I pretty much worshipped Louis Gossett, Jr. all my life, and I really wish I could have somehow seen him play “George Murchison” in the 1959 Broadway production of “A Raisin in the Sun,” when he was 23.

Gossett was arguably one of the handsomest actors to ever punch through to the big time, and definitely the best-looking and glowing-est actor of color within the frame of the 20th Century. And man, I sat up and took notice when I saw him in The Landlord, Skin Game (costarring with James Garner), The Laughing Policeman, The White Dawn and Sadat, the 1983 four-hour miniseries. Not to mention “Fiddler”in Roots.

And I really felt badly for the poor guy when he put on that lizard-skin makeup and costarred with Dennis Quaid in Wolfgang Petersen‘s Enemy Mine. which many were making jokes about as they left the Los Angeles all-media screening in late ’85. I remember exiting through the crowded middle aisle and doing my imitation of Gossett’s reptilian, gurgly-ass speaking voice.

But let’s cut to the chase. Gossett’s career-defining role was Marine Gunnery Sergeant Emil Foley in Taylor Hackford‘s An Officer and a Gentleman (’82), which landed him a well-deserved Best Supporting Actor Oscar. Peter Fonda‘s most famous line was “we blew it.” Clark Gable‘s was “frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.” Gossett’s was “I want your D.O.R….D.O.R.!” Foley is, was and always will be the greatest-of-all-time movie drill sergeant, and yes, that means he was better than Lee Ermey. Gossett was 45 or thereabouts when he gave that performance.

Gossett passed earlier today in Santa Monica at age 87.