Wednesday, 21 August 2013


                         BLACK              SOCIAL              HISTORY                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Cuba Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in the Bronx, New York to the frontman of funk band The Main Ingredient. He landed a small role in the TV series Hill Street Blues and made his big screen debut in Coming to America. Two years later, Gooding played Tre Styles in Boyz 'N the Hood. In 1996, he won an Oscar for his supporting role in Jerry Maguire.

Early Life

Academy Award-winning actor Cuba M. Gooding Jr. was born on January 2, 1968, in the Bronx, New York. The son of singers Cuba and Shirley Gooding, Cuba Gooding Jr. 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.

Acclaimed Actor

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 "Show me the money" 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 co-star Tom Cruise, 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.

Personal Life

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

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. 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) 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, TrĂ© 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. 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 DeNiro. 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 BeyoncĂ© 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 voiced 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 Shadow boxer (2005), were able to offset these failures and prevent the downward trajectory of his career.

Recent 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, marked his first appearance on the big screen since American Gangster. 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 2013, Gooding, Jr. makes his Broadway the at rede but alongside Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams in "The Trip to Bountiful". In 2002, he was given a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. His 2013 roles included theatrical releases The Butler and Machete Kills.