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Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21 1948) is an American film and television actor. After Jackson became involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then, films. He had several small roles, before meeting his mentor, Morgan Freeman, and the director Spike Lee. In 1991, after gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever, he joined the casts of more films, including Goodfellas, Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance and Jurassic Park. In 1994, he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, where he received several award nominations and critical acclaim.

Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Snakes on a Plane, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy. Jackson's many roles have made him one of the highest grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. In 1980 Jackson married Latanya Richardson, with whom he has one daughter, Zoe.

Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up as an only child in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson (née Montgomery), who was a factory worker and later a supplies buyer for a mental institution, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. His father lived away from the family in Kansas City, Missouri and later died from alcoholism; Jackson had only met his father twice during his life. Jackson attended Riverside High School in Chattanooga. Between the third and twelfth grades, he played the French horn and trumpet in the school orchestra. He later attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, where he co-founded the "Just Us Theatre" before graduating in 1972.

After the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., Jackson attended the funeral in Atlanta as one of the ushers. Jackson then flew to Memphis to join an equal rights protest march. In a Parade interview Jackson revealed: "I was angry about the assassination, but I wasn’t shocked by it. I knew that change was going to take something different — not sit-ins, not peaceful coexistence." In 1969, Jackson and several other students held members of the Morehouse College board of trustees (including a nearby Martin Luther King, Sr.) hostage on the campus, demanding reform in the school's curriculum and governance. The college eventually agreed to change its policy, but Jackson was charged with and eventually convicted of unlawful confinement, a second-degree felony. Jackson was then suspended for two years for his criminal record and his actions (although he would later return to the college to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Drama in 1972).While he was expelled, Jackson was employed as a social worker in Los Angeles. Jackson decided to remain in Atlanta, where he met with Stokely Carmichael, H. Rap Brown, and others active in the Black Power movement. Jackson revealed in the same Parade interview that he began to feel empowered with his involvement in the movement, especially when the group began buying guns. However, before Jackson could become involved with any significant armed confrontation, his mother sent him to Los Angeles after the FBI told her that he would die within a year if he remained with the Black Power movement.

Jackson initially went to Morehouse College to major in Architecture, but decided to change his major to Drama after taking a public speaking class and appearing in a version of The Threepenny Opera. Jackson began acting in multiple plays, including Home and A Soldier's Play. He appeared in several TV films, and made his feature film debut in the blaxploitation film Together for Days (1972). After these initial roles, Jackson proceeded to move from Atlanta to New York City in 1976 and spent the next decade appearing in stage plays such as The Piano Lesson and Two Trains Running, which both premiered at the Yale Repertory Theater. At this point in his early career, Jackson developed alcoholism and cocaine addictions, resulting in him being unable to proceed with the two plays as they continued to Broadway (actors Charles S. Dutton and Anthony Chisholm took his place). Throughout his early film career, mainly in minimal roles in films such as Coming to America and various TV films, Jackson was mentored by Morgan Freeman. After a 1981 performance in the play A Soldier's Play, Jackson was introduced to director Spike Lee[10] who would later include him in small roles for the films School Daze (1988) and Do the Right Thing (1989).[1] He also played a minor role in the 1990 Martin Scorsese film Goodfellas as real-life Mafia associate Stacks Edwards and also worked as a stand-in on The Cosby Show for Bill Cosby.


After completing these films, Jackson's cocaine addiction worsened. By this point he was using crack and had overdosed.As a result, his family entered him into a New York rehab clinic. When he successfully completed rehab, Jackson appeared in Jungle Fever, as a crack cocaine addict, a role which Jackson called cathartic as he was recovering from his addiction.The film was so acclaimed that the 1991 Cannes Film Festival awarded a special "Supporting Actor" award just for him. After this role, Jackson became involved with multiple films, including Strictly Business, Juice, Patriot Games, and then moved on to two comedies: National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1 (his first starring role) and Amos & Andrew. Jackson then worked with director Steven Spielberg in Jurassic Park.

After a turn as the criminal Big Don in the 1993 Tarantino-penned True Romance directed by Tony Scott Jackson played his breakout role of Jules in Quentin Tarantino's Pulp Fiction in 1994, the role which made him internationally recognised. For this performance, he was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor as well as a Golden Globe nomination and a BAFTA Best Supporting Actor award win.

With a succession of unsuccessful films such as Kiss of Death, The Great White Hype, and Losing Isaiah, Jackson began to receive poor reviews from critics who had praised his performance in Pulp Fiction. This ended with his involvement in the two successful box office films A Time To Kill, where he depicted a father who is put on trial for killing two men who raped his daughter, and Die Hard with a Vengeance, starring alongside Bruce Willis in the third installment of the Die Hard series. For A Time to Kill, Jackson earned a NAACP Image for Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture and a Golden Globe nomination for a Best Supporting Actor.

