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Cuba Gooding, Jr. (born January 2, 1968) is an Academy Award-winning American actor.
Gooding was born in The Bronx, New York to Cuba Gooding, Sr. (lead vocalist of soul group The Main Ingredient) and Shirley (a singer); he has two siblings, Robert Ri'chard and Omar Gooding. His family moved to Los Angeles after Gooding, Sr.'s music group had a hit single with "Everybody Plays the Fool" in 1972; the elder Gooding abandoned his family two years later. He became a born-again Christian at age 13.
Gooding, Jr., was raised by his single mother and attended four different high schools (including North Hollywood High School, Tustin High School, Apple Valley High School, and John F. Kennedy High School in Granada Hills in Los Angeles). He served as class president in three of them. During his appearance on the "The Howard Stern Show", Gooding, Jr. revealed that after his father had left, his family lived in hotels through out Los Angeles, CA.
He has been married to Sara Kapfer since 1994 (And has known since 1986), and has three children: Spencer, Mason, and Piper Gooding.
Gooding first appeared in a commercial for the clothing line Bugle Boy during the 80's. Feb 1989 he appeared in a leading role as Ray in the MacGyver fourth season episode "The Challenge." Cuba Gooding, Jr.'s first major film role was in director John Singleton's 1991 film, Boyz N The Hood, a well-reviewed film about inner city youths. Prior to this, he had appeared in many TV shows, including a recurring role on MacGyver. He also had a very minor part in the 1988 Eddie Murphy comedy Coming to America as a customer in the barbershop scene.
Following the success of Boyz N The Hood, he was cast in a series of roles, both leading and supporting, including the 1996 film, Jerry Maguire, for which he won a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The murder mystery A Murder of Crows has gained cult status among murder mystery buffs. Gooding Jr.'s subsequent career has included box office successes like Men of Honor (2000), Snow Dogs (2002), and a supporting role as Navy Cross awardee Dorie Miller in the 2001 film, Pearl Harbor.
In 2006, he appeared in the crime-drama, Dirty, which received a limited theatrical release, as well as the direct-to-DVD, 24-esque political drama End Game where he plays a Secret Service agent who uncovers a conspiracy after a presidential assassination.
He also hosted the 37th Annual NAACP Image Awards. After a string of comedies that were mostly disliked by critics, Gooding, Jr. has vowed to never appear in another comedy again, saying that he "thought people wanted me to make them laugh, but I was wrong on so many levels. I try to take all my energy and take it into comedy, and that's when I'm terrible".
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