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Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an Americanmarker film and television actor. After Jackson became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse Collegemarker, and then, films. He had several small roles, before meeting his mentor, Morgan Freeman, and the director Spike Lee. In 1991, after gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever, he joined the casts of more films, including Goodfellas, Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance and Jurassic Park. In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, where he received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Snakes on a Plane, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Jackson's many roles have made him one of the highest grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. In 1980 Jackson married Latanya Richardson, with whom he has one daughter, Zoe.

Acting career

1970s – 1980s

Jackson initially went 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. Jackson began acting in multiple plays, including Home and A Soldier's Play. He appeared in several TV films, and made his feature film debut in the blaxploitation film Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York Citymarker 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. At this point in his early career, Jackson developed alcoholism and cocaine addictions, resulting in him being unable to proceed with the two plays as they continued to Broadwaymarker (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 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 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 and also worked as a stand-in on The Cosby Show for Bill Cosby.

1990s

After completing these films, Jackson's cocaine addiction worsened. By this point he was using crack and had overdosed. As a result, his family entered him into a New York rehab clinic. When he successfully completed rehab, Jackson appeared in Jungle Fever, as a crack cocaine addict, 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. After this role, Jackson became involved with multiple films, including Strictly Business, Juice, Patriot Games, and then moved on to two comedies: National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (his first starring role) and Amos & Andrew. Jackson then worked with director Steven Spielberg in Jurassic Park.

After a turn as the criminal Big Don in the 1993 Tarantino-penned True Romance directed by Tony Scott Jackson played his breakout role of Jules in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in 1994, the role which made him internationally recognised. For this performance, he was nominated for the Academy Award 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, 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, starring alongside 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 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 dedicated teacher with a terrible secret. He received an Independent Spirit award for Best First Feature alongside first-time writer/director Kasi Lemmons in the drama 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 the horror film Deep Blue Sea, and as Jedi Master Mace Windu in George Lucas' Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. 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 (he later said that he was eager to accept any role, just for the chance to be a part of the Star Wars saga).

2000s

On June 13, 2000, Jackson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker which can be found at 7018 Hollywood Blvd. 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 fighting a battle of wits with Ben Affleck's character in Changing Lanes. He 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 Jackson's suggestion; he wanted to be sure that his character would stand out in a crowded battle scene. Jackson then acted as a NSAmarker agent alongside Vin Diesel in xXx and a kilt-wearing drug dealer in Formula 51. In 2003, Jackson again worked with John Travolta 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: XXX: State of the Union, this time commanding Ice Cube, and the final Star Wars prequel film, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. 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 Theatermarker; he is the seventh African American and 191st actor to be recognized in this manner. 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 citywide race riot. Jackson's second film of the year, Snakes on a Plane, gained cult film status months before it was released based on its title and cast. 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 by Cobra Starship. On December 2, Jackson won the Germanmarker Bambi Award for International Film, based on his many film contributions. On December 15, 2006, Jackson starred in Home of the Brave, as a doctor returning home from the Iraq 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). Also in 2007, he portrayed a blues player who imprisons a young woman (Christina Ricci) addicted to sex in Black Snake Moan, and the horror film 1408, an adaptation of the Stephen King short story. In 2008, 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 terrorizes an interracial couple. In November of the same year, he starred along with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes (who both died prior to the film's release) in Soul Men. In 2008, he portrayed the villain, The Octopus, in the film The Spirit, and in 2009 he narrated several scenes in Inglourious Basterds.

Throughout Jackson's career, he has appeared in many films alongside mainstream rappers. These include Tupac Shakur (Juice), Queen Latifah (Juice/Sphere), 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 several upcoming film projects between 2009 and 2011. In 2009, he will provide his voice for the animated science fiction film, Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey, play a terrorist intent on attacking London in Blown, as well as a police officer in Rape: A Love Story. In 2010, he will star in the drama Mother and Child and will portray an interrogator who attempts to locate several nuclear weapons in Unthinkable.

Nick Fury

In 2008, Jackson made an uncredited appearance as Nick Fury in the post-credit scene of Iron Man with the intention to lead to roles in future films based on Marvel Comics characters. In February 2009, Jackson signed on to a nine-picture deal with Marvel which would see him appear in Thor, Iron Man II, The First Avenger: Captain America, and The Avengers as well as any other sequels they would produce.

Box office performance

Jackson has said 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". In motion pictures that feature him as a leading actor or supporting co-star, his films have grossed a total of $2.38 to $4.46 billion 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. The 2009 edition of The Guinness World Records, which uses a different calculation to determine film grosses, stated that Jackson is the world's highest grossing actor, having earned $7.42 billion in 68 films.

Appearances and references in pop culture

Jackson playing golf
Jackson gave his consent for Marvel Comics to design their "Ultimate" version of the character Nick Fury after his likeness. 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. 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 Team America: World Police, where he was portrayed as a villainous member of the F.A.G. (Film Actors Guild, a parody of the Screen 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, Officer Frank Tenpenny, of Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the lead role in the anime series, Afro Samurai, and has a recurring part as the voice of Gin Rummy in several episodes of the animated series The Boondocks.

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.

Jackson is also a sought after host. Thus far, he has hosted the MTV Movie Awards (1998), the ESPYs (1999, 2001, 2002, 2009), and the Spike TV Video Game Awards (2005, 2006, 2007).

Jackson has garnered a cult following on the internet, leading to nicknames such as 'King of Cool' and 'Mr Cool' emerging. A popular meme is making Samuel Jackson the number one spot on any Top List - irrespective of whether he is relevant or not. For example, he was made number 1 on a list of the 'Top 11 Hottest Women', due to his 'badassery'.

Personal life

Jackson married actress Latanya Richardson in 1980, whom he met while attending Morehouse Collegemarker. The couple, who live in Los Angeles, Californiamarker, have a daughter, Zoe, born in 1982.

Jackson is a keen basketball fan, and especially favors the Toronto Raptors and the Harlem Globetrotters. He also became a Liverpool F.C. fan after filming The 51st State in Liverpool, Englandmarker.

Jackson enjoys playing golf, a game he has been reported to have become very proficient at. Jackson has a clause in his film contracts that allows him to play golf during production. He stated that it is the only place where he "can go dressed as a pimp and fit in perfectly".

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." He also enjoys collecting the action figures of the characters he portrays in his films, including Jules Winnfield, Shaft, Mace Windu, and Frozone. He is a comic book and anime fan.

Jackson is bald, 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. He once explained on The Tonight Show that he shaved his head to play one role, but then others kept coming and he had to keep shaving it so wigs could be made for him in subsequent films. He ended by lamenting to Jay Leno, "The only way I'm gonna have time to grow my hair back is if I'm not workin'!"

Filmography

Film roles



Television work

Year Title Role Notes
1991 Law & Order Taggert Episode "The Violence of Summer"
1992 Ghostwriter Reggie Jenkins
1997 Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child The Mayor (voice) Episode "The Pied Piper"
2001 The Proud Family Joseph (voice) Episode "Seven Days of Kwanzaa"
2005-2007 The Boondocks Gin Rummy Voice for three episodes
2005 Extras Himself Episode "Samuel L Jackson"
2007 Afro Samurai Afro Samurai/Ninja Ninja Voice only; executive producer
2009 Afro Samurai: Resurrection Afro Samurai/Ninja Ninja Voice only; producer
Un-broke: What You Need to Know About Money Author of self-help books Television special


References

  1. First Showing.net


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




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