How did actor Lou Gossett Jr. get his start in acting?
—Anna H., Texas
Born in the Coney Island section of Brooklyn, N.Y., Lou Gossett Jr., 65, excelled in high school academics and lettered in three sports, including basketball. While sidelined with an injury, a drama teacher suggested he take a shot at acting in the school production of You Can't Take It With You. He was so riveting onstage that the teacher suggested he audition for an open casting call on Broadway for the production of Take a Giant Step. The 17-year-old beat out 400 others for the part, and his performance won him the Donaldson Award for best newcomer in the theater. Gossett attended New York University on a scholarship and starred in several productions. He was invited to try out for the New York Knicks at the same time he won a Broadway role with Sidney Poitier in A Raisin in the Sun. He chose the play. Gossett has been alternating between film, television, and theater ever since. He won an Emmy for his supporting role in Roots and a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his work in An Officer and a Gentleman.