|Real Name: Samuel Leroy Jackson|
|Place of Birth: Washington, DC|
|Education: Morehouse College, Atlanta, Georgia, drama, BA, 1972|
Samuel L. Jackson Biography And Filmography:
One of the hardest working artists in Hollywood, his long list of movies and film projects show a career based both in theatre, then molded by cinema, as one of America’s principal African American actors. Admired on both stage and screen, his work seemed to grow in magnitudes as he grew matured. Averaging about five films a year since 1992, he started his screen profession humbly in television commercials, working as the sales voice for a national fast food chain called Krystal Hamburgers.
Over the years, Sam’s talent has given him the chance to stretch his talents and segue into small roles in film and television guest spots, with prominent roles in productions like “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Jurassic Park” (1993) and “Pulp Fiction” (1994). His patently cat-like eyes and flair for street language reveals a terrifying menace, but his animated face proved valuable in a wide array of material, both dramatic and comedic.
Born in Washington, D.C. on Dec. 21, 1948, Samuel Leroy Jackson grew up in segregated Chattanooga, Tennessee. The only child of a warehouse worker Elizabeth, young Sam grew up separated from his father. Raised jointly by his mother, her sister and his affectionate grandparents, he excelled with the friendship of his extensive family. Musically gifted, he played a number of instruments growing up, including the French horn and trumpet.
In the mid 1960's, he attended the black Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he became involved in acting. A founder of the sarcastically named all Negro comedy troupe called "Just Us Theater,” he would soon go on to develop into a solid player for the renowned Negro Ensemble Theatre, next to such African American stars as Robert Hooks, Adolph Caesar and Al Freeman, Jr.
In the late 1980s, Jackson’s notable role in Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize winning “A Soldier’s Play” so overwhelmed Spike Lee, that the film maker ultimately cast him in a small role as a local hick in "School Daze" (1988). The partnership proved so successful, that Lee enrolled him into service again for the explosive metropolitan drama "Do the Right Thing" (1989), where he played the role of ominous street disk jockey, Mister Senor Love Daddy. He received his biggest career boost with his dazzling, traumatic portrayal of Gator Purify in Lee’s troublesome romance drama, “Jungle Fever” (1989) with Wesley Snipes. Playing both a charming, yet violently dangerous drug addict, he called upon his life experience of the drug scene to create a character that lived and breathed hopelessness and loathing.
The role gained the star the Best Supporting Actor award at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival, and led to a supporting role in the smash hit adventure thriller “Patriot Games” (1992) with Harrison Ford.
He the cranked out a string of movies including Ernest Dickerson's "Juice" (1992), the Willem Dafoe, Susan Sarandon adventure movie "White Sands" (1992) and Brad Pitt’s crazy "Johnny Suede" (1991) about a young man with an attitude and an immense pompadour, who wants to be a rock n' roll star like his idol Ricky Nelson..
Samuel then vaulted into the leads of two 1993 comedies, "National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I" and the comedy, "Amos and Andrew," co-starring Nicolas Cage. He would close out the year with supporting roles in three very different productions - the Hughes Brothers' "Menace II Society,” the Steven Spielberg CGI extravaganza “Jurassic Park," and Tony Scott's "True Romance," written by rising star Quentin Tarantino and starring an all-star cast including Val Kilmer, Christian Slater, Patricia Arquette and Brad Pitt, about a man who marries a hooker in Alabama, steals cocaine from her pimp, and tries to sell it in Hollywood, while the owners of the cocaine try to reclaim it.
The following year, Quentin Tarentino cast the actor in his breakthrough role as the truth-seeking assassin, Jules Winfield, in the critically applauded "Pulp Fiction" (1994) - standing out among a superstar cast including Bruce Willis, John Travolta and Uma Thurman. For this role, he received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor. The story of "Pulp Fiction" revolved around the lives of two mob hit men, a boxer, a gangster's wife, and a pair of diner bandits who intertwine in four tales of violence and redemption.
He then appeared in three movies in 1994 including "The New Age" and "Fresh" and then in "Assault at West Point" (Showtime, 1994) and "Against the Wall" (1994). He later played the role of a police officer running an undercover operation in the David Caruso bomb "Kiss of Death" (1995) with Nicolas Cage and Helen Hunt, but did only somewhat better in the next role, playing Bruce Willis' loathed follower in the third “Die Hard” film, "Die Hard With a Vengeance" (1995).
A clever comic entertainer, Samuel played a boxing promoter in "The Great White Hype" (1996), before appearing in "The Long Kiss Goodnight" with Geena Davis, and starred as a low brow private investigator while hitting it big in his role as a father out for revenge after the rape of his daughter in "A Time to Kill" (1996) with Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey and Kiefer Sutherland, based on the best selling book by author John Grisham about a lawyer and his assistant who are fighting to save a father on trial for murder.
The SLJ machine continued on at full speed with starring roles in three 1997 movies. First, as Trevor Garfield, the passionate teacher driven over the edge into vicious behavior in "One Eight Seven", police code for a murder. He got to showcase more of his talents with "Eve's Bayou,” a deeply touching, well made family production by Kasi Lemmons.
Finally, he and Quentin Tarantino cranked out "Jackie Brown,” developed from Elmore Leonard's book, "Rum Punch," switching between slapstick and nastiness. As a scoundrel with absolutely no honorable feelings, he ended up murdering Robert De Niro in the film’s conclusion.
