Cuba Gooding Sr., Main Ingredient Singer, Dead at 72

Artist and father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr. known for soul hits including "Everybody Plays the Fool"

Cuba Gooding, Sr., lead singer of the Main Ingredient, has died at the age of 72. Credit: Chris McKay/Getty

Cuba Gooding Sr., the lead singer for soul group the Main Ingredient and father of actor Cuba Gooding Jr., has died at the age of 72. Gooding was found dead in his car on Thursday in Woodland Hills, California, according to ABC.

While the cause of death remains unknown, authorities said Gooding appeared to have died of natural causes or a drug overdose. According to ABC, alcohol bottles and drug paraphernalia were found in the singer's vehicle. 

Gooding Sr. had served as a backing singer on recordings for the Main Ingredient before stepping into the lead role in 1971, following the death of former lead singer Donald McPherson. The group garnered several gold singles, including "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely," "Happiness is Just Around the Bend," "Rolling Down a Mountainside" and their highest-charting hit with 1972's "Everybody Plays the Fool."

Gooding was born April 27th, 1944 in New York. He grew up with Main Ingredient members Tony Sylvester, Luther Simmons Jr. and McPherson in Harlem. Sylvester, Simmons and McPherson formed the group the Poets, which then became the Insiders before renaming themselves the Main Ingredient. Gooding worked with the group as a backing singer, but when McPherson became too sick to tour, Gooding sang lead during live concerts. McPherson was diagnosed with leukemia and died on July 4th, 1971.

With Gooding as lead singer, the group had their first million-selling single with "Everybody Plays the Fool." It held the Number Two spot on the R&B chart for three weeks and hit Number Three on the all-genre Hot 100 chart.

Gooding signed with Motown Records in 1977 as a solo artist, where he released two albums. His debut, The 1st Album, housed his charting single "Mind Pleaser." In 1979, he re-teamed with the Main Ingredient and worked with them through the Eighties. In 1983, Gooding recorded a remake of "Happiness is Just Around the Bend," which became a dance hit. Gooding also scored a hit in 2012 with "This Christmas."

He had four children with his wife Shirley Gooding: actors Cuba Gooding Jr., Omar Gooding and April Gooding, and musician Tommy Gooding.

The Main Ingredient - "Everybody Plays the Fool"

The Main Ingredient - "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely"


The Main Ingredient - "Happiness is Just Around the Bend"


The Main Ingredient - "Rolling Down a Mountainside"