Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson

Infobox actor

caption = Jackson at the 2008 San Diego Comic-Con
birthdate = birth date and age|mf=yes|1948|12|21
birthplace = Washington, D.C, U.S.
death =
yearsactive = 1972–present
birthname = Samuel Leroy Jackson
spouse = Latanya Richardson (1981-present)
baftaawards = Best Actor in a Supporting Role
1994 "Pulp Fiction"
naacpimageawards = Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
1997 "A Time to Kill"
Outstanding Actor in a Motion Picture
2006 "Coach Carter"
awards = Independent Spirit Award for Best Actor
1994 "Pulp Fiction"
Independent Spirit Award for Best First Feature
1997 "Eve's Bayou"
Silver Bear for Best Actor
1997 "Jackie Brown"
NYFCC Award for Best Supporting Actor
1991 "Jungle Fever"
website =

Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA-winning actor. 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.

Jackson is married to Latanya Richardson and has a daughter named Zoe. He is a huge sports fan and an avid golfer. Jackson has won multiple awards for his film performances and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and lyrics. Jackson is currently working on five films that will debut between 2008 and 2009.

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".cite news|first=Angela|last=Dawson|publisher=Sun2Surf |title=Samuel L. Jackson shares some of his thoughts on acting, his new movie and his biggest phobia |url=|date=2006-08-25|accessdate=2008-07-22]

According to the The Guinness World Records 2009 (released on 17th September 2008) he is the world's highest grossing actor, having earned $7.42 billion in 68 films.

Early life

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. He 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.Stated in interview on "Inside the Actors Studio", 2002] cite news|last=Kay|first=Karen|coauthors=|title=Golf: From coke addict to golf addict: How Samuel L Jackson found salvation on fairways to heaven; Karen Kay talks to the American actor who has been so badly bitten by the craze that has swept Hollywood that he has it written into contracts that he must have time out from filming to play twice a week|pages=|publisher=The Independent|date=2004-10-13|url=|accessdate=2008-07-22] His father lived away from the family in Kansas City, Missouri and later died from alcoholism; Jackson had only met his father twice during his life.cite news|last=Rochlin|first=Margy|coauthors=|title=FILM; Tough Guy Finds His Warm and Fuzzy Side|pages=|publisher=The New York Times|date=1997-11-02|url=|accessdate=2008-07-22] Jackson attended Riverside High (now Chattanooga School for the Arts and Sciences), a segregated school where, between the third and twelfth grades, he played the French horn and trumpet in the school orchestra. He later attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he co-founded the "Just Us Theater". He graduated in 1972.cite web|last=Edelman|first=Rob|title=Samuel L. Jackson|publisher=Film Reference|url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008]

Civil Rights Movement involvement

After the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackson attended the funeral in Atlanta as one of the ushers.cite web|last=Smiley|first=Tavis|title=Samuel L. Jackson|publisher=Tavis Smiley|url=|date=2006-02-24|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] Jackson then flew to Memphis to join an equal rights protest march. In a "Parade" interview 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."cite news|last=Rader|first=Dotson|title=He Found His Voice (Film actor Samuel L. Jackson)| |url=|date=2005-01-09|accessdate=2008-07-22] In 1969, 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.cite web |title=Samuel L. Jackson|publisher=Thespian Net|url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] The college eventually agreed to change its ways, but Jackson was charged with and eventually convicted of a second degree felony (unlawful confinement). Jackson was then suspended for two 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).cite web |title=Samuel L. Jackson|publisher=Yahoo|url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] Jackson decided to remain in Atlanta, where he met with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and others active in the Black Power movement. 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 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.

Acting career

1970s - 1980s

Jackson initially decided to go to Morehouse College to major in Architecture, but decided to change his major to Dramacite web |title=Star Bios: Samuel L. Jackson||url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] after taking a public speaking class and appearing in a version of "The Threepenny Opera".cite news|title=Samuel L. Jackson: Samurai and snakes||accessdate=2008-05-14] Jackson began acting in multiple plays including "Home" and "A Soldier's Play". He also landed himself in several TV films, and his first feature film was in "Together for Days" (1972). After these initial roles, 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 "Two Trains Running" which both premiered at the Yale Repertory Theater.cite web|title=Biographies: Samuel L. Jackson||url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] At this point in his early career, Jackson developed an alcohol and cocaine addiction, resulting in him being unable to proceed with the two 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, Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play "A Soldier's Play", 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). He also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film "Goodfellas" as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards.


