Samuel Leroy Jackson was born on 21 December 1948, in Washington, D.C. Samuel Jackson is an American Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA-winning actor. Samuel Jackson came to fame in the early 1990s, after a series of well-reviewed performances, and has since become a major film star and cultural icon, having appeared in a large number of high-grossing films.
Samuel Jackson is married to Latanya Richardson and has a daughter named Zoe. Samuel Jackson is a huge sports fan and an avid golfer. Samuel Jackson has won multiple awards for his film performances and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and lyrics. Samuel Jackson is currently working on 5 films that will debut between 2008 and 2009.
Samuel Jackson has noted that he chooses roles that are “exciting to watch” and have an “interesting character inside of a story”, and that in his roles he wanted to “do things [he hasn’t] done, things he saw as a kid and wanted to do and now has an opportunity to do”.
Samuel Jackson grew up as an only child in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson (née Montgomery), who was a factory worker and later a supplies buyer for a mental institution, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. Samuel Jackson’s father lived away from the family in Kansas City, Missouri and later died from alcoholism; Samuel Jackson had only met his father twice during his life. Samuel Jackson attended Riverside High (now Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences), a segregated school where, between the 3rd and 12th grades, he played the French horn and trumpet in the school orchestra. Samuel Jackson later attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he co-founded the “Just Us Theater”. Samuel Jackson graduated in 1972.
After the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Samuel Jackson attended the funeral in Atlanta as one of the ushers. Samuel Jackson then flew to Memphis to join an equal rights protest march. In a Parade interview Samuel Jackson revealed: “I was angry about the assassination, but I wasn’t shocked by it. I knew that change was going to take something different—not sit-ins, not peaceful coexistence.” In 1969, Samuel Jackson and several other students held members of the Morehouse College board of trustees (including a nearby Martin Luther King, Sr.) hostage on the campus, demanding reform in the school’s curriculum and governance. The college eventually agreed to change its ways, but Samuel Jackson was charged with and eventually convicted of a second degree felony (unlawful confinement). Samuel Jackson was then suspended for 2 years for his criminal record and his actions (although he would later return to the college to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Drama in 1972). Samuel Jackson decided to remain in Atlanta, where he met with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and others active in the Black Power movement. Samuel Jackson revealed in the same Parade interview that he began to feel empowered with his involvement in the movement, especially when the group began buying guns. However, before Samuel Jackson could become involved with any significant armed confrontation, his mother sent him to Los Angeles after the F.B.I. told her that he would die within a year if he remained with the Black Power movement.
Samuel Jackson initially decided to go to Morehouse College to major in Architecture, but decided to change his major to Drama after taking a public speaking class and appearing in a version of The Threepenny Opera. Samuel Jackson began acting in multiple plays including Home and A Soldier’s Play. Samuel Jackson also landed himself in several TV films, and his 1st feature film was in Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Samuel Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York City in 1976 and spent the next decade appearing in stage plays such as The Piano Lesson and 2 Trains Running which both premiered at the Yale Repertory Theater. At this point in his early career, Samuel Jackson developed an alcohol and cocaine addiction, resulting in him being unable to proceed with the 2 plays as they continued to Broadway (actors Charles S. Dutton and Anthony Chisholm took his place). Throughout his early film career, mainly in minimal roles in films such as Coming to America (as a criminal robbing a fast food joint) and various TV films, Samuel Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play A Soldier’s Play, Samuel Jackson was introduced to beginning director Spike Lee who would later include him in small roles for the films School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989). Samuel Jackson also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards.
After completing these films, Samuel Jackson’s cocaine addiction continued to increase to the point where he overdosed, and his family entered him into a New York rehab clinic. When he successfully completed rehab, Samuel Jackson acted in Jungle Fever, as the crack cocaine addict brother to the relatively new actor Wesley Snipes, a role which Samuel Jackson called cathartic as he was recovering from his addiction. The film was so acclaimed that the 1991 Cannes Film Festival awarded a special “Supporting Actor” award just for him. After this role, Samuel Jackson became involved with multiple film requests, including Strictly Business, Juice, Patriot Games, and then moved on to 2 comedies: National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 and Amos & Andrew. After rapid involvement in these films, Samuel Jackson worked with director Steven Spielberg in Jurassic Park. Samuel Jackson played a major role in Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction. The film was Samuel Jackson’s most notable role, mainly for his monologues and one-liners along with co-star John Travolta. The film earned Samuel Jackson an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor as well as a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA Best Supporting Actor award win.
With a succession of unsuccessful films such as Kiss of Death, The Great White Hype, and Losing Isaiah, Samuel Jackson began to receive poor reviews from critics who had praised his performance in Pulp Fiction. This ended with his involvement in the 2 successful box office films A Time To Kill, where he depicted a father who is put on trial for killing 2 men who raped his daughter, and Die Hard with a Vengeance, co-starring along side Bruce Willis in the 3rd installment of the Die Hard series. For A Time to Kill, Samuel Jackson earned a NAACP Image for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and a Golden Globe nomination for a Best Supporting Actor.
