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Real Name: Cuba Gooding, Jr.
Birthday: January 2nd 

Biography And Filmography:

A sociable actor with a personality that brightens up the  movie screen, Cuba Gooding, Jr. experienced the good and bad of show business growing up as the son of his famed singer father. When his parents separated, he relocated with his mother, brother and sister out of the Hollywood lifestyle and began having economic difficulty, which included periods of being homeless and living out of cars, as well as time on welfare. 

While the family was sleeping in a cheap hotel in Orange County, he made friends with personal assistant Shawn Suttles and development partner Derek Broes, and the three polished their break dancing moves, calling themselves the Majestic Vision Break dancers. Their showing was good enough to get them into the break dancing variety show that was part of the closing ceremonies at the 1984 Olympic Games, and the performance landed Cuba a talent agent, shining some light on the world he had known as a child.

The actor got his first real part as a thug in an episode of  "Hill Street Blues", then as a guest star on "Jake and the Fatman". Other television roles and commercials followed before he made his movie introduction in "Coming to America" (1988) starring Eddie Murphy. His leap forward came with a leading role in "Boyz N the Hood" (1991) featuring Angela Basset, abut the saga of a group of childhood friends growing up in a Los Angeles ghetto.  The newcomer was moving up in the world, an audience favorite, and the job offers started to pour in. 

He next took the role that forever changed his status in Hollywood and put him on the list of sexy celebrities. The actor was cast in the star-studded blockbuster court-martial drama "A Few Good Men" (1992) working with veteran actors, in a story set in the heart of the nation's capital, in a courthouse of the United Sates government, where one man will stop at nothing to keep his honor, and one will stop at nothing to find the truth. He then starred in "Gladiator" (1992), a story about two teenagers trapped in the world of illegal underground boxing.

Next, He was hired and cast in the Western comedy alongside Paul Hogan in "Lightning Jack" (1994, a comedy about two outlaws who just wanted to be wanted. Next, he attracted attention in his role as Mike in "Judgment Night" (1993) with Emilio Estevez as part of the young group forced to fight for their lives after witnessing a crime in Chicago's inner-city. He kept his career going with other small roles in "Losing Isaiah" with Halle Berry and Samuel L. Jackson, and "Outbreak" (1995) with another all-star cast including Dustin Hoffman and Rene Russo, where extreme measures are necessary to contain an epidemic of a deadly airborne virus. 

When Damon Wayans dropped out of "Jerry Maguire" (1996), Gooding stepped into the role, and was stunning alongside Tom Cruise and Renee Zellweger, a story about a sports agent who has a moral epiphany and is fired for expressing it and decides to put his new philosophy to the test as an independent agent with the only athlete who stays with him. His performance in "Jerry Maguire" won him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar, and shouts of "Show me the money!" his motto to the lead agent, became part of the countries vocabulary.

His next outing were supporting roles as Greg Kinnear's gay art dealer friend in "As Good As It Gets" (1997) and as Robin Williams' tour guide in "What Dreams May Come" (1998). In his first leading role since his Oscar win, he left the roles of friendly, colorful characters for a much more academic role as a striving psychiatrist trying to draw out Anthony Hopkins' psychotic killer in the dramatic thriller "Instinct" (1999). 

That year he also played a small town good guy trying to stop a chemical weapon from exploding in "Chill Factor", then was cast opposite Robert De Niro in "Men of Honor" (2000), the story of Carl Brashear, the first African American United States Navy Diver and the man who trained him. Staying in uniform, the actor then played a courageous Naval petty officer who courageously defends his station on the Arizona from the Japanese attack on "Pearl Harbor" (2001) with Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale. He then worked for Disney in the comedy "Snow Dogs" (2002), playing a Miami dentist who inherits a sled dog team and finds himself racing across the frozen Alaskan tundra. 

He followed with one of his few bad flicks in, "Boat Trip" (2002), accidentally embarking on a gay singles cruise with his not-so-bright friend (Horatio Sanz). His next movie, "The Fighting Temptations" (2003) was admired at the box office for its captivating gospel and soul music, Cuba - playing a morally damaged advertising executive who returns to his home to collect an inheritance finds himself working instead to build a ruthless church choir from a gang of misfits.

His next role showed that he still had power. He took on the starring role in the drama "Radio" (2003), playing the mentally challenged southern local boy who finds comradeship and hope in the town's football coach (Ed Harris). The relationship eventually results in both men being moved in two entirely different ways. He then lent his voice talents to the karate kicking stallion 'Buck' in the animated movie “Home on the Range” (2004), where in order to save their farm, the resident animals go bounty hunting for a notorious outlaw. He starred opposite Helen Mirren as a romantically involved couple of hired killers looking for one last chance at deliverance in “Shadowboxer” (2005). 

In a low budget role, the rising celebrity played a crooked cop pulled into an Internal Affairs investigation in the thriller “Dirty” (2005), then portrayed a Secret Service agent teamed up with a hot shot reporter (Angie Harmon) to find the crooks involved in the assassination of the President of the United States in “End Game” (2006). Returning to comedy roles, he played a supporting role to the many characters of Eddie Murphy in “Norbit” (2007), about a mild-mannered guy who is engaged to a monstrous woman then meets the woman of his dreams, and schemes to find a way to be with her. More comedy followed with "What Love Is" (2007) about a man who plans to surprise his girlfriend with an engagement ring, and asks his four best friends to witness the popping of the question at his place on Valentine's night, and then runs into a big problem. 

He then kicked it up a notch with Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington in the crime thriller "American Gangster" (2007), set in the 1970's America, about a detective who works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East. He stayed with the action thrillers with his role in "Hero Wanted" (2008) where after a man awakens in a hospital he tracks down and murders the men that left him and a bank teller for dead during a robbery, only to end up having the slain thief's associates come after him in retaliation. 

During the 2008-2009 movie season The actor had a number of projects released including the comedy "Harold" (2008) about a teenager with an early onset of male-pattern baldness who befriends his high school's janitor. Then he returned to dramatic films with "Linewatch" (2008) about a seasoned agent working line watch on the United Stated Mexico Border. He then starred with J.K. Simmons in the action thriller "The Way Of War" (2008) where a paramilitary operative goes on a rampage after discovering a conspiracy to commit war. He wrapped his year with with Christian Slater in the action thriller "Lies & Illusions" (2008) where a book editor from New York becomes obsessed with the author of a violent novel. 

 

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