- 12:10 PM, Aug 17
Proficient in stealing almost every scene he appears in through his screen intensity and polished delivery he regularly displays when performing, Samuel Leroy Jackson really has all the reason to place himself softly in the group of lauded leading men in Hollywood. His work on a number of projects, either high profile or low-key, has indeed shown his ability to play film characters with both remarkable versatility and unusual intelligence critics often praised for. Barely knew his father who left the family several years after his birth on December 21, 1948 in Washington, D.C, little Samuel grew up under the nurture of his mother, Elizabeth Jackson, and maternal grandparents in the factory town of Chattanooga, Tennessee. He began to develop an interest in acting when attending Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, leading him to change his major in Architecture to Drama, even making his big screen debut through a 1972 drama flick entitled "Together for Days" before finally obtained a Bachelor of Arts in the same year.
Afterwards headed for New York in 1976 to flourish his acting career, Samuel found himself landed his feet on the Negro Ensemble Company in which he later was involved in some of its stage productions, like "A Soldier's Play", "Home", and "District Line" throughout the '80s. During this period, he took time to marry his college sweetheart, LaTanya Richardson, in 1980 to then happily welcome their first daughter, Zoe Jackson, by the two following years. Amid this joy, however, his career in screen feature did not run well as he only earned bit parts which certainly did not sufficient enough to attract public attention he aimed for though he did score a memorable performance in Eddie Murphy's vehicle of "Coming to America" (1988). Fortunately, there was still a slight ray of hope during this dark period for director Spike Lee, whom he first met on the backstage of "A Soldier's Play" and had collaborated with in several movies, decided to give him the role of Gator Purify in his 1991 effort, "Jungle Fever."
Displayed such a brilliant portrayal as Wesley Snipes' suffering drug-addict brother, Samuel inevitably was showered with huge acclaim from the critics, prompting the judges of Cannes Film Festival invented a special jury prize, Best Supporting Actor Award, specifically to honor his outstanding achievement in 1991. Unquestionably catapulted to widespread recognition, this triumph subsequently brought him to secure a series of