An African-American soul singer and occasional actor, Cuba Gooding Sr. made a named for himself as the vocalist of soul group The Main Ingredient. With the band, he had his first taste of prominence thanks to their two biggest hits, “Everybody Plays the Fool” and “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” (1974). As a soloist, Cuba produced The First Cuba Gooding Album (1978, spawned “We’re In Love”) and Love Dancer (1979, contained the superb “Disco Royale”) for Motown Records, as well as Cuba Gooding: Solo (2002) and Begin With The Family (2004) for U.S. Irie Records.
On an acting front, the father of actors Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omar Gooding, Cuba, has become a minor actor himself. He has had roles in various projects like the made-for-television film No Means No (1988), the short movie Children of the Struggle (1999), the gospel play “'Be Careful What You Pray For” (2000), as well as the movies Gedo (2001) and Destination Fame (2004).
Outside the spotlight, Cuba is the husband of singer Shirley Gooding and the father of two sons, Cuba Gooding Jr. and Omar Gooding. He has three grandchildren from Cuba Gooding Jr.’s marriage to Sara Kapfer.
Father of 2
Childhood and Family:
In New York, New York, Cuba Gooding was born on April 27, 1944. His wife, Shirley, was a backup singer for The Sweethearts. The couple become the parents of actors Cuba Gooding Jr. (born on January 2, 1968), the winner of Oscar in 1997 for his role in the movie Jerry Macguire, and Omar Gooding (born on October 19, 1976).
Hailed from New York, Cuba Gooding Sr., who once worked as a door to door salesman and a debt collector, began his musical career by teaming up with Tony Sylvester, Luther Simmons Jr., and Donald McPherson in a group called The Poets during the 1960’s. Later, the band became The Insiders and then became The Main Ingredient. In 1971, when the lead vocalist McPherson became too ill to tour, he took on the position, an alteration that led to a fruitful performing career. Within three years, The Main Ingredient had produced such major hits as” Everybody Plays the Fool” (1972) and the remake of the Ronnie Dyson melody “I Just Don’t Want To Be Lonely” (1974). Cuba departed the group in 1978 to chase a solo career.
Signed by Motown Records, Cuba released his solo debut in 1978 with The First Cuba Gooding Album, which contained his version of “We’re In Love,” which later popularized by Patti Austin. His sophomore effort, Love Dancer, produced by Michael Lovesmith, followed in the next year. One of its tracks, “Disco Royale,” was commonly performed on the Robbie Vincent Radio London soul show.
Following his departure from the Motown imprint in 1983, Cuba launched Happiness Is Just Around The Bend for Streetwise Records. A remake of an earlier Main Ingredient tune taken from the 1974 album Euphrates River, the album was extremely well-liked on the United Kingdom soul music scene. He resumed his career with the Main Ingredient up until the early 1990s.
Returning to his solo career, Cuba released Meant To Be In Love in 1993 for the label Triune Records. It featured guest performance from Vaneese Thomas. Later in early 2000, he toured with David Peaston and Shirley Murdoch on the gospel play “'Be Careful What You Pray For,” and in 2002, he joined U.S. Irie Records to produce his next recording, Cuba Gooding: Solo. The collaboration continued with Begin With The Family in 2004.
In addition to singing career, Cuba also sporadically appeared as an actor on television and film. He was featured as a reporter in the Schoolbreak Special: No Means No (1988), portrayed southern gentlemen in writer/director John Benitz’s short movie Children of the Struggle (1999), was cast as Pawn Shop owner in the crime/drama movie Gedo (2001) and starred as Mr. Manus in the musical Destination Fame (2004). Still in 2004, he had a feature role in the comedy film Roscoe’s House of Chicken n Waffles, which went to a direct-to-video-release.