Gooding's first job as an entertainer was as a breakdancer performing with singer, Lionel Richie at the closing ceremonies of the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles. After high school, Gooding studied Japanese martial arts for three years, before turning his focus toward acting. Early on, he landed guest starring roles on shows like Hill Street Blues (1981), Amen (1988) and MacGyver (1988, 1989 and 1990) and also had a tiny part in the popular comedy Coming to America (1988). Gooding's first major role was in John Singleton's inner-city crime drama Boyz n the Hood (1991), in which he played the lead, Tre Styles. The film was a box office surprise and critical hit, and is considered a modern classic. He followed this success with supporting roles in major films such as A Few Good Men (1992), Judgment Night (1993), Lightning Jack (1994), and Outbreak (1995). In 1996, Gooding reached a new level of prominence when he was cast as an arrogant yet charismatic football player in Cameron Crowe's blockbuster dramatic sports comedy Jerry Maguire (1996) with co-star Tom Cruise, which was a major critical and commercial success and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. Most significantly, it earned Gooding an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor. His exuberant "Show me the money!" line in the film became a nationwide catch phrase. Additionally, his Oscar acceptance speech has often been cited for its enthusiasm.
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