In case you’ve been living under a rock, Jackson has starred in dozens upon dozens of films since the action-packed cult-classic, including the “Star Wars” prequels and, more recently, in the Marvel superhero movies, like “Iron Man” and “The Avengers.” This Friday, the actor reprises his role as the iconic Nick Fury in the latest Marvel blockbuster, “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” opposite Chris Evans and Scarlett Johansson.
From his early days battling drug addiction to his weird connection with Bill Cosby, here are 19 things you probably don’t know about Samuel L. Jackson.
1. Born in Washington D.C., the actor grew up an only child in Chattanooga, Tennessee and was raised by his mother and maternal grandparents. Jackson only met his father, who died from alcoholism, twice during his life.
2. At 19, Jackson attended Martin Luther King Jr.’s funeral in Atlanta as an usher.
3. He made his feature film debut in “Together for Days” (1972), an independent blaxploitation movie.
4. In 1969, Jackson was suspended for two years from Morehouse College and convicted of a second-degree felony when he and several other students held members of the college board of trustees hostage in exchange for school reform. In 1972, the actor earned his Bachelor’s Degree from the college.
5. Early in his career, Jackson struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction to the extent that he was replaced in two plays when the productions transitioned to the Broadway stage.
6. Days after completing rehab for cocaine, the actor starred in Spike Lee‘s “Jungle Fever” (1991) as a crack-cocaine addict. Jackson acknowledged the role was cathartic for him as he recovered from his addiction and, subsequently, won the Supporting Actor award at Cannes — an award created just for him.
7. Jackson began using the curse word “motherf*****” in his daily speech in order to overcome a stuttering problem during childhood.
8. For three years, Jackson worked as a camera stand-in for Bill Cosby on “The Cosby Show.”
9. The actor’s movies have made more money than any other actor’s in Hollywood actor — exceeding $7 billion worldwide. The residuals alone earn him about $300,000 a year!
10. It wasn’t until Quentin Tarantino’s “Pulp Fiction” (1994) — when he was 46 years old — that Jackson broke out as a star. The actor was nominated for his iconic role as Jules Winnfield in what was his 30th film role. Altogether, Jackson has appeared in more than 100 movies.
11. He is a vegetarian. No Big Kahuna Burger for him!
12. Before discovering his love of acting, Jackson studied to become a marine biologist as well as an architect in college.
14. Jackson is such an avid golfer that he has a clause in his contracts that permit him easy access to golf courses no matter the film shoot’s location.
16. Mace Windu (played by Jackson) is the only character in the “Star Wars” films to have a purple lightsaber. According to the actor, George Lucas explained that lightsabers don’t come in purple, but Jackson insisted he have one. Because he’s Sam Jackson.
17. Quentin Tarantino wrote the popular role of Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction” specifically for Jackson.
18. He played the french horn and trumpet in the school symphony orchestra from elementary school through high school.
19. The actor is a huge fan of graphic novels, having read “Locke & Key” and “Scalped,” just to name a few.