2019 City People Movie Awards will hold in a few weeks’ time. And part of the highlights is the celebration of very many veteran movie stars. Many of these veterans have become role models and mentors to lots of younger stars in the industry. Immediately one mentions veterans in the industry, it is the names such as Richard Mofe Damijo, Patience Ozorkwo, Ngozi Ezemu, Sola Sobowale, Joke Silver, Racheal Oniga, Nobert Young, Lola Idije, Kanayo O. Kanayo, Eucharia Anunobi, Zack Orji, Nobert Young, Segun Arinze, Sam Dede, Ngozi Orji, Bob Manuel Udokwu, Mr. Ibu, Emeka Ike and a host of others would come to mind. But these highly celebrated stars came into the industry in the 90’s, so there are some others stars, who came earlier than them, in the 80’s and 70’s and are still waxing stronger in the industry, perfectly interpreting roles and laying good examples for others to follow.
City People’s Senior Showbiz Reporter, BIODUN ALAO, brings you names of Nollywood stars, who have been acting from the 80’s and are still very relevant in the movie industry today.
Peter Edochie is one of Nigeria’s most successful actors. He is seen as one of Africa’s most talented stars with several awards home and abroad in his kitty. He came to limelight in 1980, when he played the lead role of Okonkwo in an NTA adaptation of China Achebe’s masterpiece novel, “Things Fall Apart”. He was born in 1947 in Enugu State, Nigeria. He had his primary and secondary education in Zaria, Kaduna State of Nigeria. After his formal education, he worked with the Nigerian Railway Corporation. He later went to further a course in Journalism and Television production in the school of Journalism and Television in England.
Adebayo Salami, popularly known as Oga Bello was born on 9th May, 1953 in Lagos State where he had both primary and secondary education. He began his acting career in 1964 with a group called young concert party, under the leadership of Ojo Ladipo, the group later metamorphosed into Awada Kerikeri Theatre Group, following the demise of Ojo Ladipo in 1978.
This multi-talented veteran has produced over 200 movie stars in the movie industry.
Prince Jide Kosoko was born in 1954 in Lagos to the Kosoko royal family of Lagos Island. He began his acting career as a child actor in 1964 in a television production Makanjuola. He features in both English and Yoruba movies. Yinka Quadri is also a renowned veteran actor, director, producer and motivational speaker. He was born in 1959 on Lagos Island. He started his acting career in 1976, when he dropped out of secondary school to follow his first love. Yinka Quadri and his friends formed a drama group called Afopina Theatre Group. He also started a TV series entitled: Agbodogorun, he has remained very relevant in the Yoruba industry.
Actor Taiwo Hassan popularly known as Ogogo was born in Ilaro Ogun State in 1959. He started acting in 1980, while he was still working at Water Corporation Lagos State. He started Odunfa caucus with Yinka Quadri, Abbey Lanre and Araosan. Legendary actor, Alhaji Kareem Adepoju a.k.a. Baba Wande is one of the prominent actors in the industry he is highly respected for perfectly interpreting roles, a popular movie “Ti Oluwa Nile” shot him to limelight. He began his professional acting career in 1983 with the Duro Ladipo Theatre Group. A year later, he moved on and joined an equally popular group, the Oyin Adejobi Theatre Group, where he trained under the guidance of one of the Nigeria’s foremost dramatist and acclaimed theatre doyen, the late Chief Oyin Adejobi.
Lere Paimo popularly called Eda Onileola is one of the highly respected veterans in the movie industry, whose works have stood the test of time. He has spent over 5 decades in the industry and still very active. He was born in November, 1939 and has featured in a lots of movies and series as well. Sunday Omobolanle is also one veteran actor, who has remained active in the industry for over 4 decades. He is popularly known as Papi Luwe, born in October 1954 at Ilora, Oyo State. He got his name from his late boss, Baba Mero. He is also married to a veteran actress, Peju Ogunmola. Idowu Philips popularly known as Iya Rainbow was born in 16 October, 1942 at Ijebu-Ode in Ogun State. She worked as a certified Nurse in General Hospitals in Nigeria for many years and occasionally got involved in acting, because she acted in theatre plays. She officially joined Nollywood after the death of her husband and became the founder of Osumare Theatre Group. She later retired from Nursing and joined acting fully on the advice of the late Yoruba movie icon, Hubert Ogunde. Since then, she has become one of the pillars of the Yoruba movie industry. Lanre Hassan, popularly known as Iya Awero was born in 1950. She is popular for movies such as unfinished business, Ogidan, Ogbologo. She joined the young stars concert party (drama group) at age 14 with the likes of Ojo Ladipo and Adebayo Salami. The group later became Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group. She also attended the Lagos School of Dramatic Arts in 1970. Later she was given a direct entry to the centre for cultural studies at the University of Lagos to go and study Theatre Arts (Diploma).
