Through his work on cult classics such as ‘The Avengers’, ‘Pulp Fiction’ and the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, Samuel L. Jackson has become one of the most recognizable actors of the modern generation. In 2011, Jackson also became the highest grossing screen actor of all time.
Samuel Leroy Jackson was born on Dec. 21, 1948, in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Chattanooga, Tenn. His mother was Elizabeth Jackson and worked as a factory worker before taking on a job as a supply buyer at a mental institution. Jackson was also raised by his grandparents due to the fact that his alcoholic father was separated from their family. Jackson only met him twice before he died.
Jackson attended a number of segregated schools before finally graduating from Riverside High School, but it was music that took his interest while at high school. He then attended the Morehouse College in Atlanta where he begun studying for a degree in marine biology before taking one acting class and falling in love the art. He then switched courses so he could study acting and also co-founded the ‘Just Us Theater’.
The assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. In 1968 had a huge impact on Samuel L. Jackson. He not only attended the funeral as an usher but it also made him become more involved in the civil rights movement. In 1969 he was charged with unlawful confinement after he and several other students took some of the Moorhouse College Board of Trustees hostage while they demanded reform. He didn’t learn from being charged. While he was suspended from the college he joined the Black Power movement, something he only quit when the FBI told his mother that his life was in danger.
After he finally graduated from college (with a degree in architecture) he began performing in a number of theater productions before appearing in some low budget films and television movies. His career was hampered by the fact that he was developing both an alcohol and cocaine addiction, but after a small role in ‘Coming To America’ he found himself being mentored by Morgan Freeman.
But Jackson’s drug addiction became worse and the young star overdosed on heroin a number of times before being placed in rehab. Once he had his addiction under control his acting career really took; soon he was acting for Martin Scorsese in ‘Goodfellas’ and earning bigger roles in films such as ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Patriot Games’ and ‘Strictly Business’ before landing his first starring role in the 1993 comedy ‘Loaded Weapon 1’.
However it was Jackson’s performance in Quentin Tarantino’s ‘Pulp Fiction’ that made him a star. Since then he has appeared in blockbusters including ‘Die Hard: With A Vengeance’, ‘The Long Kiss Goodnight’, ‘Jackie Brown’, the ‘Star Wars’ franchise, ‘Shaft’, ‘XXX’, ‘Snakes On A Plane’ and the films that make up the current ‘Avengers’ series of films including ‘Iron Man’, ‘Iron Man 2’, ‘Thor’, ‘Captain America: The First Avenger’ and ‘The Avengers’. Jackson once again stunned cinema goers with an amazing performance for Quentin Tarantino in the Academy Award winning ‘Django Unchained’.
Jackson has been married to sports channel producer and actress LaTanya Richardson (most noted for her work on ‘The Fighting Temptations’) since 1980 and they have a daughter, Zoe, who was born in 1982. In his spare time Jackson loves comic books and anime. He is also a massive sports fan and supports the Toronto Raptors basketball team and the Liverpool Football Club. He is also a proud supporter of President Barack Obama.
Fans of Samuel L. Jackson have so much to look forward to over the next few years with him set to appear in blockbusters including ‘RoboCop’, ‘Tarzan’, ‘Nick Fury’, ‘The Avengers 2’, ‘Captain America: The Winter Soldier’ and ‘XXX: The Return Of Xander Cage’.