After completing these films, 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, Jackson acted in "Jungle Fever", as the crack cocaine addict brother to the relatively new actor Wesley Snipes, a role which 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.cite web |title=Samuel L. Jackson| |url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] After this role, Jackson became involved with multiple film requests, including "Strictly Business", "Juice", "Patriot Games", and then moved on to two comedies: "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1" and "Amos & Andrew". After rapid involvement in these films, Jackson worked with director Steven Spielberg in "Jurassic Park". He played a major role in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction". The film was Jackson's most notable role, mainly for his monologues and one-liners along with co-star John Travolta. The film earned Jackson an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor as well as a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA Best Supporting Actor award win.cite web |title=Samuel L. Jackson||url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008]

With a succession of unsuccessful films such as "Kiss of Death", "The Great White Hype", and "Losing Isaiah", Jackson began to receive poor reviews from critics who had praised his performance in "Pulp Fiction". This ended with his involvement in the two successful box office films "A Time To Kill", where he depicted a father who is put on trial for killing two men who raped his daughter, and "Die Hard with a Vengeance", co-starring along side Bruce Willis in the third installment of the "Die Hard" series. For "A Time to Kill", Jackson earned a NAACP Image for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture cite web |title=Samuel L. Jackson| |url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] and a Golden Globe nomination for a Best Supporting Actor.

Quickly becoming a box office star, Jackson continued with three 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. He received an Independent Spirit award for Best First Feature alongside first-time writer/director Kasi Lemmons in the drama film "Eve's Bayou", for which he also served as executive producer. He joined up again with director Quentin Tarantino and received a Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Actor and a fourth 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, Jackson starred in a shark horror film, "Deep Blue Sea", and as Jedi Master Mace Windu in George Lucas's "". In an interview, 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).cite web|last=Walters|first=Mark|title=SAMUEL L. JACKSON talks SNAKES ON A PLANE||url= |accessmonthday=July 22|date=July 2006|accessyear=2008]


On June 13, 2000, Jackson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which can be found at 7018 Hollywood Blvd.cite web |title=Locations of Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame|publisher=The Hollywood Walk of Fame|url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] He 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 third time in the supernatural thriller "Unbreakable", and starred in the 2000 remake of the 1971 film "Shaft". 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 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". He returned for "", increasing his role from a small role to a supporting role. Mace Windu's purple lightsaber in the film was the result of Jackson's suggestion; he wanted to be sure that his character would stand out in a crowded battle scene.cite web|title=Jackson Demands Purple Shaft|publisher=World Entertainment News Network |url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] 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, 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, 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. 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. Jackson also returned for two sequels: ', this time commanding Ice Cube, and the final prequel George Lucas installment, '. His last film for 2005 was "The Man" alongside comedian Eugene Levy. On November 4, 2005, he was presented with the Hawaii International Film Festival Achievement in Acting Award. On January 30, 2006, Jackson was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theater; he is the seventh African American and 191st actor to be recognized in this manner.cite web |title=Honorary National Board-Samuel L. Jackson|publisher=Carson Scholars Fund|url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] He 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. Jackson's second film of the year, "Snakes on a Plane", gained cult interest months before the film was released based on its title and cast. Jackson's decision to star in the film was solely based on the title.cite web|last=Dennis|first=Michael|title=Slithering Up Anticipation||url=|date=2006-03-27 |accessmonthday=July 22 |accessyear=2008] To build anticipation for the film, he also cameoed in the 2006 music video "Snakes on a Plane (Bring It)" by Cobra Starship. On December 2, Jackson won the German Bambi Award for International Film, based on his many film contributions.cite web |title=Bambi honour for Jackson|publisher=ITV News|url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] On December 15, 2006, 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 January 30, 2007, 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). His 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", Jackson portrayed an obsessive crime scene cleaner who discovers a covered-up murder.

In 2008, Jackson reprised his role of Mace Windu in the CGI film, "", followed by "Lakeview Terrace" where he played a racist cop who has problems with his married interracial neighbors.

Throughout Jackson's career, he has appeared in many films alongside mainstream rappers. These include Tupac Shakur ("Juice"), Queen Latifah ("Juice"), Method Man ("One Eight Seven"), 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, Jackson has appeared in four 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.

Upcoming films

Jackson has five upcoming film projects between 2008 and 2011, starting with two 2008 films where he will first be reprising his role of Mace Windu in the CGI film, '. Jackson will then portray the villain, the Octopus, in the film "The Spirit" . He 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, '. 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.