Quickly becoming a box office star, Jackson continued with three starring roles in 1997. In 187 he played a dedicated teacher with a terrible secret. He received an Independent Spirit award for Best First Feature alongside first-time writer/director Kasi Lemmons in the drama Eve's Bayou, for which he also served as executive producer. He joined up again with director Quentin Tarantino and received a Berlin Film Festival Silver Bear for Best Actor and a fourth Golden Globe nomination for his portrayal of arms merchant Ordell Robbie in Jackie Brown. In 1998, he worked with other established actors such as Sharon Stone and Dustin Hoffman in Sphere and Kevin Spacey in The Negotiator, playing a hostage negotiator who resorts to taking hostages himself when he is falsely accused of murder and embezzlement. In 1999, Jackson starred in the horror film Deep Blue Sea, and as Jedi Master Mace Windu in George Lucas' Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. In an interview, Jackson claimed that he did not have a chance to read the script for the film and did not learn he was playing the character Mace Windu until he was fitted for his costume (he later said that he was eager to accept any role, just for the chance to be a part of the Star Wars saga).

Jackson's handprints in front of The Great Movie Ride at Walt Disney World's Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park.

On June 13, 2000, Jackson was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame which can be found at 7018 Hollywood Blvd. He began the next decade in his film career as a Marine colonel put on trial in Rules of Engagement, co-starred with Bruce Willis for a third time in the supernatural thriller Unbreakable, and starred in the 2000 remake of the 1971 film Shaft. Jackson's sole film in 2001 was The Caveman's Valentine, where he plays a homeless musician in a murder thriller. The film was directed by Kasi Lemmons, who previously worked with Jackson in Eve's Bayou. In 2002, he played a recovering alcoholic attempting to keep custody of his kids while fighting a battle of wits with Ben Affleck's character in Changing Lanes.[ He returned for Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones, increasing his role from a small role to a supporting role. Mace Windu's purple lightsaber in the film was the result of Jackson's suggestion; he wanted to be sure that his character would stand out in a crowded battle scene. Jackson then acted as a NSA agent alongside Vin Diesel in xXx and a kilt-wearing drug dealer in Formula 51. In 2003, Jackson again worked with John Travolta in Basic and then as a police sergeant alongside Colin Farrell in the television show remake S.W.A.T. In 2004, Jackson played a mentor to Ashley Judd in the thriller Twisted, and lent his voice to the computer-animated film The Incredibles as the superhero Frozone. Jackson once again appeared in a Tarantino film, by cameoing in Kill Bill, Vol. 2.

In 2005, he began with the sports drama, Coach Carter, where he played a coach (based on the actual coach Ken Carter) dedicated to teaching his players that education is more important than basketball. Jackson also returned for two sequels: XXX: State of the Union, this time commanding Ice Cube, and the final Star Wars prequel film, Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith. His last film for 2005 was The Man alongside comedian Eugene Levy. On November 4, 2005, he was presented with the Hawaii International Film Festival Achievement in Acting Award.

On January 30, 2006, Jackson was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman's Chinese Theater; he is the seventh African American and 191st actor to be recognized in this manner. He next starred opposite of actress Julianne Moore in the box office bomb Freedomland, where he depicted a police detective attempting to help a mother find her abducted child, while quelling a citywide race riot. Jackson's second film of the year, Snakes on a Plane, gained cult film status months before it was released based on its title and cast. Jackson's decision to star in the film was solely based on the title. To build anticipation for the film, he also cameoed in the 2006 music video Snakes on a Plane (Bring It) by Cobra Starship. On December 2, Jackson won the German Bambi Award for International Film, based on his many film contributions. On December 15, 2006, Jackson starred in Home of the Brave, as a doctor returning home from the Iraq War.

On January 30, 2007, Jackson was featured as narrator in Bob Saget's direct-to-DVD Farce of the Penguins. The film was a spoof of the box office success March of the Penguins (which was narrated by Morgan Freeman). Also in 2007, he portrayed a blues player who imprisons a young woman (Christina Ricci) addicted to sex in Black Snake Moan, and the horror film 1408, an adaptation of the Stephen King short story. In 2008, Jackson reprised his role of Mace Windu in the CGI film, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, followed by Lakeview Terrace where he played a racist cop who terrorizes an interracial couple. In November of the same year, he starred along with Bernie Mac and Isaac Hayes (who both died prior to the film's release) in Soul Men. In 2008, he portrayed the villain, The Octopus, in the film The Spirit, and in 2009 he narrated several scenes in Inglourious Basterds.

Throughout Jackson's career, he has appeared in many films alongside mainstream rappers. These include Tupac Shakur (Juice), Queen Latifah (Juice/Sphere), Method Man (One Eight Seven), LL Cool J (Deep Blue Sea/S.W.A.T.), Busta Rhymes (Shaft), Eve (xXx), Ice Cube (xXx: State of the Union), Xzibit (xXx: State of the Union), David Banner (Black Snake Moan), and 50 Cent (Home of the Brave). Additionally, Jackson has appeared in four films with actor Bruce Willis (National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon 1, Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, and Unbreakable) and the actors were slated to work together in Black Water Transit before both dropped out.
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