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Cuba Gooding, Jr

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Cuba Gooding, Jr

For his father, the singer, see Cuba Gooding, Sr..

Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Gooding Jr. at the Firelight Hallmark Hall of Fame Premiere Red Carpet 2012
Born (1968-01-02) January 2, 1968 (age 46)
Bronx, New York, U.S.
Occupation Actor
Years active 1986–present
Spouse(s) Sara Kapfer (1994–present)
Children 3
Awards Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
Jerry Maguire (1996)

Cuba Gooding, Jr. (born January 2, 1968) is an American actor. He is best known for his Academy Award-winning portrayal of Rod Tidwell in Cameron Crowe's Jerry Maguire.

Personal life

Gooding, Jr. was born in Bronx, New York, the son of Shirley Gooding (née Sullivan), a singer with the Sweethearts, and Cuba Gooding, Sr., a lead vocalist of the soul group The Main Ingredient.[1][2] He has three siblings: Tommy, Omar, and April. His paternal grandfather was a native of Barbados.[2] His family moved to Los Angeles after his father's music group had a hit single with "Everybody Plays the Fool" in 1972; the elder Gooding abandoned his family two years later. Gooding was raised by his mother and attended four different high schools: North Hollywood High School, Tustin High School, Apple Valley High School, and John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills in Los Angeles. He served as class president in three of them.[3] He became a born-again Christian at age 13.[4] In 1994, Gooding Jr. married his high school sweetheart, Sara Kapfer, and they have three children: Spencer, Mason and Piper. They live in Pacific Palisades, and Porter Ranch, California.


Early career and major success

His first job as an entertainer was as a breakdancer performing with singer Lionel Richie at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.[1] After high school, Gooding studied Japanese martial arts for three years, before turning his focus toward acting. Early on, he landed guest starring roles on shows like Hill Street Blues (1981), Amen (1988) and MacGyver (1988, 1989 and 1990)[5] and also had a tiny part in the popular comedy Coming to America (1988). Gooding's first major role was in John Singleton's inner-city crime drama Boyz n the Hood (1991), in which he played the lead, Tré Styles. A box office surprise and critical hit, the film is now considered a modern classic. He followed this success with supporting roles in major films such as A Few Good Men (1992), Lightning Jack (1994), and Outbreak (1995). In 1996, Gooding reached a new level of prominence when he was cast as an arrogant yet charismatic football player on the brink of a career-ending injury in Cameron Crowe's blockbuster dramatic sports comedy Jerry Maguire (1996) with co-star Tom Cruise, and was a major critical and commercial success and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Most significantly, it earned Gooding an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. His exuberant "Show Me the Money" line in the film became a nationwide catch phrase.[6] Additionally, his Oscar acceptance speech has often been cited for its enthusiasm.

Post-Oscar prominence

In 1997, Gooding followed his breakout with a notable supporting role in the acclaimed Academy Award-winning comedy As Good as It Gets (1997), but in the following years his career was inconsistently successful. Some of his best received performances include turns in films such as the mystical drama What Dreams May Come (1998) and the US Naval drama Men of Honor (2000) in which he played the lead role and co-starred with Robert De Niro. Gooding also received attention for his roles in the epic Pearl Harbor (2001) as historical figure Doris Miller, the ensemble farce Rat Race (2001), the musical The Fighting Temptations (2003) in which he co-starred alongside Beyoncé Knowles, and the football drama Radio (2003), in which he played the title role. Additionally, though not well received critically, the family comedy Snow Dogs (2002) was a commercial success. Other roles of note during this time include a co-lead role alongside Anthony Hopkins in the psychological thriller Instinct (1999) and the voice of Buck in Disney's animated film Home on the Range (2004). However, during this stage of his career, he also began to appear in a series of films which were not critically or commercially successful, such as Chill Factor (1999), Boat Trip (2002), Norbit (2007), and Daddy Day Camp (2007), all of which had received extremely negative reviews and, with the exception of Norbit, performed poorly at the box office. On top of this, Gooding had allegedly turned down roles in successful films such as Amistad (1997) in the aftermath of his Oscar win. Ultimately, neither his earlier successes nor his leading roles in a couple of smaller independent independent films, including Lee Daniels' directorial debut Shadowboxer (2005), were able to offset these failures and prevent the downward trajectory of his career.

Recent film career

Since then, in great contrast to earlier stages of his career, Gooding has appeared in many more gritty, critically ignored, direct-to-DVD action films than theatrical or television releases. A well-received performance as Ben Carson in Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story (2009) and a small supporting role in Ridley Scott's American Gangster (2007) both proved to be exceptions to this trend. Indeed, a significant role in the World War II film, Red Tails (2012), produced by George Lucas and with other prominent actors such as Terrence Howard and Bryan Cranston, marked his first appearance on the big screen since American Gangster. However, in 2013, Gooding had roles in several theatrical releases, including a well-received supporting performance in Lee Daniels' The Butler and brief appearances in Don Jon and Machete Kills.

