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Samuel L. Jackson is known as one of the hardest-working Hollywood actors. In 2011, he was named the highest-grossing actor of all time.
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Samuel L. Jackson was born on December 21, 1948 in Washington, D.C. He was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee by his grandmother. Jackson graduated from Morehouse College in 1972 and performed skits about racial inequality with a theatre company. He moved to New York City where his friendship with Spike Lee helped him land his first movie gigs. In 1994, he had landed a role in the cult hit, Pulp Fiction. By the age of 63, he had appeared in more than 100 films,
and in 2011 he was named the highest grossing actor of all time with more than $7.2 billion in wealth.
Samuel L. Jackson was born on December 21, 1948 in Washington, D.C., and was raised in Chattanooga, Tennessee, under his grandmother's strict guidance. His mother, Elizabeth Jackson, joined them when he was 10. An early film enthusiast, Jackson frequently saw films at the local movie theatre and gained exposure to the complicated messages surrounding the black presence on screen. Versions of Band of Angels were edited for the black audience in Chattanooga, omitting a scene in which Sidney Poitier slaps a white woman.
Jackson's early memories remained with him when he entered the historically black Morehouse College in Atlanta and became increasingly involved in the black-power movement. In 1969, his junior year, he protested the absence of blacks on the board of trustees by locking several board members in a building for two days, and was promptly expelled from the college. That same year, Jackson watched a performance by the Negro Ensemble Company and gained a new inspiration—acting. After working as a social worker for two years in Los Angeles, Jackson returned to Morehouse to pursue the study of acting and received his degree in 1972.
After college, Jackson joined the Black Image Theatre Company with his future wife, LaTanya Richardson, whom he met at Morehouse's sister school, Spellman College. They toured the country and performed skits characterized by a fiery combination of rage and humor to primarily white audiences. In 1976, having exhausted their enthusiasm for politically-charged theatre, Jackson moved with Richardson to Harlem, New York City, to pursue an acting career outside such strictly defined perimeters of race. He began to act in Off-Broadway productions, including Richard Wesley's The Mighty Gents, an adaptation of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage, and Samm-Art Williams's Home. He also got a job substituting for Bill Cosby during The Cosby Show rehearsals.
In 1981, while working on Charles Fuller's A Soldier's Play, Jackson had two life-changing encounters: He met fellow actor Morgan J. Freeman, who became a great friend and convinced Jackson that he could be a successful actor, and a New York University film student named Spike Lee, who expressed his enthusiasm for Jackson's performances and urged him to appear in the films he planned to make. Jackson consented and kept his word, appearing in several of Lee's early films including School Daze, Do the Right Thing, and Mo' Better Blues.
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