Cuba Gooding Jr. is an American Actor known for his outstanding performances in a number of movies, including his critically acclaimed performance in Jerry Maguire. He has best known for his appearances in the movies such as Boyz n the Hood (1991), As Good As It Gets (1997), American Gangster (2007), The Fighting Temptation (2003), The Butler (2013) and most recently, Selma (2014). Other than these movies, he also starred in a TV show – Guilty, which was directed by McG as a pilot for Fox. He was given a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in the year 2002.
Cuba Gooding Jr.’s Early Life
Cuba Gooding was born in the New York City on 2nd January, 1968. His mother was a singer and his father was a lead vocalist for a soul music band. Gooding has three brothers and sisters – Tommy, Omar, and April. Among them, his second sibling, Omar is also an actor and a musician. His father came from Barbados, and shifted their home to Los Angeles in 1972. Two years after that in 1974, his father took off and never came back. After that, it was Gooding’s mother that raised him all by herself.
In his early years, Gooding had to change high schools more than once because of his family problems and studied at four of them. The interesting thing is that in three of those schools, he was chosen to the position of class president.
Gooding was one of the lucky ones to actually marry his high school sweetheart in 1994. Very soon, he even became a proud father of the three kids – Piper, Spencer and Mason. However, things have not remained as great now as it was reported in 2014 that Sara has filed for a divorce.
He started his career by performing for the very first time as a break dancer at the closing ceremony of the 1984 Summer Olympics with singer Lionel Richie. After completing his high school and before he took an interest towards acting, Gooding spent three years learning martial arts. Then, he began to pursue his career in the field of acting. In the early stage of his career, he appeared in guest roles in a number of TV shows, the likes of which include Hill Street Blues, Amen and MacGyver. Other than this, he had a minor role in the comedy TV show, Coming To America.
Cuba Gooding landed himself his first major opportunity in the year 1991, with the movie, “Boyz n the Hood”. The lead role of Tre Styles was played by Gooding the movie. The film, now considered to be a modern classic, came to be a surprise hit at the box office and got a great critical acclaim. This was the movie that spawned the seeds of his success. It was soon followed by some bit hits, including Lightening Jack, Outbreak, Judgment Night and A Few Good Men.
The year 1996 proved to be a golden year for Gooding. He was selected for the role of a football player whose sporting days may be behind him, in the sports-comedy blockbuster, Jerry Maguire by Cameron Crowe. Gooding brought the character of this arrogant but charismatic player alive in a way that won the hearts of both critics as well as the audiences. This movie, co-starring Tom Cruise, was an immense commercial and critical success. His excellent performance in the movie gained him an Academy Award. His dialogue “Show Me the Money!” gained a nationwide attention and soon became a catch phrase.
The following year, Gooding got an opportunity to act in the movie, As Good As It Gets. This movie too won an Academy Award and with this, Gooding’s career took a long flight in the sky of success. From here, he was constantly praised for his outstanding performances in the movies such as What Dreams May Come True (1998) and Men of Honor (2000).
Cuba Gooding was also known for his performance as Doris Miller in the movie Pearl Harbour (2001). His performance in the Rat Race the same year did not lower his fame either. As part of his next project, he co-stared with Beyoncé Knowles in the musical film The Fighting Temptations. His next notable appearance was in Snow Dogs (2002), a family-comedy, which was quite a big success at the box office. But, during this period, he also acted in a number of movies that didn’t perform so well at the box office nor with the critics. These include Chill Factor (1999), Daddy Day Camp (2007), and so on. During the same period, he also appeared in a number of movies that were a box office flop, which could not overshadow his fame.
Since then, Gooding has acted in quite a number of critically ignored movies, in complete contrast to his early career. Around this time, the successful movies such as The Gifted Hands: The Ben Carson Story and American Gangster stand as exception to his streak of unsuccessful movies. He made his debut in the Broadway Theatre with The Trip To Bountiful, alongside Vanessa Williams and Cicely Tyson. The Broadway show was nominated for a Tony Award and received good response overall. In 2014, he was casted for the role of Fred Gray in Selma, which gained him a huge critical acclaim. Since then, he is seen more on the television than on the silver screen. For instance, his performance in the role of Samuel Fraunces in The Book of Negroes has been widely praised. Another one of his notable television appearances is in the role of O.J. Simpson in the upcoming TV show, American Crime Story. He has made his appearance in many hit movies as well as television shows, and has received a great critical acclaim for his outstanding performances. He has even achieved a star in the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in the year 2002.