Samuel L. Jackson Then and Now

By / June 9, 2024

Samuel L. Jackson Then

Samuel L. Jackson was born on December 21, 1948, in Washington, D.C., and grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he was raised under the strict guidance of his grandmother.

His mother, Elizabeth, joined them when Jackson was ten years old, which marked a significant moment in his upbringing. 

Growing up, Jackson developed a passion for films and frequently visited the local theater. 

His early exposure to cinema was complex and multifaceted, as he navigated the often problematic representations of Black characters on screen. 

One notable experience was watching “Band of Angels,” a film that was edited for Black audiences in Chattanooga to omit a scene where Sidney Poitier slaps a white woman, reflecting the racial sensitivities and censorship of the time.

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These formative experiences shaped Jackson’s consciousness and perspective, particularly when he entered Morehouse College, a historically Black institution in Atlanta. 

At Morehouse, Jackson became deeply involved in the Black-power movement, driven by a growing awareness of racial issues and a desire for change.

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His activism came to a head in 1969 during his junior year, when he led a protest against the absence of Black people on the college’s board of trustees. 

Jackson and other students locked several board members in a building for two days, an act of civil disobedience that led to his expulsion from the college.

Despite this setback, Jackson’s path took a significant turn that same year when he watched a performance by the Negro Ensemble Company.

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This experience ignited a newfound passion for acting, providing him with a sense of direction and purpose. 

Jackson spent two years working as a social worker in Los Angeles, which gave him further insight into the social issues he was passionate about. 

However, his desire to pursue acting led him back to Morehouse College, where he completed his studies and earned his degree in 1972.

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Jackson’s early life and experiences at Morehouse College were pivotal in shaping his career and identity. 

His exposure to the struggles and triumphs of Black representation in film, combined with his active involvement in the civil rights movement, deeply influenced his approach to acting and his choice of roles. 

This background provided Jackson with a unique perspective that he carried into his prolific career in Hollywood, where he became known not only for his talent but also for his commitment to addressing social issues through his work.

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Samuel L. Jackson Acting Career

In 1976, Samuel L. Jackson moved to New York City, marking the beginning of his prolific career in theater. 

He immersed himself in the vibrant theater scene and, in 1981, performed in Charles Fuller’s Pulitzer Prize-winning play “A Soldier’s Play.” 

It was during this time that Jackson met actor Morgan Freeman and aspiring filmmaker Spike Lee, both of whom provided him with encouragement and opportunities that would be pivotal for his career.

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Lee, recognizing Jackson’s talent, cast him in several of his early films, including “School Daze” (1988), “Do the Right Thing” (1989), “Mo’ Better Blues” (1990), and “Jungle Fever” (1991). 

Jackson’s performance in “Jungle Fever” as a hard-core drug addict earned him the first Best Supporting Actor award ever bestowed by the Cannes Film Festival, a role that mirrored his own struggles and marked his commitment to overcoming his personal drug addiction.

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Jackson’s career breakthrough came with his iconic role in Quentin Tarantino’s cult classic “Pulp Fiction” (1994). 

His portrayal of a loquacious, Bible-verse-spewing hitman earned him an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor, solidifying his status in Hollywood.

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Throughout the 1990s, Jackson’s versatility shone through in a variety of films, including “Jurassic Park” (1993), “Die Hard with a Vengeance” (1995), “A Time to Kill” (1996), “The Long Kiss Goodnight” (1996), “Jackie Brown” (1997), “The Negotiator” (1998), and as Mace Windu in “Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace” (1999). 

He reprised his role as Mace Windu in the subsequent Star Wars prequels and lent his voice to the character in “Star Wars: Episode IX—The Rise of Skywalker” (2019).

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In the 21st century, Jackson continued to display his versatility, taking on diverse roles such as a colonel in “Rules of Engagement” (2000), a detective in “Shaft” (2000), and an FBI agent in “Snakes on a Plane” (2006). 

