Oscar-winning American actor, Cuba Gooding Jr has given film lovers a lot of films to remember. He got his big-screen start with a small part in Eddie Murphy‘s Coming to America (1988) before getting his big break in 1991’s Boyz n the Hood. He went on to star in a string of notable films throughout the 90s through to the new millennium. However, beginning in the mid-2000’s, Gooding’s career began to dwindle.
He appeared in a string of lesser-known direct-to-video films that attracted little attention from critics. This went on for over a decade, a period in his career Gooding described as a wilderness phase and also blames himself for it. Fortunately, in recent years, Gooding appears to have gotten back in the saddle, thanks to his role as O.J. Simpson in Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story. We take you through his journey to Hollywood stardom as we also touch on a number of aspects of his personal life.
Cuba Gooding Jr – Bio, Age
Cuba Michael Gooding Jr. was born on the 2nd of January 1968, in The Bronx, New York City to Cuba and Shirley Gooding who were both singers in their own right. His mother Shirley was one of the backup singers for the 60s group, Sweethearts while his father was the lead vocalist for R&B group, Main Ingredient who shot to fame in 1972 with their hit Everybody Plays The Fool.
As a result of his father’s music, the family relocated to Los Angeles when Cuba was 4 years old. When he was six, his father abandoned the family to the sole care of his mother. Cuba’s mom found it difficult to afford rent and as a result, had to hop with the kids from place to place. Some days they’d sleep in cheap hotels and other days in their car.
As a result of the constant movement, Cuba attended four different high schools. However, the frequent relocations did little or nothing to affect his aptitude. He was the class president at 3 of the high schools he attended and was hugely involved in extracurricular activities including dancing, acting, and sports.
By the mid-1980s, Gooding began appearing in films and it was not long before he got his first break with Boyz n the Hood which was both a commercial and critical success. His career took a huge leap after he won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in Jerry Maguire (1996). Cuba Goding Jr continues to be active in the entertainment space.
Cuba Gooding Jr. has sure made loads of money from acting, though that 10-year wilderness period of appearing in back-to-back direct-to-video films nearly sent him bankrupt. During his heydays, Gooding could make $3 million for a single role. His net worth is estimated to fall somewhere between $10 million and $15 million.
Cuba Gooding has two brothers namely; Tommy Gooding and Omar Gooding. Perhaps the most popular of the two is Omar who like Cuba, is an actor. In addition to acting, Omar has also got great vocal abilities. Omar was born on October 19, 1976, in Los Angeles, California.
He began his show business career in the early 1990s and is best known for his small-screen roles. He has made appearances in TV shows such as Touched by an Angel, Hangin’ with Mr. Cooper, Playmakers, and Grey’s Anatomy. Some of his notable films include; Ghost Dad, Baby Boy, and Mr. Box Office.
Every Gooding seems to have a musical side and Omar is no exception. He is a good rapper. Omar attended North Hollywood High School from where he graduated in 1994.
Tommy Gooding is possibly the one that really inherited most of their father’s musical genes. During his father’s active days as a musician, Tommy served as the musical director for his dad’s touring band.
Cuba Gooding Jr. in 1994 married his high school sweetheart, Sara Kapfer, who is a teacher. Prior to their marriage, the couple cohabited for seven years. Their marriage seemed all blissful until when word got out in March 2014 that the two had separated and Kapfer filed for a divorce requesting joint physical and legal custody of their three kids; Spencer, Mason, and Piper.
According to TMZ, Sara Kapfer’s filing cited irreconcilable differences as the reason for the divorce. Despite the news of the divorce filings, it is unclear to the media how the divorce was finalized and if it ever was.
Reports later surfaced that after the divorce filings, the couple continued to see each other on-and-off. Gooding would later file his own papers in January 2017. Cuba’s sons Spencer and Mason were born in 1994 and 1996 respectively while Piper was born in 2005.
Height and Other Facts
1. Cuba Gooding Jr. stands at 5 feet 10 inches tall.
2. He was named in People Magazine’s 1997 list of the World’s Most Beautiful People.
3. During the 1984 Olympic games in LA, Gooding aged 16, was one of the backup dancers for Lionel Richie’s performance. It was his first showbiz gig.
4. He has also danced as a backup for British songstress, Paula Abdul.
5. Gooding was turned down for the main role in Django Unchained as the writer, Quentin Tarantino preferred Jamie Foxx for the role.
6. He loves to play hockey.
7. During his high-school years, Gooding practiced his autograph in math class to prepare himself for when he’d become famous.
8. He became a born-again Christian from when he turned 13.