Samuel L. Jackson usually played bad guys and drug addicts before becoming an action hero, as the character Mitch Henessey, in The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996) and in Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995). From character player to leading man. His performance in Pulp Fiction (1994) gave him an Oscar nomination for his character Jules Winnfield. He was active in the black student movement. In the seventies he joined the Negro Ensemble Company (together with Morgan Freeman). In the eighties he became well known by three movies made by Spike Lee - Do the Right Thing (1989), Mo' Better Blues (1990) and Jungle Fever (1991). He received a Silver Berlin Bear for his part in the movie Jackie Brown (1997) as Ordell Robbi.
Daughter - Zoe (b. 1982)
Grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee
One of Jackson's jobs as a struggling actor in New York was as a doorman at the popular Manhattan Plaza subsidized apts, home to hundreds of actors and artisits, including Giancarlo Esposito, who co-starred with Jackson in Amos & Andrew (1993).
Ranked #44 in Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list. [October 1997]
Was an admitted drug user until he completed drug rehab two weeks before playing a drug addict in Jungle Fever (1991).
Accomplished at playing brass instruments (french horn, trumpet) in school symphony orchestras from grade 3 to grade 12
Graduated from Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia in 1972.
Was offered his role in Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) after mentioning in an interview on UK TV show "TFI Friday" (1996) that he'd really like to work with George Lucas.
Daughter Zoe attends Vassar College. [January 2002]
Briefly suspended in 1969 from Morehouse College after taking hostage several members of the board of trustees, including the father of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, during a protest of the failure of the university to have black trustees or a black studies program.
Worked as a camera stand-in for Bill Cosby during the filming of "The Cosby Show" (1984).
His character from Pulp Fiction (1994), Jules Winnfield, ranked second in the 'coolest movie characters of all time', in a poll by the UK's Empire Magazine (the winner was Tyler Durden of Fight Club (1999)).
In 2003, he dissed rappers turned actors, saying that as a classically trained thespian it was not his job to lend credibility to rappers by appearing in movies with them. But in reality, he has worked with more rappers than any other actor in Hollywood, seven times as of this writing: Juice (1992) (Tupac Shakur), Shaft (2000) (Busta Rhymes), One Eight Seven (1997) (Method Man), Deep Blue Sea (1999) and S.W.A.T. (2003) (LL Cool J), xXx (2002) (Eve), and xXx: State of the Union (2005) (Ice Cube) and (Xzibit).
His characters often feature the color purple: Mr. Glass wore purple clothing in Unbreakable (2000); Jackson chose to have Doyle Gipson wear a purple hat in Changing Lanes (2002); and Mace Windu, upon request by Jackson to George Lucas, wielded a purple light saber in Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones (2002)and Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005).
The commencement speaker at his daughter's graduation from Vassar College (May 2004).
Was the first choice for "Fallon" in Judgment Night (1993).
He suffered from a stutter while growing up. A speech therapist suggested he audition for a play and it might help his speech. It did and he changed his major.
One of the late bloomers of Hollywood, he was already 46 years old when Pulp Fiction (1994) premiered and has acted in an average of 3-4 films a year since.
Says that people who recognize him often mistake him for Laurence Fishburne and vice versa.
Hosted the MTV Movie Awards in 1998
Was an usher at Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral
His performance as Jules Winnfield in "Pulp Fiction" (1994) is ranked #41 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Made Forbes Celebrity 100 list in 2002 and 2003 with earnings of $34 million and $30 million respectively.