Samuel L Jackson is a prolific American actor, to say the least. He has appeared in over a hundred movies, a good number of which are blockbusters.
The veteran actor is also a film producer and his outstanding contributions to Hollywood, as well as other endeavours, bring his wealth to an enviable figure.
Samuel Leroy Jackson was born on December 21, 1948, in Washington, D.C and raised by his mother and grandparents in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Born in the era when racial inequality was dominant, Jackson attended a number of segregated schools before graduating from Riverside High School in Chattanooga. In High school, Jackson was part of the school orchestra where he played the French horn.
After high school graduation, he enrolled at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia where he initially majored in marine biology and then architecture before changing his mind yet again to drama. Obviously, acting wasn’t why he chose to attend college but Jackson developed a passion for theatre after joining a local acting group. He graduated from college in 1972.
His Movie Career Beginnings
Jackson began acting in stage plays right after college. In search of mainstream roles, he left Atlanta in 1976 and moved to New York where he began acting in off-Broadway productions including “The Mighty Gents” and “Home”. For over a couple of years, Jackson stood in for Bill Cosby on his The Bill Cosby Show. While acting in “A Soldier’s Play” in 1981, Jackson met Morgan Freeman who became his friend and mentor and later filmmaker Spike Lee who at the time was a film student at New York University.
Jackson then began starring in Spike Lee’s early movies including “School Daze” (1988), and “Do the Right Thing” (1989). Jackson’s acting became the talking point of critics following his portrayal of a drug addict in the 1991 Spike Lee film “Jungle Fever”. His role was rewarded with a Cannes Film Festival Award for Best “Supporting Actor”, a category that was created solely for him thanks to the incredible portrayal of his role.
The movie turned out to be the turning point for Jackson as his success only soared since then. Another turning point in his career came in 1994 when he was chosen to star in 1994 movie “Pulp Fiction”, this would be his 13th movie. His acting, as well as the success of the movie, gained Jackson more prominence.
Samuel L Jackson’s Successes
Samuel L Jackson has starred in over 100 movies a good number of which are blockbusters. About 14 of the movies he has starred as the lead grossed over $100 million domestically. Some of his commercially successful as well as critically acclaimed movies include;
“XXX” (2002) – $277.4 million
“The Incredibles” (2004) – $633 million (In the years 2002 and 2003 Jackson’s earnings were calculated at $64 million)
“Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith” (2005) – $848.8 million
“Iron Man 2” (2010) – $623.9 million
“The Other Guys” (2010) – $170.4 million
“Django Unchained” (2012) – $425.4 million
“The Avengers” (2012) – $1.52 billion
“Captain America: The Winter Soldier” (2014) – $714.4 million
“Kingsman: The Secret Service” (2015) – $414.4 million
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” (2015) – $1.405 billion
Among the aforementioned, the highest grossing is “The Avengers” (2012) which grossed $1.5 billion at the global box office, and the second highest grossing with a small margin is “Avengers: Age of Ultron” which grossed $1.4 billion. Jackson was the highest grossing actor of all time until he was surpassed by Harrison Ford. 68 of Jackson’s movies have grossed a combined $4.7 billion that is an average of $68 million per film while 41 of Ford’s has grossed $4.8 billion.
Jackson’s most successful movie contract is with Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since making his debut in Iron Man 2008, he has played the role of Nick Fury, a character that was created in his likeness following his approval. Jackson signed a 9-film contract with Marvel to reprise the role, although he has stated that he would love to work with Marvel beyond the contract. Well, the reason is obvious, Marvel movies are box office darlings. Apart from the Marvel big screen movies, Jackson also played Nick Furry in the TV series Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD.
Being such a successful actor makes you a highly sought-after candidate for product and brand endorsement and Jackson has landed his fair share. One of such and perhaps the most lucrative is an advertising gig for Capital One bank credit cards which first aired in 2013.
His total assets are estimated to be $170 million.
Samuel L Jackson’s Wife, Family
The Hollywood star got married to actress and sports channel producer, LaTanya Richardson in 1980 and they have been together ever since. The couple met while Samuel was still in college and their union is blessed with a daughter named Zoe in 1982.
This versatile actor is the only son of Elizabeth and Roy Henry Jackson. While he was raised by his mother who made a living from working in a factory and subsequently buying supplies for a mental institution, his father was not much a part of his life because he lived in Kansas City, Missouri, separate from his family. Samuel only met his dad two times before he (the father) died of alcoholism.
The prominent actor is 6 feet 2 inches tall (189 cm). He weighs 94kg (207 pounds), has brown eyes and black hair, though one may never catch him with a strand of hair on his head. His waist measures 33 inches/84cm while he wears shoe size 11 (US).
As a way of giving back to society, Jackson is actively involved in several non-profit organizations like “One For The Boys” which aims at creating an awareness of cancer among men.
Samuel Jackson owns a couple of jaw-dropping real estate properties. After selling his Los Angeles house in 2002 for an estimated $2 million, Jackson and his family moved into a 6 bedroom, 8 bathroom Beverly Hills mansion which he bought from comedian Roseanne Barr for $8 million. The 11,738 square feet house also includes a tennis court and a pool house. Jackson also owns a 2 bedroom, 2 bathroom apartment in SoHo New York worth $4.35 million.
During his days in the college, he was a co-founder of Atlanta’s black-oriented Just Us Theater.
While he was a student at Morehouse College, Samuel Jackson alongside other students, fought for the reform of the school’s curriculum and governance by holding the institution’s board of trustees hostage on the campus. Although their extreme action yielded the result the students wanted, it earned Jackson a two-year suspension from the school.
The actor’s decision to go bald is not because he wanted it but because he started losing his hair and soon had a big hole in the middle of his afro. Consequently, he had to quickly figure out what the haircut for him was – bald!
Jackson’s first bald role was in the 1996 American sports-comedy film, “The Great White Hype”.
He spends some of his spare time collecting the action figures of the characters he has played in his movies and enjoys watching the anime series like “Ninja Scroll” and “Black Lagoon”.
When he was 19 years old, he served as an usher at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr in Atlanta.
During the early days of his career, the award-winning actor struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction. As a result, he lost his roles in two plays when the productions moved on to the Broadway stage. In a bid to help himself overcome his cocaine addiction, Samuel Jackson went in for rehab and some days after he completed his time there, the actor starred in “Jungle Fever” (1991) as a crack-cocaine addict.
For two to three years, Jackson worked as a stand-in for Bill Cosby on “The Cosby Show.”
He has won about 20 awards for his various roles in different movies and even though he is yet to grab an Oscar award, Jackson is not bothered because according to him, “I don’t think an Oscar is gonna validate my career. You ask the average person, you know what they’re probably gonna say? ‘He already has one’!”
For health reasons, the actor has been a vegetarian since August 2013.