Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American film and television actor and film producer. After becoming involved with the Civil Rights Movement, he moved on to acting in theater at Morehouse College, and then films. He had several small roles such as in the film Goodfellas, Def by Temptation, before meeting his mentor, Morgan Freeman, and the director Spike Lee. After gaining critical acclaim for his role in Jungle Fever in 1991, he appeared in films such as Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance and Jurassic Park. In 1994 he was cast as Jules Winnfield in Pulp Fiction, and his performance received several award nominations and critical acclaim.
Jackson has since appeared in over 100 films including Die Hard with a Vengeance, The 51st State, Jackie Brown, Unbreakable, The Incredibles, Black Snake Moan, Shaft, Snakes on a Plane, as well as the Star Wars prequel trilogy and small roles in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Inglourious Basterds. He played Nick Fury in Iron Man and Iron Man 2, the first two of a nine-film commitment as the character for the Marvel Cinematic Universe franchise. Jackson's many roles have made him one of the highest grossing actors at the box office. Jackson has won multiple awards throughout his career and has been portrayed in various forms of media including films, television series, and songs. In 1980, Jackson married LaTanya Richardson, with whom he has one daughter, Zoe.
Jackson was born in Washington, D.C. He grew up as an only child in Chattanooga, Tennessee with his mother, Elizabeth Jackson (née Montgomery), who was a factory worker and later a supplies buyer for a mental institution, and his maternal grandparents and extended family. His father lived away from the family, in Kansas City, Missouri, and later died from alcoholism; Jackson had only met his father twice during his life. Jackson attended several segregated schools and graduated from Riverside High School in Chattanooga. Between the third and twelfth grades, he played the French horn and trumpet in the school orchestra. Initially intent on pursuing a degree in marine biology, he attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia. After joining a local acting group to earn extra points in a class, Jackson found an interest in acting and switched his major. Before graduating in 1972, he co-founded the "Just Us Theatre".