Actor’s Spotlight: Samuel L. Jackson


Samuel Leroy Jackson is an African-American actor and producer who was born December 21st, 1948 in Washington, DC. He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee with no siblings and mostly his mother after his father died from alcoholism. Before becoming one of the most prominent and highly paid actors in the film industry, Jackson graduated from Riverside High School and then attended Morehouse College to pursue a degree in Marine Biology. He found an interest in acting when he joined a local acting group so that he could gain extra points in a class and ended up switching his major to Theatre. Before he graduated Morehouse, Jackson was suspended for two years when he and a few other students held members of the Morehouse College Board of Trustees hostage on the campus, demanding reform in the school’s curriculum and governance shortly after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. After his suspension,  he returned to Morehouse, co-founded the “Just Us Theatre” and then graduated in 1972. 

Jackson began featuring in films with small roles in the 1980s such as Coming to America, School Daze, Ragtime and The Exterminator. Lucky for him, Morgan Freeman was a mentor throughout his upcoming career at the time. One of Jackson’s first prominent films with a major role was Jungle Fever (1991), which was cathartic for him because he played a cocaine addict in the film directly after getting over his own addiction to the drug himself. Because of this film, a “Best Supporting Actor” award was made up just for him in the 1991 Cannes Film Festival. His work was starting to become more perceived, so he then was cast in more comedies and dramas such as Juice, Strictly Business, and Patriot Games. His first starring role was National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 (1993) followed by Amos & Andrew in the same year. More widely known directors and producers such as Steven Spielberg and Quentin Tarantino seized an interest in the rising star and took on a habit of including Jackson in most of their films like Jurassic Park (1993) and Pulp Fiction (1994). Although Pulp Fiction was not mainly his film, he reigned over it the most with his talent of “lighting fires with his gremlin eyes and transforming his speeches into hypnotic bebop soliloquies” as said in an Entertainment Weekly interview. This movie opened a door for him, because he received a Golden Globe nomination and won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor. It was not long until he would receive multiples scripts on a regular basis for a Pulp Fiction franchise that never happened, and multiple other comedy and action films such as Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995), Star Wars: the Phantom Menace (1999) and 187 (1997).

It is no exaggeration that Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in at least one memorable film per year. Seth MacFarlane once in Ted said that if you have seen any movie ever, he is the black guy in it. Jackson still reserves some roles in a few well-known franchises like Frozone in The Incredibles and Nick Fury in 7 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. Other than that, he is seen in various collaborative films of multiple genres alongside other famous actors like Kevin Hart, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds.  So far, Jackson has been in at least 125 films during his entire acting career. There is no wonder why he is one of the top 10 highest paid actors in Hollywood. He is still being cast in multiple films each year, and will star in 6 in 2019 which include Glass, Avengers: Endgame, Spider-Man: Far from Home, Shaft, Captain Marvel and The Last Full Measure. It does not seem like he will stop anytime soon.

Jackson resides in Beverly Hills, California with his wife, LaTonya Richardson, who is also a well-known actress. The couple has one child together, Zoe Jackson.