Box office performance

In motion pictures that feature him as a leading actor or supporting co-star, his films have grossed a total of $2.31cite web|title=PEOPLE INDEX|publisher=Box Office Mojo |url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] to $4.34 billioncite web |title=All Time Top 100 Stars at the Box Office|publisher=The Numbers|url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] at the North American box office, placing him as the ninth (as strictly lead) or the second highest-grossing movie star (counting supporting roles) of all time; behind only that of voice actor, Frank Welker. In August 2007, 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.cite web |title=The Times of India|work=Jackson wants Indiana Jones role|url=|date=2007-08-26
accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008

Other work

Jackson gave his consent for Marvel Comics to design their "Ultimate" version of the character Nick Fury after his likeness.cite web|last=Larsuel|first=Kamal|title=Copyright Kamal Larsuel, 2005|publisher=Samuel L. Jackson Official Website|url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] Jackson had a cameo as the character in the 2008 "Iron Man" film. Jackson has also had a song named after him, entitled "Sammy L. Jackson" by Hot Action Cop.cite web|title=Hot Action Cop in TV, Movies and Video Games|publisher=Hot Action Cop |url= |accessmonthday=May 14 |accessyear=2008] The song was featured on the soundtrack for the 2003 film "S.W.A.T", in which Jackson appeared.

Jackson has been parodied multiple times in various television shows and films. He 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). He has also been spoofed in the film "", 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".

Jackson also guest-starred as himself in an episode of the BBC/HBO sitcom "Extras", voiced the main antagonist, , of "", 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 one episode, he paid tribute to his "Pulp Fiction" character, Jules Winnfield, by reenacting the "What?" scene from the film.

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. He was given the lead role because producers felt his deep, authoritative voice was perfect for the role.cite web|title=JACKSON VOICES GOD||url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008]

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).

Jackson is currently the voice of Virgin Media television adverts in the United Kingdom.

Personal life

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.

Jackson is a keen basketball fan, and especially favors the Toronto Raptors and the Harlem Globetrotters.cite news|last=Govani|first=Shinan|title=Raptors provide Jackson's action|publisher=The Windsor Star |url= |date=2006-11-04|accessdate=2008-07-22] He also became a keen Liverpool F.C. fan after filming the movie "The 51st State" in Liverpool, England.cite web |title=Celebrity Evertonians| |url= |accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] Jackson enjoys playing golf, a game he has been reported to have become very proficient at. He 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".cite web |title=Samuel L. Jackson Biography| & tv |url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] 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.cite web|last=Topel|first=Fred|title=Moaning MF'n Snakes|publisher=Crave Online|url=|date=2007-02-20|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008]

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."cite news|last=Tyrangiel|first=Josh|title=His Own Best Fan||url=,9171,1223382,00.html|date=2006-08-07|accessdate=2008-07-22] He also enjoys collecting the action figures of the characters he portrays in his films including Jules Winnfield, Shaft, Mace Windu, and Frozone.cite web |title=Celebrity Spotlight: Samuel L. Jackson| |url=|date=2005-05-18|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008]

Jackson is bald in real life, but enjoys wearing unusual wigs in his films.cite web |title=Men Hall of Fame|publisher=Bald R Us|url=|accessmonthday=July 22|accessyear=2008] For the film "Black Snake Moan", he was allowed to choose the hairstyle he wanted for his character. He is a comic book and anime fan.


Film roles

Television work


Further reading

*Dils, Tracey E. "Samuel L. Jackson (Black Americans of Achievement)". Chelsea House Publications, 1999. ISBN 0791052826.
*Hudson, Jeff. "Samuel L. Jackson: The Unauthorised Biography". Virgin Books, 2004. ISBN 1852270241.

External links

*Official Samuel L. Jackson Myspace []
* [ Official site of Samuel L. Jackson]
*imdb name|id=0000168|name=Samuel L. Jackson
* [ Extensive biography of Samuel L. Jackson]
* [ Interview with Samuel L. Jackson on Resurrecting the Champ]
* [ Samuel L. Jackson Interview] on The Hour with George Stroumboulopoulos

NAME = Jackson, Samuel Leroy
ALTERNATIVE NAMES = Jackson, Sam; Jackson, Samuel L.
DATE OF BIRTH = December 21, 1948
PLACE OF BIRTH = Washington, D.C.

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