Happy birthday, Samuel L. Jackson! The actor turns 68 today.
Born in Washington D.C., Jackson was raised as an only child in Chatanooga, TN by his mother Elizabeth. His father Roy Henry lived away from the family in Kansas City and only met Jackson twice before he died from alcoholism. Growing up, Jackson intended to pursue a degree in marine biology but was persuaded to join the arts after attending Morehouse College in Atlanta. It was there that Jackson joined a local acting group to earn extra credit, and the exposure to theater prompted Jackson to alter his career plans.
After working briefly with the Civil Rights Movement, Jackson began picking up minor roles in film and stage productions before the 1990s rolled around. The actor, who was now a recovering drug addict, then bet his career on the film Jungle Fever where he played a crack cocaine user. The film was received well by both fans and critics, and Jackson was awarded for his support role.
Once Jungle Fever had launched Jackson into Hollywood's eye, the actor took on roles in National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon and Jurassic Park. He then scored a starring role in True Romance, a film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The director fell for the actor's abrasive talent and hired him to play Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction.
Pulp Fiction stands as one of Tarantino's most critically acclaimed projects, and the film pushed Jackson's career to new heights. After working on the film, Jackson accepted roles in franchises like Die Hard, Star Wars, and XXX.
These days, Jackson is most easily recognized for his work with the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The actor gave permission to have his likeness used for an 'Ultimate' version of Nick Fury in Marvel's comics, and the company used Jackson as the character's on-screen counterpart. The actor joined the MCU in 2008's Iron Man before he appeared in other films like Thor, Captain America: The First Avengers, and The Avengers.
In the future, fans can expect to see more of Jackson. The actor has said he has two more films in his contract for Marvel, and Jackson is also set to star in Kong: Skull Island which debuts next year.
Happy birthday, Samuel!