He worked again with Tarantino in “Django Unchained” (2012), playing an outspoken but devoted slave. 

Jackson’s collaboration with Marvel Comics led to a significant role as Nick Fury, starting with a nine-movie deal that included appearances in blockbuster films like “Iron Man 2” (2010), “The Avengers” (2012), and “Avengers: Endgame” (2019).

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Jackson continued to garner accolades with roles in films such as Spike Lee’s “Chi-Raq” (2015) and Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” (2015). 

He also ventured into fantastical adventure with “Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children” (2016) and action-packed roles in “Kong: Skull Island” (2017) and “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (2017), reprising his role in its sequel in 2021. 

In 2019, he returned to familiar roles in “Glass” and “Shaft,” and starred in “The Last Full Measure,” a film about a soldier’s heroism during the Vietnam War.

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In addition to his on-screen performances, Jackson’s distinctive voice has been featured in numerous animated films, including “The Incredibles” (2004) and its sequel “Incredibles 2” (2018). 

He has also served as a narrator for various projects and frequently appeared on television as a spokesperson for various brands. 

In 2022, Jackson’s illustrious career was honored with an honorary Academy Award, recognizing him as a cultural icon whose dynamic work has resonated across genres and generations, cementing his legacy in the film industry.

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Samuel L. Jackson Movies

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  • Together for Days (1972)
  • The Displaced Person (1977)
  • Ragtime (1981)
  • Magic Sticks (1987)
  • School Daze (1988)
  • Coming to America (1988)
  • Do the Right Thing (1989)
  • Sea of Love (1989)
  • Def by Temptation (1990)
  • Goodfellas (1990)
  • The Exorcist III (1990)
  • Mo’ Better Blues (1990)
  • Betsy’s Wedding (1990)
  • Strictly Business (1991)
  • Jungle Fever (1991)
  • Johnny Suede (1991)
  • Jumpin’ at the Boneyard (1992)
  • Patriot Games (1992)
  • White Sands (1992)
  • Juice (1992)
  • True Romance (1993)
  • Amos & Andrew (1993)
  • Jurassic Park (1993)
  • Menace II Society (1993)
  • Loaded Weapon 1 (1993)
  • Fresh (1994)
  • Pulp Fiction (1994)
  • The New Age (1994)
  • Hail Caesar (1994)
  • Kiss of Death (1995)
  • Losing Isaiah (1995)
  • Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995)
  • Fluke (1995)
  • The Great White Hype (1996)
  • A Time to Kill (1996)
  • The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996)
  • Trees Lounge (1996)
  • Jackie Brown (1997)
  • Eve’s Bayou (1997)
  • 187 (1997)
  • Sphere (1998)
  • The Negotiator (1998)
  • Out of Sight (1998)
  • Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999)
  • Deep Blue Sea (1999)
  • The Red Violin (1999)
  • Shaft (2000)
  • Unbreakable (2000)
  • Rules of Engagement (2000)
  • The Caveman’s Valentine (2001)
  • Changing Lanes (2002)
  • XXX (2002)
  • Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002)
  • No Good Deed (2002)
  • Basic (2003)
  • S.W.A.T. (2003)
  • Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004) – Cameo
  • Twisted (2004)
  • The Incredibles (2004) – Voice
  • Coach Carter (2005)
  • XXX: State of the Union (2005)
  • Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  • The Man (2005)
  • Freedomland (2006)
  • Snakes on a Plane (2006)
  • Home of the Brave (2006)
  • Black Snake Moan (2007)
  • Resurrecting the Champ (2007)
  • 1408 (2007)
  • Cleaner (2007)
  • Jumper (2008)
  • Iron Man (2008) – Cameo
  • Soul Men (2008)
  • Lakeview Terrace (2008)
  • Gospel Hill (2008)
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) – Voice
  • The Spirit (2008)
  • Inglourious Basterds (2009) – Narrator
  • Astro Boy (2009) – Voice
  • Mother and Child (2009)
  • Iron Man 2 (2010)
  • The Other Guys (2010)
  • Unthinkable (2010)
  • African Cats (2011) – Narrator
  • Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
  • Arena (2011)
  • The Avengers (2012)
  • Django Unchained (2012)
  • Zambezia (2012) – Voice
  • Turbo (2013) – Voice
  • Oldboy (2013)
  • Reasonable Doubt (2014)
  • RoboCop (2014)
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)
  • Kite (2014)
  • Big Game (2014)
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015)
  • Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
  • Barely Lethal (2015)
  • Chi-Raq (2015)
  • The Hateful Eight (2015)
  • Cell (2016)
  • The Legend of Tarzan (2016)
  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children (2016)
  • xXx: Return of Xander Cage (2017)
  • Kong: Skull Island (2017)
  • The Hitman’s Bodyguard (2017)
  • Unicorn Store (2017)
  • Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
  • Incredibles 2 (2018) – Voice
  • Life Itself (2018)
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) – Voice
  • Captain Marvel (2019)
  • Avengers: Endgame (2019)
  • Shaft (2019)
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
  • The Last Full Measure (2019)
  • The Banker (2020)
  • Spiral (2021)
  • The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (2021)
  • Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery (2022)
  • Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank (2022) – Voice
  • Ant-Man 3 (2023)
  • The Marvels (2023)
  • The Kill Room (2023)
  • Damaged (2024)

