Actor Samuel L. Jackson was born in Washington, D.C., and grew up the only child of a single mother in Chattanooga, Tenn. His father (he met him only twice in his life) died of alcoholism. Later Jackson would have his own near-death experiences with addiction.
Jackson began his acting career on stage and during this time developed alcoholism and cocaine addictions, preventing him from moving on to Broadway with two of these productions. He found his way into film in the 1980s, and was introduced to Spike Lee who cast him in "School Daze" (1988) and "Do the Right Thing" (1989). He also held a key role in Quentin Tarantino's "Pulp Fiction."
All the while, Jackson's drug addictions worsened. He overdosed on heroin and used increasing amounts of cocaine. Observing his descent into addiction, his family took action and entered Jackson into rehab.
"I guess the worst day I have had was when I had to stand up in rehab in front of my wife and daughter and say, 'Hi, my name is Sam and I am an addict,'" he has said.
After successfully completing the program, his played a crack addict in "Jungle Fever," calling the role cathartic. Treatment took, and Jackson has been sober since.
"I never had one beer," he said. "If I bought a six-pack of beer, I kept drinking 'til all six beers were gone. You have to have that kind of understanding about yourself. I haven't had a drink now in years."
Among his most recent credits was his role in Quentin Tarantino's 2012 film, "Django Unchained."