SAMUEL L. JACKSON: THE MOST ICONIC VOICE IN HOLLYWOOD?
MICHELE J MARTIN
Samuel L. Jackson has appeared in over 120 films, many of which are such blockbusters or cult classics that it would be unlikely for you to meet someone today who does not know this man's face or voice. However, this could have gone a different way, as he wasn't originally sold on an acting career.
Jackson initially majored in marine biology at Morehouse College before switching to architecture. He later settled on drama, thankfully for us. He has appeared on stage, television, and the big screen.
When he first began acting in the 1970s, Morgan Freeman was a mentor to him. In the 80s, he would begin working with Spike Lee, appearing in a number of his films. Early on in the 90s, it became apparent that he had some dangerous issues with addiction. His family entered him into rehab in NY. Once getting sober, his career took off. By the mid-1990s, he was a box office star.
Can you imagine the following films without Samuel L. Jackson? Pulp Fiction, Die Hard with a Vengeance, Jackson Brown, Star Wars: Episode 1 The Phantom Menace, Shaft, Unbreakable, Coach Carter, Snakes on a Plane, Iron Man, and more.
His films have grossed over $27B, making him the world's highest-grossing actor, and winning him a Guinness World Record in 2015.
In 2004 Jackson added voice acting to his resume with the animated film The Incredibles and video game Grand Theft Auto. Jackson's performance of Frozone in The Incredibles earned him an Annie Award nomination for Best Voice Acting.
In 2006 Samuel was asked to provide God's voice in the audiobook, The Bible Experience, because the producers felt his voice was a perfect match. On the other end of the spectrum from that project, he also recorded the audiobook version of Adam Mansbach's best-selling children's book for adults, "Go the F* to Sleep."
Samuel L. Jackson and his wife LaTanya Richardson started their own charity In 2009 to help support education. IN 2013 he launched a campaign with Prizeo to raise money to fight Alzheimer's disease. He launched a campaign called "One for the Boys," which teaches men about testicular cancer and urges them to "get themselves checked out."
As part of California's Your Actions Save Lives campaign Jackson encouraged people to wear masks to reduce transmission of Covid-19. To further help with the pandemic, he and Dwayne Johnson encouraged coronavirus patients to donate blood plasma to help others fighting the virus.
"Take a stand for what's right. Raise a ruckus and make a change. You may not always be popular, but you'll be part of something larger and bigger and greater than yourself. Besides, making history is extremely cool."
Over his career Samuel L. Jackson has received over 88 nominations and won 42 of them. His first award was a BAFTA for Supporting Actor for Pulp Fiction. For a full list of his awards, check out his IMDB.
Hollywood Walk of Fame Star - 2013 Imprint Ceremony - Grauman's Chinese Theatre 2006 Man of the Year - Hasty Pudding Theatricals 1999 Career Achievement - Palm Springs International Film Festival 2005 Achievement in Acting - Hawaii International Film Festival 2005 Highest Grossing Actor of All Time - Guinness World Record 2015 Global Contribution to Motion Picture - National Film Awards, UK 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award - BET Awards 2016 Cinema Icon Award - CinemaCon 2018
Unmistakable and unforgettable, Samuel L. Jackson's vocal style is a roller coaster of expression. Outside of his acting, his regular speaking voice is joyful. When telling a story, he sounds like a kid having the best day of his life; it is intoxicating to listen to. One of the reasons he's such a great storyteller and actor. In his acting work, he can use his voice's full range, like a musical instrument, to show each character's nuances and draw us all in. It is no wonder that he is one of the most iconic voices in acting today.
If we could choose to have a voice narrate our life, similar to Stranger Than Fiction, it might be Samuel L. Jackson. Apologies to Emma Thompson, she is delightful, but it IS Samuel L. Jackson.
We spend a lot of time thinking about voice. About what voice communicates outside of the words they say, about the importance of vocal representation in healthcare, media, and technology. Whether it be human voice or digital, the voices we interact with should sound like the voices surrounding us. Today, organizations are thinking more about the power of voice in their communications and content. We help those organizations imagine the possibilities of a world in which digital voice matched the world of human voice.
Motorcycle voices are defined as Loud, Deep, Modal, and Oral. Learn more about the unique characteristics that make up our voices and voice types here: VOCALiD Voice Types.
This is the twenty eighth and final in our Iconic Black Voices series. Make sure to check out our blog to read more about all of our featured Iconic Black Voices from this month's Black History Month celebration.