Quickly becoming a box office star, Samuel Jackson continued with 3 starring roles in 1997. In 187 he played a teacher, dedicated to educating students in a Los Angeles high school but with a terrible secret. Samuel Jackson received an Independent Spirit award for Best 1st Feature alongside 1st-time writer/director Kasi Lemmons in the drama film Eve’s Bayou, for which he also served as executive producer. Samuel Jackson joined up again with director Quentin Tarantino and received a Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Actor and a 4th Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of arms merchant Ordell Robbie in Jackie Brown. In 1998, he worked with other established actors such as Sharon Stone and Dustin Hoffman in Sphere and Kevin Spacey in The Negotiator, playing a hostage negotiator who resorts to taking hostages himself when he is falsely accused of murder and embezzlement. In 1999, Samuel Jackson starred in a shark horror film, Deep Blue Sea, and as Jedi Master Mace Windu in George Lucas’s Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. In an interview, Samuel Jackson claimed that he did not have a chance to read the script for the film and did not learn he was playing the character Mace Windu until he was fitted for his costume (it is said that he was eager to accept any role, just for the chance to be a part of the Star Wars saga).
On 13 June, 2000, Samuel Jackson was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which can be found at 7018 Hollywood Blvd. Samuel Jackson began the next decade in his film career as a Marine colonel put on trial in Rules of Engagement, co-starred with Bruce Willis for a 3rd time in the supernatural thriller Unbreakable, and starred in the 2000 remake of the 1971 film Shaft. Samuel Jackson’s sole film in 2001 was The Caveman’s Valentine, where he plays a homeless musician in a murder thriller. The film was directed by Kasi Lemmons, who previously worked with Samuel Jackson in Eve’s Bayou. In 2002, he played a recovering alcoholic attempting to keep custody of his kids while dealing with a mishap with Ben Affleck’s character in Changing Lanes. Samuel Jackson returned for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, increasing his role from a small role to a supporting role. Mace Windu’s purple lightsaber in the film was the result of Samuel Jackson’s suggestion; he wanted to be sure that his character would stand out in a crowded battle scene. Samuel Jackson then acted as a NSA agent alongside Vin Diesel in xXx and a drug dealer wearing a kilt in The 51st State. In 2003, Samuel Jackson portrayed another character in a military role, working with John Travolta again in Basic and then as a police sergeant alongside Colin Farrell in the television show remake S.W.A.T. In 2004, Samuel Jackson played a mentor to Ashley Judd in the thriller Twisted, and lent his voice to the computer-animated film The Incredibles as the superhero Frozone. Samuel Jackson once again appeared in a Tarantino film, by cameoing in Kill Bill, Vol. 2.
In 2005, he began with the sports drama, Coach Carter, where he played a coach (based on the actual coach Ken Carter) dedicated to teaching his players that education is more important than basketball. Samuel Jackson also returned for 2 sequels: XXX: State of the Union, this time commanding Ice Cube, and the final prequel George Lucas installment, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. Samuel Jackson’s last film for 2005 was The Man alongside comedian Eugene Levy. On 4 November, 2005, he was presented with the Hawaii International Film Festival Achievement in Acting Award.
On 30 January, 2006, Samuel Jackson was honoured with a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theater; he is the 7th African American and 191st actor to be recognised in this manner. Samuel Jackson next starred opposite of actress Julianne Moore in the box office bomb Freedomland, where he depicted a police detective attempting to help a mother find her abducted child, while quelling a city racial riot. Samuel Jackson’s 2nd film of the year, Snakes on a Plane, gained cult interest months before the film was released based on its title and cast. Samuel Jackson’s decision to star in the film was solely based on the title. To build anticipation for the film, he also cameoed in the 2006 music video Snakes on a Plane (Bring It) by Cobra Starship. On 2 December, Samuel Jackson won the German Bambi Award for International Film, based on his many film contributions. On 15 December, 2006, Samuel Jackson starred in Home of the Brave, as a doctor returning home from the Iraq War, resorting to alcohol to cope with his feelings after the war.
On 30 January, 2007, Samuel Jackson was featured as narrator in Bob Saget’s direct-to-DVD Farce of the Penguins. The film was a spoof of the box office success March of the Penguins (which was narrated by Morgan Freeman). Samuel Jackson’s most recent films, released in 2007, were Black Snake Moan, where he portrays a blues player who imprisons a young woman (Christina Ricci) addicted to sex, and the horror film 1408, which casts him alongside John Cusack in an adaptation of the Stephen King short story. In Cleaner, Samuel Jackson portrayed an obsessive crime scene cleaner who discovers a covered-up murder.
In 2008, Samuel Jackson reprised his role of Mace Windu in the CGI film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, followed by Lakeview Terrace where he played a racist cop who has problems with his married interracial neighbours.
