Samuel L. Jackson, the man whom presenter Spike Lee called “one of the greatest actors on this God’s planet” and “the hardest-working man in showbusiness,” won the Lifetime Achievement Award at the BET Awards yesterday.
The A-lister did not take all of the credit for himself — he was swift to thank his family and friends who have supported him throughout his career, and didn’t forget his roots, saying, “First I want to thank God for giving me this opportunity even in the beginning. A young man who grew up in a segregated Tennessee, nobody told me I could be this.”
Despite his fame, the 67-year-old actor was nervous accepting his award on stage in front of the crowd at the Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles. “It’s sort of exciting, I never get nervous, and I can hear my voice shaking and it’s strange to hear myself sound that way. But it’s been a great ride getting here, as there are a couple of people very instrumental in that.”
Samuel credited everyone from his lawyer and publicist, to his Spelman College drama professor and his Aunt Edna for his success. He showed his immense gratitude to his wife and daughter, stating, “The other two people that challenged me on a regular basis are my foundation and my support, my daughter Zoe and my wife LaTanya [Richardson]. The two women that actually found me passed out on the floor after I left someone’s bachelor party and put me in rehab the next day. And supported me and pushed me and give me a reason to get up and go and chase it day after day after day.”
He also didn’t forget the fans who adore him and help keep him in the spotlight, concluding his speech with, “Lastly, I want to thank everybody in here and in the world who has ever bought a ticket, a video, or a DVD with me in it.”
Along with his Lifetime Achievement Award, he has won over two 30 awards throughout his career. With Samuel in the lifetime honoree hall of fame are also Whitney Houston, Prince and Lionel Richie. ~Natalia Makarski