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 major roles as seen in "Strictly Business" (1991), "Juice" (1992), "Loaded Weapon I" (1993), plus "Menace II Society" (1993) while also gained a handful of brief appearances in blockbuster movies, like "Patriot Games" (1992) and "Jurassic Park" (1993). His status grew even higher in 1995 when his two 1994 projects, "Against the Wall" and "Pulp Fiction," brought him to be nominated in both categories of Best Performance by an Actor in a Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for Television and that of in a Motion Picture - Musical Or Comedy at the 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards.
The attainment he gained in this outstanding work of Quentin Tarantino amazingly proceeded to more accolades of being an Oscar and BAFTA Awards nominee for Best Actor in a Supporting Role title, which he delightfully acquired at the latter event. Continued to score high in his next films of "Die Hard: With a Vengeance" (1995), "A Time to Kill" (1996), and "The Long Kiss Goodnight" (1996), Samuel once again received a Golden Globe nomination in 1998, this time was for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Comedy/Musical category through his enactment in another Tarantino's work, "Jackie Brown" (1997). Incredibly popular also respected, he spent the rest of 1990s to keep encountering commercial success through "The Negotiator" (1998) and "Deep Blue Sea" (1999) besides nabbed a coveted role in what seemed to be one of the most anticipated pictures of the decade, "Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace" (1999), playing Mace Windu, leader of the Jedi Council.
Satisfyingly completed his transition from secondary actor to leading man by the turn of the third millennium in John Singleton's "Shaft" (2000), Samuel ran his career smoothly with a series of appearances in high-profile movies which then turned to be smash box-office hits, like "Unbreakable" (2000), "Rules of Engagement" (2000), "Changing Lanes" (2002), "XXX" (2002), and "S.W.A.T" (2003). Reprising the role of Mace Windu in the following "Star Wars" installments of Episode II and III, he afterwards brilliantly made a compelling dramatic turn as the title character in "Coach Carter" (2005) while managed to evoke audience's laughs alongside Eugene Levy in Les Mayfield's enjoyable action comedy flick, "The Man" (2005). Next starred opposite Julianne Moore in "Freedomland" (2006), this charismatic thespian tirelessly proceeded to maintain his solid position in Hollywood for the whole 2006 with other performances in "Snakes on a Plane" and "Black Snake Moan."
Big screen offers continued to flow heavily for Samuel afterwards for three years ahead. For 2007 only, he appeared in no more than four film titles of "Home of the Brave", "1408", "Resurrecting the Champ", and "Cleaner." 2008 even saw him appeared in more high-profile movies such as "Lakeview Terrace", "Jumper", and notably "Iron Man" though he only made brief appearance there. Coming to 2009, audience would spot him playing villainous character The Octopus in Frank Miller's "The Spirit" and a soul-singing legend in "Soul Men" besides hearing his voice in "Quantum Quest: A Cassini Space Odyssey."