Cuba Gooding Sr., the father of Oscar Award-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., was unfortunately found dead in his car parked on a busy street in the Woodland Hills section of Los Angeles just this past Thursday (April 20). He was 72-years-old.
Coroner’s in Los Angeles said that the cause of his unexpected death is currently under investigation, however, drug paraphernalia and alcohol were allegedly found in the car that he was found in, which was parked on a busy street.
Gooding rose to fame as the lead singer of the rhythm-and-blues group the Main Ingredient. The group’s biggest hit, “Everybody Plays the Fool,” reached No. 3 on the Billboard pop singles chart and No. 2 on the R&B chart. It made enough money to enable him to move with his family from the Bronx to Southern California.
Gooding’s own father had fled Barbados for Cuba — hence his son’s name — before becoming a taxi driver in New York City. Gooding was born in New York City on April 27, 1944, to Dudley MacDonald Gooding and the former Addie Alston.
He joined the Main Ingredient after the group’s original lead singer, Donald McPherson, died of leukemia in 1971. The group’s other hits included “Just Don’t Want to Be Lonely” and “Happiness Is Just Around the Bend,” both in 1974.
Gooding left the Main Ingredient in 1977 but returned in 1979 after releasing two albums as a solo artist for Motown. He left again in the late 1980s and released solo albums in 1993 and 2004. The Bronx native’s vocals were also sampled in Alicia Keys’ 2004 hit “You Don’t Know My Name.”
In January, the Cuba Gooding, Jr., spoke of his relationship with his father on “Inside the Actors Studio.”
“I remember, one of my earliest memories, I couldn’t have been more than 8 or 9 years old, maybe 7, he would perform at Disneyland, and after his performances, they would close it off to the general public and all the performers’ kids would go on the rides as many times as they’d want,” he said.
“He would pull me up on stage with him and make me finish the song because I’d seen him perform all the time in the household all the time. It was a lot of feeling like, ’I come from royalty.’”
In addition to his son Cuba Jr., his survivors include his wife, the former Shirley Sullivan; two other sons, Omar, an actor, and Tommy, a musician; a daughter, April Gooding, an actress and comedian; and grandchildren.