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Cuba Gooding

Cuba Gooding

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Also Known As: Died:
Born: January 2, 1968 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: actor, dancer, musician, producer, weed picker, busboy, construction worker, taco vender

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

An energetic performer who inexplicably countered critically acclaimed dramatic performances with buffoonish comedies, Cuba Gooding, Jr. experienced both serious highs and embarrassing lows in his uneven career. After starting his career as a backup break dancer for Lionel Ritchie at the 1984 Olympic Games, Gooding forged ahead with an acting career with several brief film and television appearances before showing early talent with his subtle portrayal of a bright youth being led down a dangerous path in "Boyz N the Hood" (1991). The role earned him serious consideration from Hollywood, though he failed to take advantage of his newfound clout. For the next few years, he languished in forgettable movies like "Lightning Jack" (1994) and "Outbreak" (1995) before finally striking Oscar gold with his highly infectious performance as an arrogant football star in the winning "Jerry Maguire" (1996). But like "Boyz," Gooding failed to seize the moment, choosing instead to star in "Snow Dogs" (2002), "Boat Trip" (2002) and "Daddy Day Camp" (2007). Though he received strong critical attention for his performances in "As Good As It Gets" (1998), "Radio" (2003) and "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" (TNT,...

An energetic performer who inexplicably countered critically acclaimed dramatic performances with buffoonish comedies, Cuba Gooding, Jr. experienced both serious highs and embarrassing lows in his uneven career. After starting his career as a backup break dancer for Lionel Ritchie at the 1984 Olympic Games, Gooding forged ahead with an acting career with several brief film and television appearances before showing early talent with his subtle portrayal of a bright youth being led down a dangerous path in "Boyz N the Hood" (1991). The role earned him serious consideration from Hollywood, though he failed to take advantage of his newfound clout. For the next few years, he languished in forgettable movies like "Lightning Jack" (1994) and "Outbreak" (1995) before finally striking Oscar gold with his highly infectious performance as an arrogant football star in the winning "Jerry Maguire" (1996). But like "Boyz," Gooding failed to seize the moment, choosing instead to star in "Snow Dogs" (2002), "Boat Trip" (2002) and "Daddy Day Camp" (2007). Though he received strong critical attention for his performances in "As Good As It Gets" (1998), "Radio" (2003) and "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story" (TNT, 2009), Gooding still had work to do in living up to his early promise.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Freedom (2014)
3.
4.
 Life of a King (2013)
5.
 Summoned (2013)
6.
 Machete Kills (2013)
7.
 Firelight (2012)
8.
 Sacrifice (2011)
9.
 Lies & Illusions (2009)
10.
 Hardwired (2009)
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in Los Angeles
:
Began acting in Drama Teachers' Association of Southern California drama festival competition
1984:
First professional job, a breakdancer on stage with Lionel Richie at the 1984 Olympic Games
:
First acting role, playing a thug on "Hill Street Blues" (NBC)
1988:
First role in a Canadian TV-movie, "No Means No" (CBC)
1988:
Feature film debut, "Coming to America"
1989:
First significant role in a feature film, "Sing"
1989:
Had a recurring role on ABC's "MacGyver"
1991:
Breakthrough role as the emotionally tortured Tre Styles in John Singleton's feature debut "Boyz N the Hood"
1992:
First film with Tom Cruise, "A Few Good Men"
1994:
Cast as Paul Hogan's sidekick in "Lightning Jack"; role purportedly was originally intended for a dog
1995:
Acted in the historical drama "The Tuskegee Airmen" (HBO), based on the true story of a group of African American pilots overcoming racism during WWII
1996:
Breakthrough role as outspoken football player Rod Tidwell in Cameron Crowe's "Jerry Maguire"; second collaboration with Cruise
1997:
Portrayed a gay art dealer in James L. Brooks' "As Good As It Gets"
1998:
Appeared as a spirit guide escorting Robin Williams through the afterlife in "What Dreams May Come"
1999:
Played an ambitious psychiatrist trying to penetrate the mind of Anthony Hopkins in "Instinct"
1999:
Produced and starred as a plagiarizing lawyer in "A Murder of Crows" (aired on Cinemax)
2000:
Starred in the biopic "Men of Honor" as Carl Brashear, the U.S. Navy's first African-American salvage-and-retrieval diver
2001:
Made a cameo in "Pearl Harbor" as Doris 'Dorrie' Miller
2002:
Played a Miami dentist who inherits a dog sled team in "Snow Dogs"
2002:
Received star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
2003:
Landed lead part in the gospel feature "The Fighting Temptations"
2003:
Played the title character in the heart-felt drama "Radio"
2006:
Played a gangbanger-turned-cop in the crime drama "Dirty"
2006:
Starred opposite Helen Mirren in Lee Daniels' indie film "Shadowboxer"
2007:
Co-starred with Eddie Murphy in the comedy "Norbit"
2007:
Starred in "Daddy Day Camp," a sequel to the Eddie Murphy vehicle "Daddy Day Care"
2008:
Co-starred in the comedy film "Harold"
2009:
Played the title role in the TNT movie "Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story," based on the life story of the world-renowned neurosurgeon; earned a SAG nomination for Best Actor in a TV Movie
2011:
Starred in the action thriller "The Hit List"
2012:
Co-starred in the WWII drama "Red Tails," about a crew of African American pilots in the Tuskegee training program; executive produced by George Lucas
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Notes

