Cuba Michael Gooding, Jr. was born on January 2, 1968 in The Bronx, New York. He is known for his Oscar-winning performance in Jerry Maguire, as well as appearances in such Hollywood films as Boyz n the Hood, A Few Good Men, and Men of Honor, and an Emmy-nominated performance as O.J. Simpson in FX's American Crime Story.
In 1972, Gooding moved to Los Angeles with his family, where he attended four different high schools in the Grandad Hills area: North Hollywood High School, Tustin High School, Apple Valley High School, and John F. Kennedy High School, serving as class president in three of them. Following high school, he studied Japanese martial arts for three years before deciding to pursue a career in acting.
After landing small roles in TV series such as MacGyver and Amen in the late 1980s and the movie Coming to America in 1988, his big break came after being cast as Tre Styles in the 1991 film Boyz n the Hood. The film went on to become both a critical and commercial hit, launching Gooding's successful Hollywood career. He would go on to star in a string of movies, including the roles of Cpl. Carl Hammaker in A Few Good Men in 1992, Mike Peterson in Judgment Night in 1993, Ben Doyle in Lightning Jack in 1994, and Major Salt in Outbreak in 1995. He then starred as Rod Tidwell opposite Tom Cruise in Jerry Maguire in 1996, winning the Academy Award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1997. He also picked up his first Golden Globe nomination for the performance.
Since his Oscar win, Gooding's most notable film credits have included As Good As It Gets (1997), What Dreams May Come (1998), Men of Honor (2000), Pearl Harbor (2001), Rat Race (2001), The Fighting Temptations (2003), Radio (2003), Disney's Home on the Range (2004), American Gangster (2007), Red Tails (2012), The Butler (2013), and Selma (2014).
On television, he has appeared in such series as BET's The Book of Negroes and Comedy Central's Big Time in Hollywood, FL in 2015, FX's American Horror Story: Roanoke, and American Crime Story: The People v. O.J. Simpson in 2016, picking up his first Emmy Award nomination for his performance.
Gooding made his Broadway debut as Ludie Watts, opposite Cicely Tyson and Vanessa Williams, in the 2013 revival of The Trip to Bountiful from March 30 to August 27 of that year. He made his West End debut in 2018, originating the role of Billy Flynn in the 21st anniversay revival of Chicago at London's Phoenix Theatre from March 26 to June 30, and reprised his performance in the Broadway production of Chicago from October 6 through November 18, 2018. He returned for a second Broadway engagement as Billy Flynn from January 7 through February 10, 2019.