Samuel L. Jackson
Suprise, motherfu-… did you really think we would say it?
Though Samuel L. Jackson is famous among his fans for his use of his now signature catch phrase which, as a side note, was his own antidote to cure a stuttering problem he had as a child, few recall that the charismatic actor began his career in a very dark place. He battled alcohol, crack cocaine, and heroin.
Jackson’s drug use can be attributed to his incredibly rough upbringing. Born in 1948, Sam L. was subjected to a childhood filled with racism, hate, and poverty. He was raised primarily by his grandmother; his mother was absent for much of his childhood and he only met his father- who struggled with addiction throughout his life– twice in his lifetime.
Jackson’s grandmother pushed him to strive for his education and he attended the prestigious, predominantly black Morehouse College. While attending the school in Atlanta to study marine biology and architecture, Jackson was expelled for taking part in student protests regarding a lack of black representatives on the board of trustees.
That did not end his college career, however, and he returned to Morehouse to receive a degree in acting. Through all of his work as an activist, a social worker in Los Angeles, and his ambition toward higher education and success, Jackson was unable to evade the demon that haunted his family. He fell into a life of substance abuse and addiction, abusing crack cocaine, alcohol, and heroin.
Sam reveled in the lowered ambitions and disassociation he experienced when under the influence of drugs and alcohol; for years he lived in that haze, addicted yet functioning, but without truly enjoying his life. Miraculously his talent was unhindered by his substance abuse problem. He continued to act in plays and small film roles, waiting for his moment to break through. What he never realized was that his crutches of alcohol, cocaine, and heroin were inhibiting his chances at success in his acting career.
As of today Samuel L. Jackson has acted in over 163 films, TV shows and even voice work in video games and animated projects. In fact, the iconic role of Jules Winnfield in “Pulp Fiction” was written just for him.
In his personal life, Samuel L. Jackson is a philanthropist involved in nearly two dozen charities and foundations. He donates money and time to such admirable causes as cancer research, ending apartheid, and serving children in underdeveloped countries. He and wife LaTanya have been married for over four decades and he credits his over two decades of sobriety to her commitment and faith in him.