Samuel L. Jackson

Born Dec. 21, 1948, in Washington, D.C., Samuel L. Jackson was brought up in Chattanooga, Tenn. He developed an interest in acting while attending Morehouse College and later co-founded Atlanta's black-oriented Just Us Theater.

After a long string of character parts, Jackson got his big break -- and a Best Supporting Actor win at Cannes -- portraying a drug addict in the critically acclaimed drama Jungle Fever (1991). Catapulted to stardom by his fearsome onscreen intensity and commanding presence, Jackson became a Hollywood A-lister and began to segue from supporting player to top billing.

In addition to his Oscar-nominated turn in 1994's Pulp Fiction, Jackson's other notable films include The Long Kiss Goodnight (1996), The Negotiator (1998), the title role in the 2000 remake of Shaft and the Stars Wars prequel trilogy. Jackson scored an Independent Spirit Award nod in 2010 for his supporting work in Mother and Child.