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Few actors are so iconic that their careers span decades and inspire multiple generations. Samuel L. Jackson is one of those actors, for sure. His career spans over 50 years, and he has appeared in everything from Broadway plays to action movies… lots and lots of action films. You might recognize him from several movies across the last few decades, and that’s one reason he has been such an integral part of Hollywood.
We will see Samuel L Jackson reprise his role as Nick Fury in the upcoming Marvel Studios production, Secret Invasion! If you’d like to learn more about this amazing actor and human, do keep reading because we’re here to tell you everything you need to know about the legendary Samuel L. Jackson.
Samuel L. Jackson has an estimated net worth of $250 million. He is the highest-grossing live-action actor of all time. The worldwide box office total of his films is over $27 billion as of 2021, and he has appeared in over 150 films to date. He earns an average salary of $10-$20 million per starring role. He also earns between $4-$6 million for each of his appearances as Nick Fury in Marvel projects, even when he only has a few lines.
Samuel Leroy Jackson was born on December 21, 1948, in Washington, D.C. He grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, and attended several segregated schools, graduating from Riverside High School. He was a member of the school orchestra and played several instruments, including the piccolo, flute, French horn, and trumpet. He struggles with a stutter he developed as a child. He began to turn to acting as a way to work through the speech impediment, pretending to be other people who didn’t stutter.
Jackson originally studied marine biology, then architecture, when he attended the historically black men’s liberal arts school Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. In order to earn extra credit for a class, he joined a local acting group. He enjoyed it so much that he switched his major and even co-founded a theatre group, Just Us Theatre, before graduating with a degree in drama in 1972.
He began his acting career on stage, appearing in The Threepenny Opera and A Soldier’s Play. In 1972, he made his feature film debut in the independent film Together for Days. He moved from Atlanta to New York City in 1976, where he continued his career on the stage for another ten years, appearing in works like August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson. During this time, He also developed addictions to alcohol and cocaine, which would eventually adversely affect his career.
Jackson met director Spike Lee in 1981, and Lee cast him in several small roles. He continued to appear in small roles in films throughout the 1980s, including Coming to America, starring comedian Eddie Murphy. He played a minor role in Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas in 1990. Having overdosed on heroin several times throughout and after production, he began using cocaine. His family entered him into a rehabilitation clinic, and once sober, he joined the cast of 1991’s Jungle Fever, directed by Spike Lee, in which he actually played a crack cocaine addict. The “Supporting Actor” award at the Cannes Film Festival was created for him for this role.
His first starring role came in National Lampoon’s Loaded Weapon 1 in 1993, and he appeared in Jurassic Park later that same year. In 1993, he also portrayed the criminal Big Don in True Romance, written by Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino then asked him to play Jules Winnfield in 1994’s Pulp Fiction. The role was specifically written for him. He received Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actor, and he won the BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Role.
Throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, Jackson was in popular demand. He appeared in a number of box-office hits, including Die Hard with a Vengeance, A Time to Kill, The Negotiator, and Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. He said that he was not even aware of his role in Star Wars until he showed up to be fitted for his costume; he accepted the role without reading the script because he was so eager to be a part of the franchise. He returned for the sequel films, Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones and Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith. He was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on June 13, 2000. On January 30, 2006, he also was honored by adding his handprints and footprints at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.
In 2002, Jackson gave Marvel Comics his consent to design the character Nick Fury after his likeness. He made a cameo as the character in the 2008 film Iron Man and continued in the role throughout nine films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He repressed his role in Spider-Man: Far from Home and made a cameo appearance on the TV series Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
In 2022, Jackson returned to the Great White Way in a revival of August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, directed by his wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson. He will produce the live-action film adaptation of Afro Samurai and will once again reprise the role of Nick Fury in the upcoming Disney+ series Secret Invasion and The Marvels.
Samuel L. Jackson has been married to his wife LaTanya Richardson Jackson since 1980. LaTanya is an actress and producer in her own right. They met in 1970 while attending Morehouse College together. In an interview with People, LaTanya shared, “In the beginning, we always said the most revolutionary thing that Black people could do was stay together, raise their children with the nucleus of having a father and a mother since everybody likes to pretend that that’s not the dynamic of the African American family. That it’s just children out here being raised by women, which we know is false.” Jackson credits his wife for helping him achieve and maintain sobriety for over 30 years, as well as taking care of their family while he was away. In the same interview with People, Jackson said, “She gave me the chance to be the man I was supposed to be.”
Samuel L. Jackson is the only child of Elizabeth Harriett Montgomery and Roy Henry Jackson. His father was not around when he was a child, living separately in Kansas City, Missouri, and unfortunately dying from complications of alcoholism. His mother was a factory worker and also worked as a supplies buyer for a mental institution. He was partially raised by his maternal grandparents, Edgar and Pearl Montgomery. He became a naturalized citizen of Gabon in 2019 after learning that he descends from its Benga people through several DNA tests.
He and his wife share a daughter, Zoe, born in 1982.
There is so much more to learn about Samuel L. Jackson, and we loved taking a closer look at his life and career. There is no question that he is a man of many talents, and we definitely want to take a look at some of his films we haven’t seen yet. What Samuel L. Jackson films do you recommend?