Samuel L. Jackson became a fan favorite among Star Wars fans with his performance as Mace Windu in the prequel trilogy. Here are five things you might not know about him.
When the prequel trilogy came out, Star Wars fans were introduced to several new Jedi characters they’d never encountered before. The most formidable of these characters is arguably Jedi Master Mace Windu, performed by prolific and legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson. Jackson’s performance as Mace Windu made the character iconic, and fans still await the day we find out Windu didn’t actually die after being thrown from the window at the midpoint of Revenge of the Sith. Here are five rarely known facts about the actor who made Mace Windu one of the most beloved Star Wars characters.
1. He used swearing to overcome his stutter
Few people know that Samuel L. Jackson suffered from a terrible stutter growing up. In fact, he’s said that it was so bad that he practically stopped speaking entirely for about a year while he was in school. It’s hard to believe, considering he’s one of the most prolific actors in Hollywood, and we never hear even the slightest stutter from him. But Jackson found an unorthodox solution to his stutter. He revealed a few years ago that curse words were his saving grace. Something about the word “motherf*cker” in particular seems to hold back the stutter. It’s an unusual cure, for sure, but who can argue if it works for him?
2. He asked for a purple lightsaber
Before the Star Wars prequel trilogy, it was pretty common knowledge that lightsabers were either blue, green, or red. But, as we all know, Jackson’s prequel trilogy character, Master Jedi Mace Windu, carries a purple lightsaber, departing from the traditional lightsaber colors. Why? Because he asked for it. In the big arena scene on Geonosis in Attack of the Clones, Jackson wanted to be able to quickly find himself in the scene with all these other Jedi, so he asked George Lucas for a purple lightsaber. Though Lucas was hesitant at first, he finally agreed, and Windu’s purple lightsaber became one of his most defining characteristics.
3. He’s an avid golfer
Jackson loves the game of golf so much that his film contracts include a clause that he has to be allowed to play golf during film shoots. When he’s not filming, he’s been known to play golf every day. Jackson has said that he enjoys the game particularly because it’s unique among sports in that you, as a single-player, are responsible for every mistake you make. There’s no one else to blame. And he enjoys the visual aesthetic of golf courses as well.
4. He was almost a marine biologist
Jackson attended Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia, beginning in the late 1960s. Morehouse is known as the alma mater of civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr., who was an inspiration to Jackson. Originally studying marine biology, Jackson soon became interested in acting and eventually changed his major to drama. Though his rise to acting stardom would take several years, his life would surely have been much different had he continued on the path to becoming a marine biologist.
5. He was an usher at MLK’s funeral
When Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated in April 1968, Jackson was a sophomore at Morehouse College, King’s alma mater. In 2018, Jackson described how he became an usher for the civil rights leader’s funeral. “They needed volunteers to help people find their way around campus, and I became an usher,” Jackson told The Hollywood Reporter. Elaborating on the surreal experience, he said: “I remember Mahalia Jackson singing. I’d been listening to her all my life, so it was great to hear her sing “Precious Lord, Take My Hand” live. I remember seeing people like Harry Belafonte and Sidney Poitier. People that I thought I’d never see, let alone have a relationship with later on in life.” Following the funeral, Jackson continued the fight for equal rights.
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