Occupation: Actor, Dancer, Musician
Date of Birth: January 2, 1968
Place of Birth: Bronx, NY, USA
Sign:Sun in Capricorn, Moon in Aquarius
Relations: Father: Cuba Gooding (singer); brother: Omar Gooding (actor); wife: Sara Kapfer (elementary school teacher); kids: Spencer and Mason
Education: High School
FOR CUBA GOODING Junior the chances have been many and so have the opportunities.
His first "big break" (although not many remember) was in the 1991 John Singleton Boyz N the Hood. His second "first big break" was in the 1996 blockbuster Jerry Maguire, in which he got to utter the immortal line, "Show me the money!" Although the first break got Gooding working, the second gained him Hollywood status and the salaries to show for it.
Although Gooding was marked as the Next Big Thing after Boyz, Hollywood is Hollywood, and there still aren't that many roles for black actors, no matter how talented or good-looking.
Do you remember that song from the '70s "Everybody Plays the Fool"? Well, guess who that was? It was the voice of Cuba Gooding Sr. Their Top Ten hit, when Junior was just four years old, signaled a transformation for the entire family, including Cuba and his two siblings. The Goodings went from the Bronx to LA, from poverty to wealth, from being a whole family to a split one - Cuba Sr. abandoned the family in 1974, taking most of the band's profits with him.
Cuba Jr., a born-again Christian by age 13, attended four different high schools in California - and he managed to become class president in three out of the four.
In 1984, when Gooding was just sixteen, he landed his first professional job: breakdancer for Lionel Richie's performance at the Olympics. When he returned to high school, an agent-friend of his parents' noticed him in a production of L'il Abner, and he was on his way.
After six years of classes, commercials and endless auditions, Cuba Jr. won the plum role of Tre Styles in Boyz N the Hood. A star was born. Sort of. More like a star-in-waiting. There's something to be said about being a working actor, but for every A Few Good Men, there were several big flops like Gladiator and Daybreak. At least the constant work allowed Gooding to marry his long-time sweetheart, Sara Kapfer and to provide for the couple's two sons, Spencer and Mason.
Finally, in 1995, director Cameron Crowe offered Cuba a part opposite his Good Men co-star, Tom Curise, in Jerry Maguire. This was opportunity's second knock, and not only did Gooding open the door, he made sure his new visitor came in to stay. In addition to winning fantastic reviews internationally, Gooding garnered a Golden Globe nomination and an academy award for Best Supporting Actor. He followed up with 1997's best-known film, As Good As It Gets and the Robin Williams drama What Dreams May Come. The following year, he launched his own company, GoodBro Productions, along with Derek Broes. Their first release, A Murder of Crows, stars Cuba as a disbarred lawyer whose theft of a book manuscript has dangerous consequences. 1999 also sees Gooding starring opposite a true screen legend, Sir Anthony Hopkins, in the very deep and strangely enticing movie Instinct. Oh, and then there's Chill Factor, a kind of Speed-on-ice. Three movies in one year. This man has got momentum for the millennium.
2000 The Gelfin
2000 Blaze of Glory
1999 Chill Factor
1999 A Murder of Crows
1998 Welcome to Hollywood
1998 What Dreams May Come
1997 As Good As It Gets
1997 Do Me a Favor
1996 Jerry Maguire
1996 The Audition
1995 Losing Isaiah
1994 Lightning Jack
1993 Judgment Night
1992 A Few Good Men
1991 Boyz N the Hood
1988 Coming to America
1995 The Tuskegee Airmen
1992 Murder Without Motive: The Edmund Perry Story
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)