Samuel L. Jackson’s Wife and Children

In 1980, Samuel L. Jackson married LaTanya Richardson, an actress and sports channel producer. 

The couple’s relationship began during their time at Morehouse College in Atlanta, where they first met. 

Together, they have a daughter named Zoe, who was born in 1982.

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The Jackson family is known not only for their individual accomplishments in the entertainment industry but also for their collective commitment to philanthropy. 

Over the years, they have donated millions of dollars to various causes, including education, Alzheimer’s research, and equal rights initiatives. 

Their philanthropic efforts demonstrate a deep commitment to making a positive impact on society and supporting important social issues.

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In addition to his professional achievements and philanthropic endeavors, Samuel L. Jackson has also explored his heritage. 

DNA tests have revealed that Jackson can trace part of his ancestry to the Benga people of Gabon, a connection that holds significant personal meaning for him. 

Embracing this aspect of his heritage, Jackson became a naturalized citizen of Gabon in 2019.

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This step highlights his appreciation for his roots and his desire to forge a deeper connection with his ancestral homeland. 

Through his citizenship, Jackson exemplifies a profound respect for his lineage and a commitment to honoring his cultural identity.

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Samuel L. Jackson Now

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At 75 years old, Samuel L. Jackson remains one of the most influential and dynamic figures in the entertainment industry. 

Known for his powerful performances and charismatic presence, Jackson has cemented his status as a legendary actor.

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His latest film, “Damaged,” released in 2024, showcases his enduring talent and versatility. 

Over the years, Jackson has built an impressive career that spans multiple decades, with a filmography that includes iconic roles in both mainstream blockbusters and critically acclaimed films.

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Samuel L. Jackson is not only an acclaimed actor but also a successful producer. 

His prolific career and ability to consistently deliver memorable performances have contributed to his substantial net worth, estimated at $250 million. 

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This financial success reflects not just his acting prowess but also his savvy business acumen within the industry. 

Jackson’s remarkable body of work has earned him the distinction of being the highest-grossing actor of all time, a testament to his broad appeal and the commercial success of his films.

Widely recognized and celebrated, Jackson’s impact on cinema is unparalleled.

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His performances have left an indelible mark on audiences worldwide, and his contributions to film continue to inspire both fans and fellow actors. 

As he continues to take on new roles and projects, Samuel L. Jackson’s legacy as a trailblazing actor and influential figure in Hollywood remains firmly established.

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