Cuba Gooding Jr. Biography

Cuba Gooding Jr. is a renowned African-American actor best known for his Academy Award winning role in the movie ‘Jerry Maguire’. Check out this biography to know about his childhood, family life, achievements and other facts related to his life.

Quick Facts

Birthday: January 2, 1968 Black Celebrities Born on January 2

Nationality: American

Famous: Actors Black Actors

Age: 52 Years, 52 Year Old Males

Sun Sign: Capricorn

Born in: The Bronx, New York City, New York, United States

Famous as: Actor

Height: 5'10" (178 cm), 5'10" Males


Spouse/Ex-: Sara Kapfer (m. 1994)

father: Cuba Gooding Sr

mother: Shirley

children: Mason Gooding, Piper Gooding, Spencer Gooding

City: New York City

U.S. State: New Yorkers, African-American From New Yorkers

More Facts

education: North Hollywood High School, Tustin High School, Apple Valley High School, John F. Kennedy High School

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Cuba Gooding Jr. is a renowned African-American actor best known for his Academy Award winning role in ‘Jerry Maguire’, an American comedy sports film, which was directed by Cameron Crowe. After having appeared in small guest roles in TV series such as ‘Better Days’ and ‘Hill Street Blues’, he boosted his acting career with the 1991 American drama film ‘Boyz n the Hood’ which was directed by John Singleton. The film was a huge hit, and received several awards. For his performance, Gooding was nominated for the Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor. Later he appeared in the medical film ‘Outbreak’ which was directed by Wolfgang Peterson. The film focused on the outbreak of a fictional virus named the Motaba virus in Zaire, and later in the US. The film was a success, and for his performance Gooding was nominated for two awards as well. After having acted in several other successful films, he started acting mostly in direct-to-DVD films rather than theatrical and television releases. Some of his recent works include the 2013 movie ‘Life of a King’, and ‘Freedom’, a 2014 American film, where Gooding along with playing the lead role, also served as the executive producer.

Childhood & Early Life
  • Cuba Gooding initially played guest roles in TV shows like ‘Better Days’ (1986), ‘Hill Street Blues’ (1987), and ‘MacGyver’ (1989). His first significant role was in ‘Boyz n the Hood’, an American drama film directed by John Singleton. The film, which was released on 12 July 1991, not only turned out to be a success, but also brought Gooding much fame.
  • After the success of his first film, he appeared in supporting roles in films such as ‘A Few Good Men’, a 1992 American drama, ‘Judgment Night’, a 1993 American action thriller, and then ‘Blown Away’, a 1994 American thriller film.
  • With the release of ‘Jerry Maguire’, a 1996 sports drama film, Cuba Gooding’s career reached new heights. The movie, in which Gooding acted alongside the famous actor Tom Cruise, was a huge hit and received several awards. He played the role of an arrogant but loyal football player. It earned him an Academy Award for the Best Supporting Actor. Earning more than $273 million worldwide, the film became the ninth highest grossing film of 1996.
  • After his huge success in 1996, he appeared in films such as ‘As Good as It Gets’ a 1997 American comedy directed by James L. Brooks. The next year, in 1998, he appeared in ‘What Dreams May Come’, a fantasy drama film where he acted alongside the famous actor Robin Williams.
  • In the following years, he appeared in several movies, a few of which were huge hits. He appeared in ‘Snow Dogs’ (2002), ‘Boat Trip’, (2002), ‘Radio’ (2003), ‘American Gangster’ (2007), ‘Linewatch’ (2008), ‘Lies & Illusions ‘(2009) and ‘The Hit List’ (2011).
  • Gooding’s most recent significant film role was in the movie ‘The Butler’, a 2013 American drama film. The story was loosely based on the life of Eugene Allen, a waiter and a butler who worked for the US government at the White House. Along with Gooding, the film starred renowned actors such as Forest Whitaker, Oprah Winfrey, John Cusack, James Marsden, and Alan Rickman. It was a hit and received mostly positive reviews.
  • He has also appeared in several TV shows, most of which were guest appearances. He did an important role in ‘The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.’ The show which started airing on February 2, 2016, was about the O.J. Simpson murder case. The case was about the famous NFL (National Football League) player who was accused of murdering his wife and a friend of hers. The show was a success and received several awards.
Major Works
  • ‘Jerry Maguire’ a 1996 American sports film, for which Cuba Gooding Jr. won an Academy Award, can be regarded as the most significant work in his career. Gooding co-stared with Tom Cruise in the film, playing the role of a football player. The film was praised by critics and earned more than $273 million worldwide. It also won numerous awards. Along with Cruise and Gooding, the film starred other actors such as Kelly Preston, Jerry O’ Connell, Regina King, and Bonnie Hunt.
  • ‘What Dreams May Come’ in which Gooding starred alongside Robin Williams, is another significant work of his career. The film, which is based on a 1978 novel of the same name by American author Richard Matheson, focuses on the afterlife experiences of a man named Chris Nielsen, played by Williams. The film received only mixed reviews from critics. However it won several awards such as the Art Directors Guild Award for Excellence in Production Design.
  • His latest appearance was in a supporting role in the 2014 British-American historical drama film ‘Selma.’ The film is based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery marches that took place from Selma, in Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery. The purpose of the march was to highlight racial injustice against African Americans. The film was nominated for four Golden Globe Awards. It received mostly positive reviews. However, the historical accuracy of the story became a subject of controversy and criticism.
Awards & Achievements
  • Cuba Gooding Jr. has received several awards during his career. Some of them are the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in the 1996 movie ‘Jerry Maguire’ and NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actor in a Television Movie, Mini-Series or Dramatic Special for the 2012 television film ‘Firelight.’
Personal Life & Legacy
  • Cuba Gooding married Sara Kapfer, his high-school sweetheart, in the year 1994. They have three children. However, the couple separated in 2014 and is in the process of getting a divorce.
  • This famous actor is a skilled hockey player as well. He loves playing in his free-time and even has a rink in his backyard.
  • He also loves vacationing in Hawaii, and goes there often with his family.

1. Boyz n the Hood (1991)

  (Drama, Crime)

2. American Gangster (2007)

  (Crime, Biography, Thriller, Drama)

3. A Few Good Men (1992)

  (Drama, Thriller)

4. Men of Honor (2000)

  (Drama, Biography)

5. As Good as It Gets (1997)

  (Romance, Drama, Comedy)

6. Selma (2014)

  (Drama, History, Biography)

7. Jerry Maguire (1996)

  (Comedy, Drama, Romance, Sport)

8. The Butler (2013)

  (Drama, Biography)


Academy Awards(Oscars)
1997 Best Actor in a Supporting Role Jerry Maguire (1996)

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