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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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The friendship duly paid off for Jackson, as it was his role as the drug-addicted Gator in Lee's Jungle Fever that finally grabbed critics' attention and inspired some well-earned praise. Judges at the Cannes Film Festival created a Best Supporting Actor category in order to give Jackson the prize. He also received a New York Film Critics award. Through playing an on-screen drug-demon,
Jackson was forced to confront his own off-screen demon - an increasingly destructive addiction to drugs and alcohol. The cathartic nature of his performance enabled Jackson to give up drugs, making it both a personal and professional success.
Jackson continued to take small parts in films such as Juice and True Romance, and he played an FBI agent in the thriller White Sands, exhibiting his impressive range and ability to add a quirky twist to every character. He overcame two Hollywood flops, National Lampoon's Loaded Weapon I and Amos & Andrew, by making small but affecting performances in Menace II Society and Patriot Games.
In 1994, after establishing a reputation as one of Hollywood's hardest-working actors, Jackson got a chance to play the pivotal role of his career in Quentin Tarantino's instant cult classic, Pulp Fiction. Working from any actor's dream script, Jackson played Jules Winnfield, a sermon-spewing killer with eruptive speeches up to five pages long. He moved and terrified audiences with his impassioned performance, becoming the elusive moral center of the psychologically twisted film. He received an Academy Award nomination for the role.
Jackson went on to make several big Hollywood films, including John Grisham's A Time to Kill and the action-thriller The Long Kiss Goodnight, but he continued to participate in independent endeavors, such as Steve Buscemi's Trees Lounge. In 1993, Jackson made a much-desired return to the stage in Distant Fires, telling Premiere magazine, "I always want to get back to theater to make sure that I'm still an actor."
Some 1999 performances include a role in the shark thriller Deep Blue Sea and Jedi knight Mace Windu in Star Wars: Episode I: The Phantom Menace.
In 2000, he starred with Tommy Lee Jones in the military thriller Rules of Engagement and in the remake of the classic 1970s blaxploitation hit Shaft. He also costarred with Bruce Willis in Unbreakable, a supernatural thriller written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan.
In 2002, Jackson starred opposite Ben Affleck in Changing Lanes. He also starred in Star Wars: Episode II: Attack of the Clones. Jackson also starred in Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) Black Snake Moan (2006) and Snakes on a Plane (2006). In 2008, Jackson starred in Jumper. He also played the role of Nick Fury in Iron Man. His appearance comes only after the final credits have rolled—setting up the inevitable sequel to the successful film. He appeared in the sequel, Iron Man 2, in 2010, signing a nine-film agreement with Marvel to play the character.
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