Happy Birthday Samuel L. Jackson: Timeline of Acting Legend’s Career

by Suzanne Halliburton

Happy Birthday, Samuel L Jackson, the coolest cat on the planet. We know you’ll redefine 72.

These days, you’re so beloved that even Santa Claus still is keeping track of whether you’re naughty or nice. We see those commercials every day. Are you still using those naughty words? Hope so.

Here’s a look back at some of Jackson’s classic roles. He’s enjoyed a ton of them. His films have grossed more than $27 billion. That makes him the highest grossing actor of all time. Every day can be his birthday.

The Early Days of Samuel L Jackson

1988: Did you spot Jackson in the recent network telecast of “Coming To America?”

He played an armed robber, holding up McDowell’s (not McDonalds). Eddie Murphy saved the day. Jackson, who was mentored by actor Morgan Freeman, cashed an acting check for a minor, but memorable role.

1990: Jackson played Stack Edwards, a real-life mafia guy, in “Goodfellas.” However, Jackson’s personal life was in shambles at the time. He’d been fighting addictions to cocaine and heroin. His family checked Jackson into rehab, and the star began his recovery.

1991: Post-rehab, Jackson played a crack addict named Gator in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever.” He was out of rehab for one week before he started filming Jungle Fever. Gator was a key to the plot. Although the movie was about an inner-racial relationship between Wesley Snipes and Annabella Sciorra, it also dealt with addiction and its impact on a family.

Jackson hung out with another crack addict, an unrecognizable Halle Berry. This was Berry’s first movie role.

Jackson won Best Supporting Actor at the Cannes Film Festival. The festival judges were so fascinated by Jackson’s Gator, they created the award to give Jackson.

1994: Jackson’s skills were so great that well-known writers and directors started developing characters just for him. Quentin Tarantino did that in Pulp Fiction. Jackson earned the part of Jules, the hip hitman. He received an Academy Award nomination for best-supporting actor.

Check out some of the clips. Warning, some of the language is salty. Classic Tarantino.

1995: Jackson starred in the third sequel to the movie Die Hard. This was was Die Hard With A Vengeance. He played Zeus Carver, Bruce Willis’ partner at the NYPD. It was the highest-grossing film of the year.

Jackson Won Image Award For a “Time To Kill”

1996: In “A Time To Kill” Jackson portrayed Carl Lee Hailey, the anguished father whose 10-year-old daughter was raped and left for dead. Carl Lee took justice into his own hands and killed the two white men who brutalized his daughter. He hired Matthew McConaughey to defend him.

Jackson won an NAACP Image Award for best supporting actor in a movie. He also garnered a Golden Globe nomination for a supporting role.

1999: Jackson’s movies were killing it at the box office. Then he joined the best movie franchise of all time. Jackson played Mace Windu, a Jedi Master, in the revival of Star Wars. This one was called “Stars Wars, Episode One – The Phantom Menace.”

Oh, To Be Samuel L. Jackson In a New Century

2000: Jackson received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in June. He got back together with Bruce Willis for “Unbreakable.” Then he played a classic character, John Shaft, in “Shaft.” Can you dig it? He’s the cat who won’t cop out.

2002: Jackson was Mace Windu again in Star Wars: Episode 2, Attack of the Clones. He was such a special Jedi, his lightsaber fired purple. Three years later, Palpatine killed Mace Windu in Revenge of the Sith, but Jedis can pop up anywhere.

2004: Jackson became a voice actor. He played the superhero Frozone in the computer-animated movie The Incredibles.

One Of Jackson’s Best-Known Movies Was A S-S-S-Sizzling Viral Success

2006: Jackson was honored with a hand and footprint ceremony at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre on Jan. 30. He was only the seventh African American to receive the iconic distinction. Later that year, he starred in “Snakes On A Plane.” Jackson portrayed an FBI agent assigned to protect a key witness to a murder. The crime boss put out a hit on the witness.

It definitely was a unique and horrifying hit. In order to off the witness, hundreds of poisonous snakes, sprayed with a pheromone to make them nastier, were released on a plane. The movie became a viral sensation even before its release.

2009: Jackson worked with Tarantino again, this time narrating parts of the World War II movie Inglourious Basterds.

This year was big for Jackson for other reasons: he signed a nine-picture deal to play Nick Fury in the Marvel Avenger movies.

2018 through Present: Jackson played cameo roles in the last two Avenger movies. He revised his role as John Shaft. And Nick Fury had more to do in “Spider-Man: Far From Home. “

From start to finish, an illustrious career. Happy Birthday Samuel!