Louis Cameron Gossett Jr. was born on May 27, 1936 in Brooklyn, New York City. He made his professional acting debut at age 17, winning the Donaldson Award as best newcomer to theatre. He went to New York University on a basketball scholarship and was invited to try out for the New York Knicks, yet he decided to continue his acting career with a role in the Broadway production of A Raisin in the Sun. Gossett stepped into the world in cinema in the Sidney Poitier version of A Raisin in the Sun (1961). His role as the tough drill sergeant Emil Foley in An Officer and a Gentleman (1982) showcased his talent and won him an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. He was the first African-American male to win an Academy Award in a supporting role, the second to win for acting, and the third to win overall. He also starred as United States Air Force pilot Colonel Charles Chappy Sinclair in the action film Iron Eagle (1986) and its sequels.