She has featured in both English and Yoruba movies.
Chika Okpala popularly known as Chief Zebrudaya is a famous Nigeria comic actor and television personality. He was born on 10th June, 1950 in Onitsha, Anambra State. This multi-talented actor perfectly interpretes roles Chika Okpala acted in the television comedy series in the 80’s “New Masquerade where he played the role of Chief Zebrudaya and this shot him to limelight. He is currently described as one of the most influential and successful comic actor in the industry.
Dejumo Lewis is popular for the role of Kabiyesi in the Village Headmaster, Nigeria’s longest running television soap opera on NTA from 1968 to 1988 that starred Justus Esiri. He was born in 1943. Barbara Soky is no doubt, one of Nollywood’s living legend. She was among the stars of 80’s popular for series such as “Mirror In The Sun”, she is still very active in the industry, featuring in 2019 blockbusters.
Liz Benson, popular actress-cum Evangelist. Liz was born in 1966 and she started acting at the age of 5. Her popularity sparked when she featured in Fortunes, a television soap opera in 1993. She is so loved by lots of fans, and she is no doubt, one of the First Ladies of Nollwood.
Akin Lewis is an actor, producer and TV personality, he began his acting career in 1973, the same year, he joined a drama group led by Professor Bode Sowande, Nigerian writer and dramatist. He came into limelight when he played the lead role in a movie entitled Madam Dearest, a 2005 Nigerian Film produced and directed by Tade Ogidan.
He was born in 1951. Tony Akposheri is one of the pioneers of Nollywood in the movie industry. He is one of the stars of New Masquerade and has spent over five decades, starting his career as a kid actor.
Ade Aderenle is another popular Yoruba veteran actor who has spent over 51 years in the movie industry. He started acting from a young age and through hardwork and dedication, has remained very active in the industry. He is also part of the Awada Kerikeri group led by Adebayo Salami Fausat Balogun, popularly known as Mmadam Saje was born on February 1959, in Kwara State. She stars majorly in Yoruba movies she made a name for herself when she starred as Madam Saje in 1990 television series entitled Erin Kee Kee.
Fausat has been into movie production since 1975 and has remained very relevant in the Yoruba movie industry. Also her husband, Rafiu Balogun, popularly known as Baba Balogun, has spent over five decades in the industry. His wife, Madam Saje, trained under him before joining the movie industry.
Binta Ayo Mogaji has been active in the entertainment industry, for over 4 decades, born in 1964, and her role in the movie entitled, “Igbalandogi” shot her to limelight. She is one of the few Nollywood veteran actresses who has good command of English.
Also Jibola Dabo, a famous actor, producer and television personality, was born on 12th August, 1942 in Lagos State, he often takes up roles of “Sugar Daddy” in movies.
Alex Osifo acting career kicked off in the 80’s when he played a major role in the tele-movie: “The Return Of Native” produced by Ray Yussuf for NTA productions entitled: “Echoes of Life” and “Turning Wheel” between 1984 and 1987, and people began to notice him. He also featured in “Ripples”, produced and directed by Zeb Ejiro.
He was already a celebrity before Nollywood was born in the 90’s.
Chiwetale Agu’s career in acting began long before the advent of Nollywood. He featured in NTA Channel 8 Enugu’s series known as Ikoro, the series was produced by Joe Onyekwelu. He also featured in Ripples.
He was one of those involved in the audition of the blockbuster movie of 1992, Living In Bondage, which was produced by Kenneth Nnebue. Also Ngozi Nwosu was born in 1963. She began her acting career in Yoruba language films before making her home video debut in Living In Bondage an Igbo language film considered to begin the video film era of cinema of Nigeria. Bolaji Amusa popularly known as Mr. Latin is one of the prominent actors in the movie industry. He is mostly known for his comic roles in Yoruba movies. He was born in 1966 and started his acting career in the 80’s.
Babatunde Omidina popularly known as Babasuwe was born in 1955. He started acting at the early age of 18, but professionally in 1972, while featuring in a soap opera entitled: “Erin Kee Kee”. He came to limelight after starring in the movie, “Omolasan” produced by Obalende. Clarion Chukwura was born in 1964, she studied Acting and Speech at the department of Dramatic Arts of Obafemi Awolowo University, she was the first Nigerian to win the Best Actress Category at the 1982 FESPACO Film Festival in Burkina Faso. She became a star at age 18 with her role in the movie, Money Power by Ola Balogun in 1982. She also featured in “Mirror In The Sun”, which made her a household name, and she still relevant till date. Tony Umez started acting right from his secondary school days, born in 1964. This talented actor knows how to interpretes roles perfectly. He still features in movies despite his long stay in the industry.
