Highest-grossing actor ever? Samuel L. Jackson
October 27th, 2011
05:04 PM ET

Highest-grossing actor ever? Samuel L. Jackson

Samuel L. Jackson’s many films have brought in more money than any other actor's, ever.

It may be somewhat surprising, but according to the Guinness Book of World Records, Jackson’s films have raked in $7.57 billion through 2010, according to a spokesperson for Guinness. His record's been in the book since 2007.

Since his 1991 debut in Spike Lee’s “Jungle Fever,” the busy actor has made more than 100 movies, many of them blockbusters.

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Samuel L. Jackson to play MLK on Broadway
April 15th, 2011
02:38 PM ET

Samuel L. Jackson to play MLK on Broadway

He's played many memorable characters on screen, but now Samuel L. Jackson will portray a legend on stage. The actor is set to make his Broadway debut portraying Martin Luther King, reports Deadline.

Jackson will star in the upcoming drama "The Mountaintop," which takes place on April 3, 1968—the night before the civil rights leader was assassinated. The story will follow Dr. King as he retires to Room 306 in Memphis' Lorraine Motel following the legendary "I've Been to the Mountaintop" speech.

When a mysterious woman delivers his room-service, he is forced to confront his past and his legacy.

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August 14th, 2009
01:00 PM ET

Samuel L. Jackson goes "Ezekiel"

Samuel L. Jackson had a problem on the red carpet Thursday at a cancer fundraiser in Beverly Hills. No, not with any members of the press. Instead, the "Snakes on a Plane" star was a little perturbed with what we'll call his red carpet handler.

jackson

First, a little background for those unfamiliar with arrival line etiquette. Often times at red carpet events, stars are accompanied by someone with public relations credentials who escorts them down the line from interview to interview. For members of the press, these PR humming birds are, at times, a nuisance.

They often ask us to "limit the interviews to two questions, please" or whisk their talent away saying, "gotta go, sorry guys." Some less-experienced handlers can be found standing right in front of their assigned mega-stars when our photographers are trying to shoot some much-needed and ever-so-valuable video. There are events when a star will have their personal publicist with them – and this publicist more often than not has a close relationship with their client.

At this event, however, Mr. Jackson's personal publicist was nowhere to be seen on the carpet, and it was more like seeing Mr. Jackson with Patrick Wilson in "Lakeview Terrace" instead of John Travolta in "Pulp Fiction."

After the first interview, the handler in question apparently got a little too close for comfort to Samuel L... causing the actor to channel the on-screen persona that's made him the subject of hundreds of homemade YouTube videos.

"You're about to make me say M***** F*****," Jackson said to the humbled handler. "I mean for real."

It's important to note here that Mr. Jackson wasn't screaming at the top of his lungs, like in the famous courtroom scene in "A Time To Kill" or the fast food stick-up scenario in "Coming to America." He even had a sly grin on his face... but with that commanding voice, there was no mistaking his meaning. During Jackson's interview with CNN, the handler kept his distance.

About five or six interviews later, that thundering voice returned. "MAN, WHO ARE YOU?!?!?"

Any movie fan can recognize that voice and its meaning.

But you have to tip your hat to the handler in question... the guy kept his cool and managed to save some face despite laughter from members of the press.

Whether or not Jackson was completely serious during this handler heckling remains to be seen... but anyone who's seen "Snakes on a Plane" should know when "ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!"

July 16th, 2009
01:52 PM ET

ESPY Awards: The thrill of victory, the agony of the teleprompter

The ESPY awards… the annual event where Hollywood celebrities and sports figures collide, and big names like Ben Roethlisberger and Michael Phelps trade in their uniforms (or in Michael's case, Speedos) for suits, sunglasses and lots of bling for a walk down the red carpet.

ESPY

The ESPY awards is the annual event where Hollywood celebrities and sports figures collide. More photos »

There were those familiar with the glitzy setting: Terrell Owens has never met a camera he didn't like; Serena Williams and Danica Patrick know how to strike a pose; and Lakers star Kobe Bryant is no stranger to the Hollywood spotlight. 

But then there are those who genuinely seemed bewildered by the whole scene, as if out of their element, but in an endearing way.

Matthew Stafford, this year's number one overall NFL draft pick, was attending his first ESPY awards.  The 21-year-old quarterback admitted that despite playing in front of thousands at the University of Georgia, the setting outside the Nokia Theater in downtown Los Angeles Wednesday was not something he’s used to. 
photo Check out photos from the red carpet »

Dallas Cowboys head coach Wade Phillips had a “you really want to talk to me???” look on his face when I wrangled him for an interview.  But to his credit, he successfully skirted media questions about his star quarterback Tony Romo’s personal life… well played, coach, well played.

And then there was the taping of show itself.  The production was a little shaky at the beginning.  Host Samuel L. Jackson had to improvise when the teleprompter stopped working not once, but twice.  But Samuel L. kept his cool and took a few stabs at audience members during his opening monologue where no one was off limits.  Just ask Phelps (remember the photo of him apparently using drug paraphernalia?), whom Jackson said is glad to be back in the pool where nobody can give him a hard time “when you smoke the competition.”

And by the way, Phelps DID smoke the competition at the ESPYS: the Olympic swimmer won five trophies.  However, that’s three less than the total of gold medals he won in Beijing last summer, so overall a disappointing night… but you wouldn’t know it by watching his mother Debbie, who’s perfected the “so proud” facial expression.

Despite a few production delays and prompter hiccups, the show taping was completed in less than three hours.  That's one thing Hollywood award ceremonies, which tend to drag on for hours, can learn from the ESPYs – shorter acceptance speeches.  We’re all familiar with long, dramatic monologues from a sometimes frantic actor or actress after a big win as they thank countless  people you’ve never heard of.  Often times, even the theme music that’s played as a sign to wrap it up isn’t enough to get them off the stage.

But there was no need for a maestro at the ESPYs.  Take Atlanta Falcon’s quarterback Matt Ryan’s speech after winning the best breakthrough performance award:

"All right, wow.  Well, thank you to the fans for uh, for voting for this, um, congratulations to the other contestants also, Derek (Rose), Evan (Longoria), and Shawn (Johnson), you guys are all deserving of it.  Uh, thanks to my teammates, without you none of this is possible, um and thanks to my family for their support through everything so, thank you and have a fun night and hopefully we can do it again next year, thank you."

Dignified, simple, non-controversial and most importantly, less than thirty seconds.  With the Emmy Awards approaching, a few in TV land might want to take notes.

The ESPY Awards air this Sunday on ESPN.

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