Cuba Gooding Sr., a music star and the father of Oscar-winning actor Cuba Gooding Jr., was found dead in his car on Thursday.
Gooding’s body was slumped over the wheel of his Jaguar in 22100 block of Ventura Boulevard in Woodland Hills, Calif., about 1 p.m.
He was 72 years old.
Paramedics who responded to the scene tried to revive the singer, but were unable to do so and he was pronounced dead soon after.
Sources familiar with the investigation told the L.A. Times that alcohol containers and drug paraphernalia were in Gooding Sr.’s car.
According to LAPD officials, there were of foul play and that the investigation had been turned over to the L.A. County coroner’s office.
They will determine the singer’s cause of death, most likely within the next 48-72 hours, though certain tests take longer to complete.
Gooding rose to fame with hits like “Everybody Plays the Fool” and “Just Don’t Want to be Lonely” as the lead singer of The Main Ingredient.
As for his most unusual name, which his son shares?
Born in Harlem, New York, the star was named Cuba by his father, Dudley MacDonald Gooding, and described the reasoning in 2015:
“He told my mother that he would name his first born son Cuba because he once lived in Cuba and had positive feelings about the country.”
He was encouraged to pursue a singing career early on.
“My mom and dad were determined that their first-born son would do something in the arts, if I had the talent,” he recalled back in 2014.
“Being born in Harlem had its advantages if you wanted to be an entertainer because it was literally the entertainment capital of the world.”
“I lived only eight blocks away from the Apollo Theater, and 19 blocks from Carnegie Hall [though that] required a little bit more sneaking in the back.”
Growing up, he saw Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke and Jackie Wilson play, and vowed to become a singer in his own right.
The other members of Main Ingredient were childhood friends, but Gooding initially wanted a solo career and resisted coming on board.
He contributed backing vocals to some tracks, however, and stepped up as the lead singer following the death of frontman Donald McPherson.
That was 1971.
In 1972, the Gooding-led quartet recorded an album, Afrodisiac, which featured several songs written or co-written by Stevie Wonder.
By 1977, he had left the band, signed with Motown Records and released two well-received, though less commercially successful albums.
He re-joined Main Ingredient and worked with them through the 1980s, cementing his legacy as one of the best in his genre and era.
Son Cuba Gooding, Jr., of course, is an Academy Award-winning actor, most notably of Boyz ‘N the Hood and Jerry Maguire fame.
Recently, Gooding Jr. earned raves for his portrayal as the title character in FX’s acclaimed series The People vs. O.J. Simpson.
Gooding Sr. had three other children with his wife, Shirley Gooding, including Omar and April, both of whom are also actors.
Musician Tommy Gooding, who served as the musical director of his father’s touring band, rounded out the showbiz family.