a Gentleman. Now he tells the tale of his fifty-plus years within the leisure world—from his early luck at the big apple level showing with Ruby Dee and Sidney Poitier in A Raisin within the sunlight, via his lengthy Hollywood profession operating along numerous stars, together with Marilyn Monroe and Dennis Quaid. He writes frankly of his fight to get top roles and reasonable pay as a black guy in Hollywood, his issues of medicines and alcohol that took years to beat, and his present paintings to remove racism and violence and provides our kids a greater future.Includes revealing tales and recollections regarding well-known performers, together with Sidney Poitier, Paul Newman, Shirley sales space, Sammy Davis Jr., Steve McQueen, Richard Gere, Maggie Smith, Halle Berry, and Gena RowlandsSpans part a century of yankee theater and movie historical past, humans, and performancesHighlights the matter of racism in Hollywood and the demanding situations confronted by way of African American actors from the Fifties and Nineteen Sixties onwardAn Actor and a Gentleman penetrates the fame glitz and glamour to provide a good, heartfelt portrayal of the African American adventure either in Hollywood and the recent York theater global, as instructed via one of many nation's such a lot enduring and hugely esteemed actors.

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Not just good, but twice as good. It was repeatedly drilled into me, by my parents and my uncles, that I was the chosen one, the exceptional one. I thought this over many times, trying to understand why this was happening. Why had everybody decided that I was the one who was going to succeed, to rise above everybody else in our family? Maybe because I was good in school and in sports and had lots of friends. I could never figure out the answer to this question, but I did realize early on that this role did not come without responsibilities — and its own share of problems.

Yet the experience I received during that production was award enough. From the moment the summer ended and we went into full rehearsals with Frederick O’Neal and Estelle Helmsley, who played my grandmother, I felt as if I had joined a new family. My greatest thrill was when my own family, my parents and aunts and uncles and cousins, drove into Philadelphia for opening night at the Forest Theatre, where we performed for three and a half weeks before moving to the Lyceum Theatre in New York. On opening night in Philly, the first person to get to my dressing room, even before my parents, was a West Indian black man named Frank Silvera.

We were like the Gas House Bowery Boys, inseparable, totally loyal to one another. In honor of my Jewish friends, I started to take off for the Jewish holidays. I’d spent too many Rosh Hashanahs looking out the window at my Jewish friends playing basketball while I sat in school with three Irish kids and a substitute teacher. One Rosh Hashanah, I joined my friends in the yard. When I went to school the next day, my teacher said, “Why were you absent? ” “I’m in sympathy with the movement,” I answered her, and she seemed to understand.

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