The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on December 7, 1997 · Page 153
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The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 153

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Sunday, December 7, 1997
Page 153
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Page 153 article text (OCR)

appeared in school plays. His break-dancing crew continued to perform. In 1984, they were chosen from more than 200 groups to appear in the Closing Ceremonies of the Los Angeles Olympics. "It was the defining moment of my childhood," Gooding said. "There were so many people sharing the moment that it was mind-blowing. I felt like a part of history. I loved the crowd's energy. Also, it was taking me one step closer to get those early times when his father was a star. "Those times were so enticing to me that I decided I wanted to be an entertainer," he said. "I was in high school when I began thinking about becoming an actor. My mom said, 'If you want to be an actor, we have to move back to Hollywood' " They moved to a hotel, but when things didn't work out, they moved on to Tustin, Calif. Gooding was in the ninth grade. Money was still scarce, and this time he makes it easy to justify doing those types of movies. But that's not what I wanted." Instead, Gooding has built his career playing a variety of characters who could be black or white: He was a Marine in A Few Good Men and a scientist in Outbreak. Gooding's higher profile has drawn accusations of disloyalty from some former agents. He has changed agents six times over his short career. He doesn't see it as an issue, nor does his friend and Jerry Maguire co-star, Tom Cruise. "Cuba? Disloyal? That's ridiculous," Cruise said emphatically. "Cuba got the role, not his agent." He added, "From had etched in their shoulders: feathers wrapped in barbed wire. It represents, he said, friendships that can never be broken. Another person who has remained a part of his life is his high school girlfriend, Sara Kapfer, who is white. By the time they married in 1994, she was a kindergarten teacher's assistant. They have two sons: Spencer, 3, and Mason, 1 . "I learned never to let too much time go without my sons seeing me," he said. T ve found out I also need that time. I'll work, but I'll never indulge my needs to the point it hurts my relationship with my family." "Cuba is very giving, and we've achieved a balance," Sara told me. "Cuba is unlike most people in that he's so trusting and forgiving. He doesn't hold anyone responsible for where he was, because look where he is today. He Hollywood." At 18, Cuba got an agent. A year later, he i MMuk 1 9 "X ''"i III really believes it's all God's plan." T "At 6 When I asked Gooding if it was difficult being in an interracial marriage, he answered with a shrug. "I didn't focus on that before or now," he said. "My son is the only black kid in his preschool. What can I tell you? The only way I can raise my kid is with love. No matter what happens with our kids, they will know they can come home to parents that love them. If they have to deal with the interracial thing, they'll just deal with it. Life is full of obstacles and solutions." Even Gooding's mother has finally had her faith rewarded. Her husband returned to her, and they remarried two years ago. "I was a little cautious when my folks reconciled," Gooding admitted. "I wanted to make sure everyone had the best intentions. But I realized what was most important was that my mom and dad were happy." "I love my dad, but we fight a lot," he added. Cuba was named after his father, whose own father had named him in memory of his first wife, who was from that island. "We didn't have a relationship when we were kids. All of a sudden he's come back in our lives, and I'm a grown man. Put the father stuff away, and let's deal with each other as two men. That's what we're doing now. We're starting over. - f hi . I . "From the moment he came in the room to audition for Jerpy Msgulre, Cuba was on fire" says Tom Cruise. "We became friends quickly. I want to work with him again." the moment he came in the room to audition for Jerry Maguire, Cuba was on fire. In 4 Few Good Men, he was on the set for only two days, but I could tell he was a really good person. We became friends quickly. I want to work with him again. Cuba thinks about what he's doing and then forgets about everything. That's Cuba in the moment and ready to go. He's a tremendous life force." I asked Gooding how he felt about the "loyalty" issue. "As far as loyalty," he shook his head, bemused, "I've got several people who work with me that I grew up with, who are a part of my foundation, that I'll never leave." Two of his old breakdancing partners work for him: Derek Broes is Gooding's producing partner, and Shawn Suttles is his assistant. In fact, Gooding was so passionate about making his point that he pulled his shirt up around his neck to show orf the tattoo that he and most of the Tustin "crew" After his success in the tilm Boyz N the Hood, about L.A. gang conflict, Gooding (at right, in blue shirt) refused similar roles. Instead, he has played a variety of characters, such as Rod Tidwell, the exuberant football star who is the only client of sports agent Jerry Maguire (Tom Cruise), and Major Salt, an Army researcher who teams up with Dustin Hoffman in Outbreak. In his new film, 4s Good As It Gets, co-starring Jack Nicholson, Gooding plays an art dealer. worked at a taco stand. He also began performing around the city with his "crew," the Majestic Vision Breakdancers. "When I was hanging out dancing, I was exposed to a lot of drugs and violence," he said. "I had to make a conscious choice to stay away from that. A few months later, we moved. If I was stuck in that situation, it would have been much harder to deal with." Soon Gooding was living in North Hollywood. He played varsity football, let his A average slip to a B average and had a part on TV's Hill Street Blues. He was soon offered a starring role in Boyz Nthe Hood, a film about growing to manhood in South Central Los Angeles. Gooding thought the critical acclaim he received would make him a star. Instead, he was offered the same part in similar films. For eight months, he turned them down. "Even if I didn't have the money, I wouldn't have made Boyz N the Hood Go to Heaven or Boyz N the Hood Go to Camp," he said. "Nor would I have taken just any job. The money you're offered "If it wasn't for my relationship with God, I don't think I could have made it through the rough times. But, like my mom always told me, I believe God has a purpose for my life. In fact, there is a grand plan for all of us, whether we ac knowledge it through religion, love or g even playing sports. Knowing that lets me stand on mv faith." ill PARADE MAGAZINE DECEMBER T, 1997 PAGE 5

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