Samuel Jackson Then and Now: From an Addict to the Most Influential Actor of All Time

Samuel Jackson then and now owned 120 movies, $13 billion in box office revenue. He is clearly the highest commercial Hollywood star. That’s what people often say about Samuel Jackson. But his great success was not a red carpet journey.

15 years immersed in drugs

Samuel Jackson was born in 1948 in Washington DC and raised in Tennessee (USA). Growing up in a secluded environment and lacking the supportive hand of a father (he only met his father twice in his life), the 70-year-old actor had experienced a volatile youth. The addiction of Samuel Jackson began when an unknown man introduced him to the drug that caused the hallucinations L. Then he made Samuel fell into heroin and cocaine. In the 1980s, the young man Samuel turned to heavy opium. For 15 years, he was immersed in addiction and smoking. According to Samuel Jackson himself, he smoked opium as much as one person had to drink coffee to maintain his sanity daily. 

Samuel’s life became deadlocked when his wife and daughter discovered him lying unconsciously on the kitchen floor. He surrounded by drug paraphernalia. His wife, Mrs. LaTanya Richardson, called their family as a “house of hell” at that period and urged him to go to rehab. “I had been drugged since the age of 15, and I was tired of it,” he shared.

Samuel Jackson spent years following his colleagues. Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, and then Laurence Fishburne, they all flew to Hollywood and created their own name and status. Samuel was constantly looking forward to receiving an invitation to film from Hollywood directors. He had tried to pursue an ambitious acting career but it seemed that the fortunate had not called him.

While Samuel was in rehab, Spike Lee, the director Samuel Jackson later had many opportunities to collaborate with, was sending the screenplay of Jungle Fever. Ironically, the first role after the star’s successful detoxification was an opium addict. “All the people in the rehab camp tried to advise me on refusing to play that character. If you accepted the invitation, you would be fooled with those ghost drugs again,” Samuel shared. Then, he still accepted the invitation.

The outstanding role in Jungle Fever then helped the actor to make a big splash at the Cannes Film Festival in 1991. It was this role that paved the way for Samuel Jackson to go to Hollywood.

Going to Hollywood and pursuing his dream of becoming a great actor

Thanks to a stepping stone from director Spike Lee, the addict guy once again appeared with a variety of roles on screen: Patriot Games, Amos & Andrew, True Romance, and Jurassic Park. In 1994, he played the role of gangster Jules Winnfield in the movie Pulp Fiction. Samuel’s acting received great acclaim from the audience and received an Oscar nomination.

When Samuel Jackson received the Pulp Fiction script from director Quentin Tarantino, actor Bruce Willis (starring with Samuel in the film Die Hard With a Vengeance) once whispered to his colleagues: “This movie is fine. But Die Hard With a Vengeance would change your life, while Pulp Fiction would not.” However, Bruce Willis was only half right. The role of Zeus Carver in Die Hard with a Vengeance gave Samuel Jackson worldwide fame, while Pulp Fiction also became a classic Hollywood crime movie.

After decades of his acting career, Samuel Jackson has owned a huge movie fortune with about 120 films. His name was constantly mentioned in the newspaper and in television shows. His figure has also gone into the story of many movies and become the inspiration for some songs.

“Billion-dollar” superstar

In December 2018, this American actor celebrated his 70th birthday. Meanwhile, he gained the title of the most influential actor of all time, through a methodical study by Applied Network Science. In September 2018, Box Office Mojo announced Samuel Jackson as the name with the highest commercial value in Hollywood.

Blockbusters such as Jurassic Park, Star Wars, Avengers to artworks like Pulp Fiction, and classic horror movies like Snakes on an Airplane totally gained $ 5.76 billion at the domestic box office. This number far exceeded Harrison Ford’s $ 4.96 billion and Tom Hanks’ $ 4.6 billion. Not stopping there, regarding the worldwide scope, movies starring this actor earned $ 13.3 billion.

Samuel Jackson’s incredible achievements are not too difficult to explain. In fact, he has regularly appeared in about 5 cinemas every year for the past three decades. The majority of the billion-dollar revenue of the actor was from Marvel.

Samuel first took on the role of Nick Fury of the superhero series in 2008, a role he only accepted “for fun”. Then, with his diverse acting and transformation talents, Nick Fury from a character who appeared in two parts of Iron man began to become a key hero in the next 7 Marvel movies over the past 10 years. Sharing with The Hollywood Reporter, Samuel said he would be happy to continue playing this role until he turns 80.

“Then and now, I have given everything I could and always treasured every precious moment that appeared on the screen. That’s exactly what I have achieved and wanted to achieve,” Samuel freely expressed.


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