Actor’s Spotlight: Samuel Jackson


Samuel Jackson is one of the most versatile actors in Hollywood. With roles ranging from a crack addict to a light saber wielding Jedi, Jackson has shown that he is indeed a marketable item. Thus far he is ranked as the second highest all time box office star with his movies grossing well over $ 4 billion.

Jackson was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee by his mother, Elizabeth Jackson. He attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he pursued a degree in Marine Biology before taking an interest in acting after he joined a local acting group. Before graduating from Morehouse in 1972 he founded the “Just Us” Acting Theatre.

In the 1980s and 90s Jackson became well known for his roles in Spike Lee’s films, School Daze (1988), Do the Right Thing (1980) and ‘Mo Better Blues (1990). In 1991, his role as a drug addict named Gator in Lee’s film, Jungle Fever gave Jackson the chance to put experience and opportunity together. Jackson was offered the role only a year after recovering from a cocaine addiction. The Cannes Film Festival created the supporting actor award specifically for Jackson’s role in the movie and to this day he is the only recipient.

After playing big time criminal, Big Don in Quentin Tarantino’s, True Romance(1993), Jackson played hitman, Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction (1994). The role, which Tarantino specifically wrote for him, gave Jackson critical acclaim and he quickly rose to prominence in the movie industry. He also received his first Oscar nomination for the role alongside co-star John Travolta.  Jackson has played in various roles from the bad guy to the hero. In 1995 he co-starred in Die Hard With a Vengeance with Bruce Willis and The Long Kiss Goodnight the following year.

One June 13, 2000, Jackson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This honor also marked the next decade of his film career. He co-starred with Bruce Willis a third time in the thriller, Unbreakable (2000). In 2002 he played a recovering alcoholic in Changing Lanes and did Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones where he played the character Mace Windu who wielded a purple light saber upon his request.

In 2005, he starred in the film, Coach Carter, based on the actual coach Ken Carter. Later that year he starred in the SyFy thriller, Snakes on a Plane. Jackson has made appearances in over 100 movies and has lent his voice to animated films and video games as well. In 2012 he appeared in Tarantino’s Django Unchained and later The Hateful Eight (2015).