Colman Domingo Recalls Emotional Final Moment with Louis Gossett Jr. on Set: 'He Had Tears in His Eyes'

The late Louis Gossett Jr. starred opposite Colman Domingo in last year’s ‘The Color Purple’ movie musical

<p>Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett; Dee Cercone/Everett </p> Colman Domingo; Louis Gossett Jr.

Elizabeth Goodenough/Everett; Dee Cercone/Everett

Colman Domingo; Louis Gossett Jr.

Colman Domingo is revealing some of his last memories of his late costar Louis Gossett Jr.

The Oscar- and Emmy-winning legend, who starred with Domingo in December’s movie musical The Color Purple, died March 28 at 87. In an essay for Variety, Domingo, 54, recalled sharing emotional moments together on the movie’s set.

“The first day that I met Mr. Gossett, I said ‘Thank you,’ ” recalled the Rustin Oscar nominee. “Those were the words I wanted to say. Because I knew that there would be no me if there was no him. And other giants like him.”

Domingo said that on Gossett’s final day of filming The Color Purple as Ol' Mister, he kissed his beloved costar’s hands and asked costar Fantasia Barrino to “sing a song of thank you.”

Related: Louis Gossett Jr. Almost Played for the New York Knicks — Here’s Why He Turned the Gig Down (Exclusive)

Gossett, said Domingo, “told us, 'Knock ’em dead, now.' He had tears in his eyes. I couldn’t thank him enough for all that he had given. He ran his race for us.”

The Roots star “brought years of experience, intelligence, with good humor, light and love to our set,” continued Domingo. “He would ask me after a take, with all the humility in the world, ‘Was that okay?’ I looked at him and said, ‘Anything you give us is a gift.’”

Because Domingo played The Color Purple’s villainous Mister, son to Gossett’s Ol’ Mister, he “felt a kinship” with his costar — whom he called “Daddy” while filming the Blitz Bazawule-directed, Oprah Winfrey-produced adaptation.

<p>Warner Bros./Everett </p> Colman Domingo and Louis Gossett Jr. in "The Color Purple" (2023)

Warner Bros./Everett

Colman Domingo and Louis Gossett Jr. in "The Color Purple" (2023)

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“Lou and I had many moments off screen just chatting about life and art, and he constantly would talk about the responsibility of youth,” Domingo added of Gossett, “a teacher and a humanitarian.”

Domingo also named fellow cinema trailblazers James Earl Jones, Glynn Turman, Roscoe Lee Browne, Paul Winfield, Morgan Freeman and Sidney Poitier alongside Gossett as his inspirations, “men who came from the theater, like me, who gave such dignity to heroes and villains.”

Among the stars who posted remembrances of Gossett in the wake of his death was Barrino, 39, who called him “an Awesome Man” on her Instagram.

"You left behind so many tokens for us and paved the way for Black Actors and Actresses. You will be missed, but Man did you Live a Blessed Life," she wrote. 

Fellow Color Purple star David Alan Grier wrote alongside a throwback snapshot that Gossett was “one of my fave acting heroes. Hung out with him years ago at the Toronto film festival ... I bailed at 2 AM as he bid me good evening and strolled down the street with a girl on each arm.”

Related: Colman Domingo Wants to Find Joe Jackson’s 'Humanity, Heart and Humor' in Michael Jackson Biopic (Exclusive)

<p>Elisa Leonelli/Shutterstock</p> Louis Gossett Jr. at the 1983 Academy Awards

Elisa Leonelli/Shutterstock

Louis Gossett Jr. at the 1983 Academy Awards

Writing for Variety, Domingo recalled doing a workshop for a musical version of An Officer and a Gentleman, the 1982 drama that made Gossett the first Black person to win the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor.

Playing the same role, wrote Domingo, “I learned to divorce myself of any interpretation of a legendary actor such as he, because no artist can live up to something so detailed and nuanced and truly their own making.”

Gossett's nephew said the actor died Thursday night in Santa Monica, California, with no cause of death yet revealed. He is survived by his two adult sons, Satie and Sharron.

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