Omar Gooding, an award-winning American actor, producer, writer and rapper, is the youngest son of an African American and Barbadian or “Basian” (from Barbados) father, Cuba Gooding, Sr., and an African American and Irish mother, Shirley, who were both singers and entertainers. His father was the lead singer of the internationally known R&B group, “The Main Ingredient.”
As the younger brother to an Oscar winner Cuba, Jr. and the son of two entertainers, you can say Gooding was born into the world of the entertainment industry. It all started when his older brother had a dream of being an actor so his mother took the family “on the road” and they settled in Toluca Lake, a neighborhood in the city of Los Angeles and about 5 miles from Hollywood.
His brother took acting classes and was signed to an agent. At ten, Gooding was sent to his brother’s agent’s office to pick up a script, where he was “discovered” by the Coralie Jr Theatrical Agency. After months of begging his mom, Gooding was allowed to go on an audition. With no prior theatrical training, Gooding had two auditions in one day and booked one of them. The rest, as they say, is history, as Gooding’s career took off and spanned more than 25 years in both TV and film.
Gooding become a series regular for three years on a Nickelodeon TV show, “Wild and Crazy Kids,” followed by a five year run on an ABC network series, “Hanging with Mr. Cooper,” and a three-year run on a series for the WB network, “Smart Guy.” His next move was in feature films. He starred in a major motion picture for Paramount Pictures, “Baby Boy,” opposite Ving Rhames, Tyrese Gibson, Snoop Dogg, and Taraji P. Henson. Gooding received critical praise for his role as Sweetpea. Gooding stars as a family man of two children on his own show, Bounce TV, “Family Time,” now in its sixth season. He is also a producer and a writer on the popular sitcom.
He has also followed in his father’s footsteps musically, as a rapper. Gooding’s stage name is “Big O,” and he is in the process of releasing another album. Sadly, Gooding lost R&B music legend and his larger-than-life father due to natural causes in early 2017.
Follow Gooding at @omargooding on Instagram and @theomargooding on Twitter.