Other work

In 2013, Gooding, Jr. made his Broadway theatre debut alongside Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams in a Tony Award-nominated production of "The Trip to Bountiful".[7] In 2012, he starred in a TV pilot for FOX called Guilty that was directed by McG. Though it was well received in screenings, it was ultimately not picked up by the network. He appeared on Channel 4's Chris Moyles' Quiz Night on August 5, 2011, closing the show dueting Bad Romance with Lulu. In 2002, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.[8]



Year Title Role Notes
1988 Coming to America Boy getting Haircut Walk-on role
1989 Sing Stanley
1991 Boyz n the Hood Tré Styles
1992 Gladiator Abraham Lincoln Haines
Few Good Men, AA Few Good Men Cpl. Carl Hammaker
1993 Judgment Night Mike Peterson
1994 Lightning Jack Ben Doyle
Blown Away Bomb Squad Class member Cameo
1995 Outbreak Maj. Salt Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Losing Isaiah Eddie Hughes
1996 Jerry Maguire Rod Tidwell Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor
American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Comedy/Romance
Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture
Nominated – Image Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Motion Picture
1997 As Good as It Gets Frank Sachs Nominated - Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
1998 What Dreams May Come Albert Lewis Blockbuster Entertainment Award for Favorite Supporting Actor – Drama/Romance
Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
1999 Instinct Theo Caulder
Chill Factor Arlo
2000 Men of Honor BM2/Chief/Senior Chief Carl Brashear Nominated - BET Award for Best Actor
Nominated - Black Reel Award: Best Actor
Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
2001 Pearl Harbor Petty Officer Doris Miller
Rat Race Owen Templeton
Zoolander Himself Cameo
2002 Snow Dogs Theodore "Ted" Brooks
2003 Boat Trip Jerry Robinson Nominated - Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Fighting Temptations, TheThe Fighting Temptations Darrin Hill
Radio James Robert "Radio" Kennedy Carnie Award for Best Cast
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
Nominated - Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
2004 Home on the Range Buck the Domestic Horse Voice role
2005 Dirty Salim Adel
Shadowboxer Mikey Nominated - Black Movie Award for Best Actor
2007 Norbit Deion Hughes Nominated - Golden Raspberry Award for Worst Actor
Daddy Day Camp Charlie Hinton
What Love Is Tom
American Gangster Nicky Barnes Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
2008 Harold Cromer
Hero Wanted Liam Case
2012 Red Tails Major Emanuel Stance
2013 Lee Daniels' The Butler Carter Wilson
Machete Kills El Camaleón
Don Jon Movie star Cameo
2014 Life of a King Eugene
Carry Me Home Samuel


Year Title Role Notes
1986 Better Days Bully 1 episode
1987 Hill Street Blues 2nd Gang Member / Ethan Dillon 2 episodes
1988 CBS Schoolbreak Special Paul 1 episode
1989-1991 MacGyver Billy Colton 4 episodes
1993 Daybreak Torch (Stephen Tolkin) Television film
1995 Tuskegee Airmen, TheThe Tuskegee Airmen Billy Roberts Television film
Nominated - NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
1999 Saturday Night Live Host Episode: "Cuba Gooding Jr./Ricky Martin"
2009 Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story Ben Carson Television film
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Nominated – Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2012 Firelight Dwayne Johnson (DJ) Television film
NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special
Guilty William "Billy" Remz TV pilot


Year Title Role Notes
2013 The Trip to Bountiful Ludie Watts Broadway


Year Title Role Notes
1998 Murder of Crows, AA Murder of Crows Lawson Russel Direct-to-DVD
2006 End Game Alex Thomas Direct-to-DVD
Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends, TheThe Land Before Time XIII: The Wisdom of Friends Loofah the Beipiaosaurus Direct-to-DVD
Voice role
2008 Hero Wanted Liam Case Direct-to-DVD
Linewatch Michael Dixon Direct-to-DVD
Way of War, TheThe Way of War David Wolfe Direct-to-DVD
2009 Lies & Illusions Isaac Direct-to-DVD
Devil's Tomb, TheThe Devil's Tomb Mack Direct-to-DVD
Wrong Turn at Tahoe Joshua Direct-to-DVD
Hardwired Luke Gibson Direct-to-DVD
2011 Ticking Clock Lewis Hicks Direct-to-DVD
Sacrifice Detective John Hebron Direct-to-DVD
The Hit List Jonas Arbor Direct-to-DVD
2012 One In The Chamber Ray Carver Direct-to-DVD
2013 Absolute Deception Nelson Direct-to-DVD


External links

  • Internet Movie Database
  • Internet Broadway Database
  • Cinema Confidential interview (January 2002)
  • interview (November 9, 2000)
  • Jet interview (October 11, 1999)
  • Ebony interview (June 1997)
  • JAM! Movies interview (December 13, 1996)
  • Hanes Backstage Game with Cuba Gooding, Jr. & Michael Jordan (July 2007)
  • USAToday
  • Jezebel
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