He was an usher at MLK’s funeral
Jackson wasn’t thinking about activism until he got news of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in 1968. When finding out that the equal rights movement was paying the expenses of supporters to pay their respects to the late Dr. King in Memphis, Jackson hopped on the next plane immediately and volunteered to control the foot traffic near the chapel during the funeral. This experience led Jackson to play in The Mountaintop, a New York Broadway production about Dr. King’s life.
He was a stand-in for Bill Cosby
Samuel L. Jackson filling in for Bill Cosby for three seasons in the 1980s for The Cosby Show. The gig helped Jackson learn how to perform in a three-camera production. Even though Jackson doesn’t recall much of any interaction with Cosby, he definitely remembers all the insane number of sweaters he had to wear.
He almost didn’t get that breakthrough role
Jules Winnfield will always be remembered, especially when taking a few bites from a juicy Big Kahuna burger before shooting three thugs, all while quoting Ezekiel bible phrases in the process. Quentin Tarantino mentioned that he originally wrote the part for Jackson, but the audition didn’t really turn out all that well and Tarantino was looking elsewhere. After Jackson heard about the bad news he requested for another audition, nailed it, got the part, and the rest is history.
His lawsuit threat led to playing Nick Fury
Nick Fury debuted in 1963 as an eyepatch-wearing cigar-chomping infantryman who formed S.H.I.E.L.D., an elite team of soldiers. It was only till 2000 when Marvel was determined to revive the character that artists were forming the new image to the likeliness of Samuel L. Jackson. This led Jackson to threaten to sue given that the artists didn’t get his permission and Marvel eventually backed down and asked Jackson to play the role of Fury when the opportunity arose.
He’s also a citizen of Gabon
Even though Jackson was born in the states, a reality show prompted him to get back to his roots and discover his origin. He tracked his lineage back to the Benga tribe in Gabon. Completely shocked by the discovery, Jackson flew to Gabon to visit sites and meet when Ali Bongo, the president. Right there on the spot, Bongo handed him a Gabonese passport and citizenship.