*Louis Gossett Jr. has been acting for nearly 70 years, and the Academy Award winner is showing no signs of letting up. Gossett Jr., 84, tells Michelle Miller in an interview for CBS SUNDAY MORNING that he’s continuing to hone his craft.
“I used to think about retiring,” Gossett Jr. tells Miller in an interview to be broadcast Sunday, July 19 (9:00 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. “As long as I’m here, there is a job to do for the benefit of us all, for what it’s worth.”
In a wide-ranging interview, Gossett Jr. talks with Miller, co-host of CBS THIS MORNING: SATURDAY, about his start in acting, his childhood and his first brush with racism in Hollywood.
Gossett Jr. started out with dreams of being a doctor or an athlete until a high school English teacher saw something else in him. The teacher suggested he try acting, and led him to audition for a Broadway show. He got the part. He was just 17. At age 23, he was in the original cast of “A Raisin in the Sun.” That led to his agent landing him a role on a television show in production in Los Angeles.
The production set him up with a Ford Fairlane 500. He took it for a ride. He was soon pulled over by police. He explained who he was and why he was there. He says they made him sit on a curb. After 25 minutes, they let him go. He was then pulled over again.
“Now the boss is there with big belly,” he says. “‘Get out.’ Now I’m on the ground in front of my own car. They’re still looking for something. Another 15 minutes. … They came back and handcuffed me to a tree for three hours. 1966.”
Gossett Jr. says what he experienced then has echoes of what is happening now.
“We need each other so desperately that the – that conflict, the putting – a knee over a man’s neck or lynching a man back in the old days, or setting fire to them is so self-destructive for mankind,” Gossett Jr. says. “And so I had to make a peace. But it’s coexistence. But we have to learn how to take better care of ourselves and one another. Otherwise, nobody’s going to win anything. We need each other quite desperately for our mutual salvation.”
CBS SUNDAY MORNING is broadcast Sundays (9:00-10:30 AM, ET) on the CBS Television Network. Rand Morrison is the executive producer.