Kenneth Okonkwo is no doubt, one of the multi-talented movie veterans in the industry. He has spent over 4 decades in the industry. His role in the movie entitled: “Living In Bondage” in 1991, shot him to limelight, and up till now, he has remained at the top of his game, while lots of younger ones look up to him as their role model in the industry.
Modupe Johnson popularly known as Fali Werepe is one of the Yoruba female veterans who has been rocking the industry, from the 80’s and still very active. Her role in the Yoruba series entitled: “Bata Wahala” by Ajimajasan shot her to limelight. Let us not forget beautiful actress, Yetunde Wunmi, she was born in 1960 and has spent over 4 decades in the movie industry. She made her debut in the television Yoruba series, Feyikogbon, in the 80’s. She often takes up motherly roles in movies, especially the ones produced by Odunfa caucus.
Morenike Alausa popularly known as Iya Ereko is now 72 years old and still producers delight, and she is also a brand ambassador to lots of reputable companies such as 9mobile. This very friendly and extremely active woman has been in the industry for over 4 decades and still counting, at 72, she is not planning to stop acting anytime soon.
Nkem Owoh, this multi-talented actor started acting in the 80’s, and his role in the popular “Things Fall Apart” introduced him into the industry. His sense of humour and acting talent made him a famous actor and till date, he is rated one of the most expensive actors in the movie industry and still acts till date. Sunny Macdon is one of the pioneers of Nollywood. He was fully into acting from 1980 to 2000, then went into movie directing and producing. This list will never be complete, without mentioning such a name. He is regarded as one of the godfathers of Nollywood .
Jumole Eletekete is one of the female veterans in the Yoruba movie industry. She often takes up the role of witches in movies. She trained under Rafiu Balogun and has remained at the top of her game. Majekodunmi Abiodun popularly known as Baba Kekere in the Yoruba movie industry alongside his friends Yinka Quadri and Fatai Adekanbi formed a father theatre group, Isale Oro Theatre Group in 1977 before the birth of Odunfa caucus. He also made his late wife joined the group in 1979 before they got married in 1981, they were both still very active in the industry, until a few years ago when she died, but Baba Kekere is still an active member of Odunfa caucus featuring in movies regularly.
Toyin Adegbola, popularly known as Toyin Asewo To Re Mecca has been active in the movie industry from 1984 till date. She has remained one of the most sought-after veterans in the movie industry, interpreting roles so perfectly.
Odunkanmi Kudirat popularly known as Iyabo Oko joined acting career as a teenager in 1973. At that time, she was on the platform of Eda Onileola Theatre Troupe, after a while, she started featuring in Nollywood Yoruba movies when she joined Oga Bello’s Theatre Group in Lagos. She got her stage name from Oga Bello’s movie titled “Oko”. Also Charles Olumo popularly known as Agbako who clocked 94 years this year has spent over 5 decades in the movie industry, though he often acts the role of a thug in movies, but he has remained very active till date. Dele Odule was born in 1961 and he has been active in the entertainment industry since 1982.
He is a graduate of Theatre Arts from the University of Ibadan. He made his first television appearance in 1982 and has not looked back since then. He began in a drama group called Oloko Theatre Group under the mentorship of Mukaila Adebisi.
Kola Oyewo is one of the highly respected veteran in the industry, he was an actor before he became a lecturer. He started his acting career with the Oyin Adejobi Theatre Group in Osogbo, Osun State. He was there for 9 years, 1964 to 1973. He became famous after featuring in Tunde Kelani’s movie: “Kosegbe”, where he played Mako. Jumoke George hails from Ibadan part of Oyo State and also studied Business Administration at Technical College, Osogbo, Osun State.
She started acting at the age of 6, while participating in stage productions. She started professionally under the tutelage of Comrade Victor Ashaolu for 11 years.
Jumoke is still very active in the industry and often takes up motherly roles in movies. Taiwo Ajayi Lycett born in 1941, is still very active in the movie industry, despite spending over 5 decades, she was born in 1941, she started her stage career in 1971 at the Bublin Theatre Festival with her appearance in Conor Cruise O Brien’s Murderous Angels. She is now a regular face in “Tinsel” series.
Sola Fosudo started acting long before the development called Nollywood came. Before Nollywood, he had acted in several soaps and was part of the sound of Destiny in 1980. There were several other films he starred in like “Ripples”, “The Third Eye” and several others. He is now featuring in different soap operas and movies as well. Fred Amata is from a movie making family, his late father Pa. John Amata was the first African to shoot a celluloid film “Freedom In 1957” a famous playwright before his death in 1997. Fred’s brothers Zack, Jeta, Ruke are all equally film makers and are highly respected in the industry, Fred shot into limelight in 1986 for his role in a film entitled “Legacy” and ever since he and his brothers have remained relevant in the entertainment industry, and besides acting and producing, Fred Amata is now the President of Director’s Guild of Nigeria.