There’s a 2012 article in the New York Times which tries to explain How Samuel L Jackson Became His Own Genre:
“Jules was the moral center of Pulp Fiction because he carried himself like a professional. Before Jules, my characters were just ‘The Negro’ who died on Page 30.” Look at his early credits in IMDB, he’s not wrong.
“After Jules, I became the coolest [expletive] on the planet. Why? I have no clue. I’m not like Jules. It’s called being an actor.” However, it was Spike Lee’s movie Jungle Fever that broke him, “well before Pulp Fiction made him a household name. His role as a crackhead son of a minister came literally weeks after his own rehab, and changed everything.”
Maybe, as some speculate, it’s his bald head and youthful demeanor that allows him a chameleon-like quality. Regardless, he’s now EVERYWHERE. In credit card commercials on TV. As Nick Fury, agent of SHIELD, in a slew of movies in the Marvel Universe. He’s in two other franchises, Star Wars, and the animated Incredibles; he’s also appeared in a number of Quentin Tarantino’s other films.
From the Wikipedia: Samuel Leroy Jackson “grew up as an only child in Chattanooga, Tennessee. His father lived away from the family in Kansas City, Missouri, and later died from alcoholism. Jackson was raised by his mother, who was a factory worker… and by his maternal grandparents and extended family.
“Between the third and 12th grades, he played the French horn and trumpet in the school orchestra. Jackson also played the flute and piccolo.
“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.
“In 1969, Jackson and several other students held members of the Morehouse College board of trustees hostage on the campus, demanding reform in the school’s curriculum and governance. The college eventually agreed to change its policy, but Jackson was charged with and eventually convicted of unlawful confinement, a second-degree felony.
“Jackson was then suspended for two years for his criminal record and his actions. He would later return to the college to earn his Bachelor of Arts in Drama in 1972.” To make ends meet, he sold hot dogs, burgers and fries at Atlanta Falcons’ football games.
“In 1980, Jackson married actress and sports channel producer LaTanya Richardson, whom he met while attending Morehouse College. The couple has a daughter, Zoe (born 1982).”
Samuel L Jackson has been such a diverse array of films that, according to Rotten Tomatoes, he’s been in movies lauded by all the critics – Unforgivable Blackness: The Rise and Fall of Jack Johnson (2004) and by none of them – Kite (2014).
Jackson “has achieved critical and commercial acclaim, surpassing Frank Welker as the actor with the highest-grossing film total of all time in October 2011.” Also, “he enjoys collecting the action figures of the characters he portrays in his films, including Jules Winnfield, Shaft, Mace Windu, and Frozone.”