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Cuba Gooding Jr.      

Academy Award-Winning Actor Known for his Roles in "Jerry Maguire," "American Gangster," "The Butler" & "American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson"

Academy Award-winning actor Cuba M. Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in the Bronx, New York. He is the son of singers Cuba and Shirley Gooding. His father enjoyed some success with his funk group The Main Ingredient. The band enjoyed its biggest hit, "Everybody Plays the Fool," in 1972. Around this time, Cuba Gooding Jr. moved with his family to Los Angeles. Unfortunately, his father soon abandoned the family.

Gooding started out in commercials before getting a small role on the gritty drama Hill Street Blues in 1986. 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."

Gooding's career reached new heights in 1996 with the sports drama "Jerry Maguire." He proved to be quite the scene stealer as football player Rod "Show me the money" Tidwell in Cameron Crowe's acclaimed film. Gooding did more than hold his own opposite his co-star Tom Cruise in this widely praised work. He showed great comedic talent and had an electric screen presence. It was no surprise that Gooding won an Oscar for best supporting actor 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) co-starring Robin Williams. In 1999, he appeared opposite Anthony Hopkins in Instinct and had a starring role in the action film "Chill Factor."

Gooding's film career was hit or miss over the next few years. The family comedy "Snow Dogs" (2002) did well at the box office while interest in his musical "The Fighting Temptations" (2003), which also featured Beyoncé Knowles, tapered off after an initially strong start. He went on to appear in the lackluster action film "Shadowboxer" (2006) and the Eddie Murphy flop "Norbit" (2007). Gooding also had a supporting role in the critically acclaimed crime drama "American Gangster" (2007).

Gooding has tackled an interesting mix of projects, ranging from film to stage to television roles. He has made the most of supporting roles in such highly praised dramas as "The Butler" (2013) and "Selma" (2014). In 2013, Gooding hit the Broadway stage in a revival of Horton Foote play "The Trip to Bountiful."

On the small screen, Gooding has enjoyed guest spots on such shows as "Forever" and "Empire." He also stars in the upcoming series "American Crime Story: People v. O.J. Simpson." While he did a lot of research for the role, Gooding wasn't interested in meeting his subject in person. He told the Hollywood Reporter that he is playing "the O.J. Simpson who everyone loved— not just an athlete, but a movie star" in this TV project. Gooding sees Simpson, currently in prison, as "a broken man” today.

News


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