Cuba Gooding Sr., Soul Singer, Dies at 72




Cuba Gooding Sr., left, and his son the actor Cuba Gooding Jr. attending a premiere party at the Apollo Theater in 2007.

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Cuba Gooding Sr., a soul singer best known for the 1972 hit “Everybody Plays the Fool,” was found dead on Thursday in Los Angeles. He was 72.

The coroner’s office said that the cause was under investigation. Mr. Gooding’s body was found in a car parked on a busy street in the Woodland Hills section.

Mr. Gooding, the father of the Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., 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.


The Main Ingredient, left to right: Cuba Gooding, Carl Tompkins, and Luther Simmons Jr.

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Mr. Gooding’s own father had fled Barbados for Cuba — hence his son’s name — before becoming a taxi driver in Manhattan. Mr. 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 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.

Mr. 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.

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.

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