Nigeria’s Nollywood industry is gifted with many veteran actors. Here are the top 20 Nollywood actors of all time. Let me know your favourite!
1) Olu Jacobs
Oludotun Jacobs (born 1942), popularly known as Olu Jacobs, is a Nigerian actor who has made massive impact in Nollywood. He has starred in several British television series and international films. In 2007 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, England. Jacobs has starred in over 120 Nollywood films.
2) Sam loco Efe
Sam Loco Efe was one of the most talented actors of contemporary Nigerian theatre. He had for many years distinguished himself as a rare talent for both Television (TV) and stage drama. Born in Enugu, he spent his childhood in Abakaliki and and a modest attempt at becoming an actor was what triggered his passion for the stage. His popularity started in Benin in 1968 where he formed the Overamwem National Theatre Group (ONTG). In Hotel De Jordan Sam Loco Efe played one of the lead characters called Picado Suberu. In fact Many of the rising stars in Nollywood still attribute their inspiration to the Late veteran actor who passed on at the age of 66. Sam Loco Efe featured in many Nollywood movies.
3) Pete Edochie
Pete Edoche (born 7 March 1947) is considered one of Africa’s most talented actors and has won many awards. He came into prominence in the 1980s when he played the lead role of Okonkwo in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s all time best selling novel, Things Fall Apart. Edochie descends from the Igbo people in Nigeria. The BBC once flew into Nigeria to interview him for his role in Things Fall Apart for which he won an International Award. Pete Edoche has starred in over 100 Nollywood movies
4) Alex Osifo
Omiagbo Alex Usifo is a veteran actor and movie producer who has starred in many Nollywood movies. In 2012 Achievers International University and Seminary, Spain in conjunction with Action Word Educational Services, Lagos, honoured the veteran actor and movie producer with a doctorate degree in recognition of his excellence in artistic performance in the entertainment industry. Usifo, who hails from Edo State, holds Msc in Social Work from Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso and is currently a doctorate student of Information Resources Management, Babcock University, Ilishan-Remo, Ogun State.
His journey into the world of theatre and screen started in the early ’70s when he was appointed as operations assistant at NTA Benin (camera/audio manager). He has since risen to one of the brightest ‘A’ List actors on the continent of Africa. He has featured in well over 100 films amongst Silent night, Who will Tell the President?, Civil Army, Dangerous Sisters, Cross & Tinapa, End of the Wicked, Endtime, Executive Decision, The Last Option, Extra Time, Final Point 2, Armageddon King, Gods of Liberation, Dogs Meeting and so many blockbuster movie.
4) Sola Fosudo
Sola Fosudo is respected actor in the Nollywood circles. He is veteran and prominent actor who needs no introduction. He starred in ”True Confession’ with veteran actress Liz Benson.
He is the founder of Bread Fruit Foundation (BFF), a non-profit organization created to plaster smiles on the faces of widows, widow’s children, orphans and other vulnerable children in the society, which was launched in 2008. Trained as a teacher at the Teacher�s College and has since been advocating as a lecturer in Lagos State University, LASU with a PhD certificate.
He has numerous Nollywood films to his credit.
5) Richard Mofe Damijo
Richard Mofe Damijo (popularly known as RMD, born July 6, 1961) is an outstanding actor . He won the African Movie Academy Award in 2005 for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Mofe-Damijo took part in a television soap opera in the late 80′s called Ripples. Before then, he had a stint with Concord Newspapers and Metro Magazine as a reporter. Out of Bounds was the first film for which he received a writer/producer credit. Mofe-Damijo was married to the late May Ellen Ezekiel, a foremost Nigerian journalist popularly known as MEE. After MEE’s death in 1996, Mofe-Damijo married again. He has four children and has appeared in numerous Nigerian movies
6) Nkem Owoh
Nkem Owoh is a Nigerian actor and comedian. In 2008 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Owoh studied engineering and was born in Enugu, Nigeria. He starred in the 2003 film Osuofia in London and he is also known for performing the song “I Go Chop Your Dollar” about advance fee fraud. The song was featured in the film The Master in which Nkem Owoh plays a scammer.
Nkem Owoh has starred in many Nollywood videos.
7) Zack Orji
Zachee Ama Orji, popularly called Zack Orji, is a superlative Nigerian actor ,director ,producer and filmmaker. Zack was born in Libreville, Gabon, in the 1960s and has featured in numerous Nollywood movies.
Orji is a graduate of University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Having grown up in Cameroon, Benin and Togo he speaks both English and French fluently.His first movie was in 1991, and was entitled Unforgiven Sin. Since then, Orji has starred in different movies and is now a Nollywood legend.
He is married to Ngozi Orji has three children and lives in Nigeria.
8) Kanayo O. Kanayo
Anayo Modestus Onyekwere (popularly known as Kanayo O. Kanayo, born March 1, 1962 in Mbaise, Imo State, Nigeria)is a brilliant actor. In 2006 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. In 1992 he made his debut film appearance in Nollywood’s first major film Living in Bondage.Kanayo has starred in over 100 films.
9) Justus Esiri
Declared as one of the strong men of the African film industry, Justus Esiri has indeed earned his fame. He attended Urohobo College and later went to Germany to study engineering where he developed an interest for theater. Thus he began his acting career on stage in Germany. He was the only Nigerian male performing on stage in the years 1968/69. He also worked for voice of Nigeria VON, German Service as a translator. He was performing on stage in Germany when a delegation from Nigeria invited him to perform in Nigeria in a Government sponsored program, when he went to Nigeria, his homeland, he never went back to Europe.
His fame was launched widely for his role in the ever popular African TV series, the village headmaster where he played the “Headmaster”. The veteran actor passed on 19 February 2013. He was 71 years old.