Throughout Samuel Jackson’s career, he has appeared in many films alongside mainstream rappers. These include Tupac Shakur (Juice), Queen Latifah (Juice), Method Man (187), LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea/S.W.A.T.), Busta Rhymes (Shaft), Eve (xXx), Ice Cube (xXx: State of the Union), Xzibit (xXx: State of the Union), David Banner (Black Snake Moan), and 50 Cent (Home of the Brave). Additionally, Samuel Jackson has appeared in 4 films with actor Bruce Willis (National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Unbreakable) and the actors were slated to work together in Black Water Transit before both dropped out.
Samuel Jackson has 5 upcoming film projects between 2008 and 2011, starting with 2 2008 films where he will first be reprising his role of Mace Windu in the CGI film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Samuel Jackson will then portray the villain, the Octopus, in the film The Spirit. Samuel Jackson will also star along with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes (who both died prior to the film’s release) in Soul Men in October. In 2009 he will provide his voice for the animated science fiction film, Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey. Samuel Jackson’s uncredited appearance in the post-credit scene of Iron Man has given him the role of Nick Fury for Iron Man 2, (predicted to release in April 2010), and in The Avengers film set for release in July 2011.
In motion pictures that feature him as a leading actor or supporting co-star, his films have grossed a total of $2.31 to $4.34,000,000,000 at the North American box office, placing him as the 9th (as strictly lead) or the 2nd highest-grossing movie star (counting supporting roles) of all time; behind only that of voice actor, Frank Welker. In August 2007, Samuel Jackson stated in an interview that he wanted to play a small role in George Lucas’s Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull so that he could keep his box office position over Harrison Ford. The 2009 edition of The Guinness World Records stated that Samuel Jackson is the world’s highest grossing actor, having earned $7.42,000,000,000 in 68 films.
Samuel L. Jackson gave his consent for Marvel Comics to design their “Ultimate” version of the character Nick Fury after his likeness. Samuel Jackson had a cameo as the character in the 2008 Iron Man film. Samuel Jackson has also had a song named after him, entitled Sammy L. Jackson by Hot Action Cop. The song was featured on the soundtrack for the 2003 film S.W.A.T, in which Samuel Jackson appeared.
Samuel Jackson has been parodied multiple times in various television shows and films. Samuel Jackson was parodied twice on Chappelle’s Show where he was played by comedian Dave Chappelle in sketches involving Mace Windu and a fake commercial peddling “Samuel Jackson” beer (a parody of Samuel Adams). Samuel Jackson has also been spoofed in the film Team America: World Police, where he was portrayed as a villainous member of the Film Actors Guild, and the 2007 film Epic Movie, poking fun at his role in Snakes on a Plane.
Samuel Jackson also guest-starred as himself in an episode of the BBC/HBO sitcom Extras, voiced the main antagonist, Officer Frank Tenpenny, of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the lead role in a current anime series, Afro Samurai, and has a recurring part as the voice of Gin Rummy in several episodes of the animated series The Boondocks. In 1 episode, he paid tribute to his Pulp Fiction character, Jules Winnfield, by reenacting the “What?” scene from the film.
Samuel Jackson also provided the voice of God for a New Testament audio book version of the Bible entitled The Bible Experience, which was released in November 2006. Samuel Jackson was given the lead role because producers felt his deep, authoritative voice was perfect for the role.
Samuel Jackson is also a sought after host. Thus far, he has hosted the MTV Movie Awards (1998), the ESPYs (1999, 2001, 2002), and the Spike TV Video Game Awards (2005, 2006, 2007).
Samuel Jackson is currently the voice of Virgin Media television adverts in the United Kingdom.
Samuel L. Jackson married actress Latanya Richardson in 1980, whom he met while attending Morehouse College. The couple, who live in Los Angeles, California, have a daughter, Zoe, born in 1982, who is in culinary school.
Samuel Jackson is a keen basketball fan, and especially favours the Toronto Raptors and the Harlem Globetrotters. Samuel Jackson also became a keen Liverpool F.C. fan after filming the movie The 51st State in Liverpool, England. Samuel Jackson enjoys playing golf, a game he has been reported to have become very proficient at. Samuel Jackson has stated that if he had to choose any other career, he would be “on the PGA [tour] playing golf” and that it is the only place where he “can go dressed as a pimp and fit in perfectly”. Samuel Jackson has also stated in an interview that he has a clause in his film contracts that allows him to play golf twice a week.
Samuel Jackson has revealed in an interview that he sees every one of his movies in theaters with paying customers claiming that “Even during my theater years, I wished I could watch the plays I was in—while I was in them! I dig watching myself work.” Samuel Jackson also enjoys collecting the action figures of the characters he portrays in his films including Jules Winnfield, Shaft, Mace Windu, and Frozone.
Samuel Jackson is bald in real life, but enjoys wearing unusual wigs in his films. For the film Black Snake Moan, he was allowed to choose the hairstyle he wanted for his character. Samuel Jackson is a comic book and anime fan.
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