In 1998, he teamed with Dustin Hoffman and Sharon Stone, in Barry Levinson's science fiction epic "Sphere.” He then played a violin expert in "The Red Violin,” a fascinating story involving the travels of a violin made by a 17th century violin maker. He then starred next to Kevin Spacey in the much larger production of "The Negotiator,” portraying a hostage negotiator who takes his own hostages when he is wrongly accused of homicide and fraud. The next year he played Jedi Knight Mace Windu in George Lucas' extravaganza "Star Wars: Episode 1 - The Phantom Menace" featuring Natalie Portman.
On a roll, he was hired and cast to play a Marine Colonel mixed up in controversy in "Rules of Engagement" (2000) about an attorney who defends an officer on trial for ordering his troops to fire on civilians after they stormed a U.S. embassy in a third world country. He then followed Richard Roundtree as the smooth talking detective in "Shaft" (2000) featuring Christian Bale, John Singleton's take on the 1971 police drama classic.
In 2002, he co-starred with Ben Affleck in the adventure movie "Changing Lanes," the story of what happens one day in New York when a young lawyer and a businessman share a small automobile accident on F.D.R. Drive and their mutual road rage escalates into a feud. He then played an action adventure role as Jedi Master Mace Windu for George Lucas' smash hit "Star Wars: Attack of the Clones" (2002).
Next was the role of NSA Agent Augustus Gibbon in "xXx" (2002), perhaps the only player who could out act super star action hero Vin Diesel.
In the military film "Basic" (2003) starring John Travolta, he used his personality to play a hated, often hated Special Forces sergeant, who disappears along with the group of Army Rangers he oversees through an instructional exercise during a hurricane in the jungles of Panama. He then took the role of Lt. Dan 'Hondo' Harrelson for the block buster, serious film variation of the 1970s police drama, "S.W.A.T." (2003), starring alongside Colin Farrell, about a special team led by his character who must relocate a jailed drug lord who is offered $110 million to anyone who can set him free and stay alive.
The actor started 2005 with "Coach Carter," playing a notorious high school basketball coach Ken Carter who benched his undefeated team due to their combined low grade levels in 1999. The film seemed to hit home, thanks to his strapping, concrete performance. Jackson then played an irritated Washington Post reporter in the John Boorman flick, “In My Country” (2005)
He then went on to a second run at two of his trendy roles, Agent Gibbons for the action thriller sequel "xXx: State of the Union" (2005), this time adding Ice Cube to the top secret hot seat, and finally with a closing role with his purple light saber for an role as Jedi Master Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy finale, "Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith" (2005) with Hayden Christensen. The actor had begged George Lucas to write him an extraordinary death scene, and both Lucas and Jackson brought the suspense in Windu's long awaited death.
His next production was the adventure flick, "The Man" (2005), which tried to gain comedic effect by pairing Samuel with an clumsy dentist (Eugene Levy) pulled together into a criminal scam. He next starred along side Julianne Moore in Joe Roth’s “Freedomland” (2006), about a black police detective who must solve a strange case of a kidnapped young boy and deal with a big racial protest.
His next endeavor, “Snakes on a Plane” (2006), became a cult classic before it was released, due to fanatical buildup on the Internet. Despite the awaited frenzy for the film, when released, it proved second-rate at the box office. So prominent were the Internet’s groupies, they managed to get producers to re film a scene to add a curse word littered line generated by fans, the now iconic, “I've had it with these mother fucking snakes on this mother fucking plane!”
He continued to work one film after another, as had been his way through the years. In 2006, he starred in “Home of the Brave” with Jessica Biel, a film about three soldiers trying to fit into civilian life after a long extended tour in the second Iraq war; “Farce of the Penguins” with Christina Applegate, a film inspired by the award winning documentary, “March of the Penguins” (2005), and “Resurrecting the Champ” with Terri Hatcher, about a man who says he is a past boxing prodigy, but is only a feather weight boxer from that era. He also filmed “Black Snake Moan” in 2006 with Justin Timberlake, a production showcasing a blues guitarist left by his wife who tries to salvage the soul of a young lady addicted to sex in a farm town.
His next work was “Jumper” (2008) with Hayden Christensen, a funny exploit about a teenage boy from a harsh family who finds out he has the gift to teleport himself anywhere in the world. He also appeared “1408” (2008), an emotional adventure movie about a horror journalist getting a taste of his own medicine while sleeping overnight in a haunted motel. Based on the short story by sci-fi master Stephen King, “1408” gained moderate reviews but did well at the box office during the films opening weekend. Also in 2007 was the crime thriller "Cleaner" with Eva Mendes, about a former cop who now earns a wage as a crime scene cleaner who unknowingly participates in a cover-up at his latest job.
Samuel L. Jackson participated in four different projects during the 2008-2009 season. First was the dramatic thriller "Lakeview Terrace" (2008) about an L.A.P.D officer who will stop at nothing to force out the interracial couple who just moved in next door. Next was the music comedy "Soul Men" (2008) about two estranged soul-singing legends who agree to participate in a reunion performance at the Apollo Theater to honor their recently deceased band leader. He then appeared in the animated sci-fi adventure "Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey" (2009) starring John Travolta and Christian Slater, a story that takes place in an atomic world, where the forces of the Core and the forces of the Void battle for the fate of the universe.
Finally, he wrapped up the year with action flick "The Spirit" (2009) with Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson, about rookie cop Denny Colt who returns from the beyond as "The Spirit", a hero whose mission is to fight against the bad forces in Central City.