Certified Vintage: Samuel L Jackson

With over a dozen new movies tied to his name, Samuel L Jackson seems to be at the peak of his game. True, Mr. Jackson has been doing this longer than some of you have been alive. Yet, his days in film are not the most interesting parts of his life. Then again his acting career is symbolic to VIntage Grind. 1979, is his first accredited feature film and over the next 11 years he was in 8 more. The first two years of the 90’s he doubled that! How, he never gave up, stayed focused and stayed on his grind.

Samuel L Jackson was born in Washington, DC on December 21, 1948. However, he grew up in Chattanooga, Tennessee and ironically, the college town of Mr. (Terrell Owens) “Get your popcorn ready.” He was raised in Chattanooga by his Aunt’s, Uncle’s and Grandparent’s until the 4th grade when his mother returned live with him.

In 1969, while attending Morehouse College, maybe a little more interesting he was briefly suspended. What? Yes, after taking several members of the board of trustees hostage. This included the father of Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. Samuel and other students were protesting the lack of curriculum for African American studies and the lack of African American’s in Morehouse College’s management. Jackson was never prosecuted for the actions. Crazy but true fact, only a year earlier Samuel was an usher at MLK Jr’s Funeral.

Samuel graduated from Morehouse in 1972.

Jackson’s professional career is now one of legend. He’s done everything from being a camera stand-in on the Cosby Show to working as an actor in many of Spike Lee’s movies “School Daze”, “Mo’ Better Blues”, “Jungle Fever” and this year’s upcoming “Old Boy”. He was also in “Goodfellas”, “Pulp Fiction”, “Die Hard: With a Vengeance”, “Star Wars” episodes 1-3.

Most importantly, he stars as Nick Fury in Marvel’s movie universe. He gave permission for Marvel to use his likeness in 2002 for the Ultimates comic series. Looking at his Marvel appearances on the big screen… “Iron Man”, “Iron Man 2”, “Thor”, “Captain America: The First Avenger”, “Marvel’s The Avengers” and then the Marvel movies yet to be released… “Iron Man 3”, “Captain America’s: The Winter Soldier”, “Marvel’s The Avengers 2” and wait for it… “Nick Fury.”

I think the only person to appear in more Marvel movies is Stan Lee. I personally would love to see him in a Spider-Man movie or maybe a crossing of the X-men into The Avengers to give a push for an X-Men reboot. That is the impact that Samuel L. Jackson has had on the overall Marvel universe.

Jackson has also worked with some of the best directors out there. John McTiernan, Quentin Tarantino, George Lucas, Spike Lee, The Hughes brothers, Steven Spielberg, Joel Schumacher, Joss Whedon and the list goes on and on. Look at the versatility in his Movie choices; “Coach Carter”, “Jurassic Park”, “1408”, “Black Snake Moan”, “Unbreakable”, “XXX.” Much like the director’s list, that list also goes on and on.

He has hosted the MTV Movie Awards (1998), Bet Awards (2012), The World Sports Awards (2001), Spike TV’s VGAs (2007), 16th Annual Trumpet Awards (2008) and the Espy Awards (2003). There is also countless awards he has presented.

When you look at his body of work you have to think about his wait to break into the industry, as he is considered a late bloomer. His first credited role was in 1972’s “Together for Days,” but his first breakout role wasn’t until 1994’s “Pulp Fiction.” Making him highly gracious, humble and a workaholic. Then again his work is playing make believe.

Jackson has also had his own level of adversity. During the years that he struggled as an actor he worked as a doorman in New York waiting for his big break. Before finishing rehab in 1991, he was considered a heavy drinker and it had been said that he had done his fair share of cocaine. Ironically fresh out of rehab, he played a drug addict in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever”. He had his breakout role in “Pulp Fiction,” I believe this also helped him become the bad ass he already knew he was. He has his memorable lines form “motherfucker say what one more time!” to “I am sick of these mother fuckin snakes, on this mother fuckin plane!” and the vintage line… “Is that n*gger on a horse?”

Samuel L. Jackson was well worth the wait, his career spans 40 years. So what if we let him master his craft in the first 20? When you look at the roll call of the movies he has been in, it is no wonder how he has managed to have been in enough movies to be the highest grossing actor ever. He has made us laugh in moments of fear, had us rooting for the bad guy and always entertain the masses with charm that is completely his own. Samuel L. Jackson is worthy of many awards, VG is just happy to say he is Certified Vintage.

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