Jackson shot to mega-stardom with Pulp Fiction (1994, happy 20th birthday!), but Jungle Fever saved his career before it derailed. Jackson had put in a solid decade’s worth of work in small, scrappy roles (including, Mister Señor Love Daddy, the DJ in Spike Lee’s Do the Right Thing and Stacks in Goodfellas). But by his own admission, he was drunk and high for most of it. Eventually, Jackson would go to rehab. Two weeks after completing it, Lee had a plum part for him: playing an addict named Gator in his Right Thing follow-up, Jungle Fever.
Jackson was so achingly good in Fever that the Cannes Film Festival created a special Best Supporting Actor laurel for him that year (and it has not been given since). And the offers came flooding in. Jackson followed Fever with True Romance, Jurassic Park and Pulp Fiction (which was specifically written for Jackson). Over 130 appearances later and Jackson became the biggest box office grossing actor of all-time (and he’ll continue to distance himself from everyone else with all the upcoming Marvel films). By his own admission, being sober allowed him to probe deeper into Gator than he’d ever been able to get with a character before. And that’s the triple truth, Ruth.