Actor Cuba Gooding, Jr. has seen the highs and lows of success and through it all he’s persevered in his career. Widely known for his Oscar-winning portrayal of Rod Tidwell in the hit 1996 film “Jerry Maguire,” Cuba hit a professional rough patch right after his win. While many people would give up and move on to other ventures, he has continued to push forward in regaining his spot on Hollywood’s A-List.


When Cuba Gooding, Jr. first came to fame, it was for sitting in a chair and smiling in Eddie Murphy‘s hit comedy “Coming to America.” While he never said anything, no one could deny the kid had the talent to make it in the business. He had taken bit parts in television shows like “MacGyver,” “Hill Street Blues,” and “Amen.” However, John Singleton thrusted him into the spotlight by giving Cuba the lead role in the groundbreaking drama “Boyz N The Hood.” Cuba Gooding, Jr. stole everyone’s hearts when they watched him in the gritty film. After that, it seemed everything would be smooth sailing and it was because Cuba’s next big part was in “Jerry Maguire.”

After the success of “Jerry Maguire,” everyone thought Cuba Gooding, Jr. would become the next Denzel Washington. However, that wasn’t the case. Many said he made bad film decisions. It’s been reported he turned down the lead role in “Amistad,” which turned Djimon Hounsou from a model in music videos into an Oscar-nominated actor. In spite of those bad decisions, Cuba continued to act in the films he wanted. A lot of those films weren’t commercially successful, but Cuba was happy with the work he was doing.

Around 2007, Cuba Gooding, Jr. was barely a name on the lips of movie fans except to ask where he’d gone. But he shocked everyone with a small part in “American Gangster.” Gooding played Nicky Barnes, who was a rival drug dealer to Denzel Washington’s Frank Lucas character. With one major scene, he reminded everyone why he won an Oscar a decade earlier and that he was still a force to be reckoned with in the acting forum. Since his appearance in “American Gangster, ” Gooding has taken smaller roles in grittier films than fans are used to seeing him in. That has paid off. Not only is Cuba getting Oscar buzz surrounding his performance in “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” but he is breaking new ground in his career by making his Broadway debut in the play “A Trip to Bountiful” in which he starred alongside Vanessa L. Williams and Cicely Tyson.

Cuba Gooding, Jr. is a leading man because he is an example of redemption. While many wrote him off when his career was plateauing, e remained focused and came back with a vengeance which is something a lot of people could use some tips on.


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Blair Underwood, Cuba Gooding Jr. Attend Thurgood Marshall College Fund Gala

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