Gooding's production company is Goodbro Picture Entertainment (formed with childhood pal Derek Broes).

Ironically, Gooding, who won Oscar as a principled athlete who sticks with one agent, switched agents six times in 10 years on his own "show me the money" quest.

"I used to breakdance to stay out of gangs. What would happen is the breakdancers and gang members from different neighborhoods would get together, and the dancers would compete. After that, the gangs would fight." --Cuba Gooding Jr, from press material for "Boyz N the Hood" (1991)

"I was shocked to see the racism in Hollywood. As a young actor you think this is the fairy world. I've seen Sidney Poitier kiss a white woman in a movie. Then you hear, 'We want to make you an offer on this movie, but we can't because we have another black actor up for a role and we can't have two black actors.' That just happened to me. I was blown away." --Gooding to David Hochman in Entertainment Tonight, February 21-28, 1997.

"I'm sure there are great stories about families in Compton who struggle with gang violence. There are even better stories of middle-class blacks who struggle to be accepted in upper-echelon communities. But people across the globe won't know it until we start making those fucking movies. I'm tired of people saying that blacks don't sell overseas. They say blacks are dangerous, and that makes them afraid. Well, they're only afraid because of the movies we're making." --Gooding quoted in Rolling Stone, April 3, 1997.

"I couldn't be nervous [acting opposite Tom Cruise], because his character works for my character. The only time I got nervous was at the 'Mission: Impossible' premiere. I was standing there, chilling, and here comes Tom introducing me to all the bigwigs in Hollywood. And I'm like, 'Damn, Cuba, you're in another league now'." --Gooding to Oliver Jones in Premiere, January 1997.

On his fist-pumping Oscar acceptance speech: "I remember walking up [to receive the award]. I remember going up there. And then the music playing. And then it just seemed like the thing to do: yell out the names. What I don't remember is, when did I stop yelling? What made me stop? Did they stop for a commercial break? Did the people stop applauding? Do you know who I remember seeing? Woody Harrelson! I don't know why. He jumped in the aisle and there was nobody else there, and he went 'Yeaaaaaaaahhhh!' And I'm, like, 'That's Woody Harrelson standing in the aisle.' --Gooding quoted in The Washington Post, May 30, 1999.

"My father was a big influence on me. He taught me in this business, you get it in a flash. And you can lose it in a flash. So you have to save your money and prepare to be in this for the long haul." --Gooding quoted in the Chicago Sun-Times, May 31, 1999.

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Sara Kapfer. Teacher. Born c. 1970; Caucasian; met in high school; lived together for seven years before marrying on March 13, 1994; mother of his two children.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Cuba Gooding. Singer. Born on April 27, 1944; lead vocalist for rhythm and blues group, The Main Ingredient, best known for its 1972 hit "Everybody Plays the Fool"; separated from Gooding's mother in 1974; remarried after 13 years of divorce.
mother:
Shirley Gooding. Singer. Toured with Jackie Wilson's Sweethearts during the 1960s.
sister:
April Gooding. Older.
brother:
Omar Gooding. Actor. Younger; appeared as a regular on ABC's "Hangin' With Mr. Cooper" and "Smart Guy" (The WB) and in "Baby Boy", directed by John Singleton.
son:
Spencer Gooding. Born c. 1993.
son:
Mason Gooding. Born in 1996.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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