An Actor and a Gentleman

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Overview

An unvarnished account of a stellar career in interesting times

From his days as a teenage Broadway star through his prominent role in Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Louis Gossett Jr. has always had an unusual perch from which to view American life. In An Actor and a Gentleman, he uses that unique perspective to create a smart, funny, and bittersweet memoir of his career and of the many changes, positive or not, that have reshaped America during his extraordinary life.

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Overview

An unvarnished account of a stellar career in interesting times

From his days as a teenage Broadway star through his prominent role in Barack Obama's presidential campaign, Louis Gossett Jr. has always had an unusual perch from which to view American life. In An Actor and a Gentleman, he uses that unique perspective to create a smart, funny, and bittersweet memoir of his career and of the many changes, positive or not, that have reshaped America during his extraordinary life.

"Lou Gossett Jr., one of America's most repected actors, has placed both his highly praised career and the story of his life between the covers of a book. He stands tall in both instances."
Sidney Poitier

"Bold, original, defiant, and uplifting, Academy Award–winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. has written a compelling memoir alternating between struggle and progress. Whether you read it and weep, or read it and cheer, it is a great read and a must-read! Every woman, man, and child will be overwhelmed by Gossett's ability to overcome adversity and to become a true leader in the twenty-first century. Read this book. It will change your life."
Charles J. Ogletree Jr., professor, Harvard Law School, and author of All Deliberate Speed, When Law Fails, and The Presumption of Guilt: The Arrest of Henry Louis Gates

"What an amazing story . . . what an amazing book! You certainly have been 'there' and back. Thanks, Lou, for sharing your story with me. It's a treasure!"
James Garner

"You've always exceeded every expectation as an Actor, and as a Gentleman you have inspired young and old. Through all the generations we have lived together, you have brought me much joy and laughter and enriched my life. I love you, man!"
Hilly Elkins, long-time theater and film producer

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  • An Actor and a Gentleman
    An Actor and a Gentleman  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Today, it's hard to imagine the world Gossett Jr. inhabited during much of his acting and music career: driving to a Hollywood movie studio in a convertible in 1968, he was stopped eight times by police who assumed he had stolen the car (a similar event would occur in 1986); during that same period, while his white co-stars stayed at swank hotels, he checked in at a fleabag Washington Boulevard motel that was one of the few to admit blacks. It's a testament to Gossett's perseverance and faith in his fellow human beings that he is not bitter, but rather has devoted time and money to developing "The Eracism Foundation," an organization devoted to cultural diversity and ending racism. Gossett looks back on an impressive career that includes his Oscar-winning role in An Officer and a Gentleman and Emmy-winning work in Roots, but also a lifelong struggle with alcohol and drugs. For all his eventful recollections, however, Gossett's tone is strangely flat, robbing his memoir of emotional resonance and making it a bit of a chore to get through.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780470574713
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 5/3/2010
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

LOUIS GOSSETT JR. is one of the most respected African American actors of stage, screen, and television. He made his Broadway debut at age seventeen in Take a Giant Step, winning the Donaldson Award as the year's best newcomer. His Emmy-winning 1977 performance in the landmark miniseries Roots made him a star, and in 1982 he won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in An Officer and a Gentleman. In 2006 he started Eracism, a foundation dedicated to eradicating racism, violence, and ignorance and especially to creating programs to give children at risk a helping hand. He was heavily involved in campaigning for Barack Obama, especially raising money and involving other celebrities in the campaign.

PHYLLIS KARAS is a professor at Boston University's School of Journalism and has written several books, including the New York Times bestseller Brutal: The Untold Story of My Life Inside Whitey Bulger's Irish Mob and The Onassis Women.

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Table of Contents

Foreword Christopher Lawford vii

Acknowledgments xi

1 The Bubble Burst: Hollywood, 1968 1

2 Twice as Good: 1936-1952 19

3 The Beatnik Years: 1954-1959 55

4 Hooked on Theater: 1959-1963 81

5 Finding My Place: 1964-1967 110

6 More Like Home: 1967-1970 133

7 A Rock and a Hard Place: 1970-1974 149

8 Fatherhood: 1974-1980 170

9 An Officer and a Gentleman: 1981-1983 184

10 The Eyes of a Lizard: 1983-1985 196

11 Losing Love: 1985-1992 214

12 Dodging the Bullet: 1992-1993 235

13 Six Months to Live: 1993-2001 247

14 No, Thanks: 2001-2004 255

15 Putting the Demons to Rest: July 4, 2004 263

16 Eracism: January 5, 2006 271

Photo Credits 299

Index 301

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 19, 2011

    Great Actor, flawed human..but aren't we all

    A great actor with very poor decision making skills. Consequently, he vacillated back and forth between marginal behavior and appalling behavior. I expected more from a person from a two-parent home whose parents were hard-working, but I think the disconnect occurred when the parents, mistakenly, decided their son would be better off if they could just get to that white neighborhood. Many people of color make that mistake. Louis suffered as a result. His life was convoluted, he made horrible decisions, and payed a dear price to get to the age he is. I still respect his work as an actor and I wish him well in the rest of his life. A very revealing bio about a highly respected actor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 29, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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