Cuba Jr. Gooding Biography (1968-)

Cuba Jr. Gooding. Born January 2, 1968 in the Bronx, New York. The son of singers Cuba and Shirley Gooding, he moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1972 after his father’s pop group hit it big. Though he attended four different high schools, he managed to become class president at three of them and enjoyed performing in school plays. An agent discovered him during one of his performances, and Gooding began working steadily in commercials, eventually landing a small role in the dramatic series Hill Street Blues.

Inspired by his success, he enrolled in acting classes and made his big screen debut in 1988’s Coming to America. Two years later, he was given an opportunity to show his acting talent as Tre Styles in Boyz ‘N the Hood. More supporting roles followed, including a highly regarded performance in 1992’s hit A Few Good Men. But it wasn’t until his role as football player Rod Tidwell in Cameron Crowe’s acclaimed Jerry Maguire in 1996 that Gooding became a bona fide star. Showing great comedic talent and an electric screen presence that equaled, and some say surpassed, that of costar Tom Cruise, Gooding won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his performance.

The acclaim lead to a number of roles in feature films, including As Good as It Gets (1997) alongside Jack Nicholson and Helen Hunt and What Dreams May Come (1998) costarring Robin Williams. In 1999, he appeared opposite Anthony Hopkins in Instinct and had a starring role in the action film Chill Factor.

Gooding married Sara Kapfer, whom he’s known since high school, in 1994. They have two sons, Spencer and Mason.

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