Louis Gossett Jr. on legendary career: 'God’s in charge'

Academy Award winner Louis Gossett Jr. is back on the big screen, co-starring in the new movie musical adaptation of "The Color Purple."

The Georgia-made film — produced by Hollywood heavyweights including Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, and Quincy Jones — is winning rave reviews and garnering major awards buzz for its talented cast.

"It’s just lightning in a bottle; it’s just perfect," says Gossett about the acclaim. "To be included in that group — from Steven Spielberg, etc. — is a blessing. Once I’m included, it doesn’t matter what I’m going to do in it, I’m part of the ‘in crowd!’ And you roll your sleeves up and give it your all. You leave it on the floor."

Which is what the actor has been doing since his film debut in the 1961 classic "A Raisin in the Sun." Gossett’s screen successes include his Emmy-winning turn as "Fiddler" in the 1977 blockbuster miniseries "Roots," and his barrier-breaking Academy Award win for "An Officer and a Gentleman." Gossett became the first Black actor to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar — doing so in a crowded field of talent.

"More than the Oscar, it’s a ‘welcome to the world,’" says the actor. "James Mason, Robert Preston — great actors — Charles Durning, all of them. For them to put me on their shoulders, it’s God’s work. I appreciate God, number one … God’s in charge."

"The Color Purple" is open in theaters nationwide now, and Louis Gossett Jr. will next be featured in the John Krasinski film "IF," set for release in 2024.