10) Pete Eneh
Ace Actor Pete Eneh until his passing in 2012 was one of the Nollywood greats. He featured in hit Nollywood movies such as “Lonely Life”, “Divided Kingdom”, “Prince of Ignorance”, “Heavy Rain”, “Naomi ”, “Not Your Wealth”among other movies.
11) Enebeli Elebuwa
Born in 1946 Nollywood veteran, Enebeli Elebuwa hailed from Upkane, in the Otagunu Local Government Area of Delta State, Nigeria. A Nigerian prolific actor who has over one hundred and thirty movies to his credit. Until his passing on December 5, 2012 he was one of the most recognizable and respected faces in the ever growing Nigerian entertainment industry and on the African continent as a whole.He passed on at the age of 66.
He started acting in 1967 and the first soap opera he did is Mirror in the Sun. He also featured as a police officer in Village Headmaster which was the most popular soap opera back then. His first film which was a celluloid; Dinner with the Devil produced by Sanya Dosumu was in 1974. Joined the movie industry fully in 1994. He worked in the industry for over 30 years.
12) Chiwetalu Agu
Chiwetalu Agu (Born in 1956 ) is a veteran Nollywood actor,comedian and movie producer who won the 2012 Nollywood award for best actor in indigenous movie (non-english speaking language).His usage of specific language slang, phrases or clichés in each film has made him uniquely a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood admirers abroad. While asserting that comic genres is a unique vehicle in projecting Nigerian culture globally as well as establishing the Nollywood brand, Agu is listed as one of the outstanding comedians who have contributed to the development of Nollywood comic genres by Prof. Femi Shaka of the University of Port Harcourt. Agu is happily married to Nkechi and blessed with three sons and two daughters.
Agu has featured in over 150 Nollywood movies.
12) Mr. Livinus Nnochiri is a veteran Nollywood actor; he has many movies to his credit. He is from Ikeduru Local Government Area of Imo state. Started his career in the industry in the 80′s. He was a known face in After the Storm and Tales by Moonlight. While he acknowledged the joy and happiness acting has brought to him, the veteran actor will not forget in a hurry how his former employers at the old P&T and NIPOST forced him to retire from the ministry against his will, because he featured in NTA drama series. Livinus Nnochiri works with N.G. Lilies Concept as the Events coordinator. Having travelled far and wide, and also as an experienced actor in Nollywood Industry, he creatively combines his wisdom with N.G. Lilies Concept, and the best is achieved.
13) Sam Dede
Sam Dedetoku ( (meaning Glory of the Morning) is like the Al Pacino of Nollywood. He is a Nigerian movie producer and director and also teaches at the University of Port Harcourt. He has starred in over 30 movies and directed over 10. One thing the Sam Dede fans know about him is that any movie he features in becomes a hit. Blood Money and Issakabba are two Nollywood movies that made him a hero among his folks and fans of Nollywood.
Sam is from Okrika in Rivers State and is the last born of a family of eight. He grew up briefly in Sapele before relocating to Port Harcourt where he has lived all his life. His dad was a soldier, who fought in the civil war and was in the medical corps of the Nigerian Army before his death in 1972. Sam was a former lecturer at the University of Lagos. Now, he lectures in the Department of Theatre Arts in the University of Port Harcourt.
His first love is lecturing before he joined the Nollywood industry. Now, he is back to what he loves to do best which is lecturing.He is married with three children.
13) Kenneth Okonkwo
Kenneth Okonkwo is an outstanding nollywood Nigerian actor. He started acting in 1991, featuring in the movie “Living in Bondage”. He usually have a confident attitude when spotted in movies but this is usually misunderstood for arrogance. He also featured in the Television Soap Opera “Ripple” where he played the role of Captain John Mark. He is a graduate of Business Administration from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State,and also studied Theology at the Bible School. He is a native of Nsukka Local Government Area of Enugu State, born 6th of November. Kenneth holds a Masters in International Law and Diplomacy from the University of Lagos, Akoka. He has appeared in several nollywood movies.
14) Ramsey Noah
Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah Jr, (born 16 July 1973) is a Nigerian actor. In 2010 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. He was born in Edo, Nigeria to an Israeli father and a Yoruba mother who hails from Owo, Ondo State. He grew up in Surulere, Lagos and attended Atara Primary School and Community Grammar School in Lagos before heading unto the University of Lagos where he graduated with a degree in mass communication. He is one of the most sought-after actors in Nigeria and has started in many movies.
15) Segun Arinze
Nollywood actor and former president of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Segun Arinze, is definitely one of the Nollywood greats. The actor who is often identified for playing bad guy roles speaks several Nigerian languages fluently. Born in Onitsha, Anambra state, his early education was at Victory College of Commerce in Illorin and Taba Commercial College, Kaduna. Arinze received his dramatic training at Obafemi Awolowo University in Ile Ife, Nigeria. Segun’s screen credits include “The Silent Night”, “Church in Crisis”, “Darkest Night”, “Battle of Love”. “Atlanta” and the popular TV soap operas Mega Fortune and Ripples. Segun also hosts the popular AIT talk show “No Holds Barred”
16) Ejike Asiegbu
Ejike Asiegbu is a Theatre Arts graduate from the University of Port-Harcourt. He hails from Umuahia North LGA of Abia State, from a family of six; two boys and four girls.
Being one of the pioneer practitioners in the Nigeria film industry, Ejike Asiegbu who had long loved acting like it was a vein in his flesh running its own blood supply, was among the cast of Child of Circumstance shown then on Anambra Television Authority. He was also a member of Basi and Company, where he played the role of Basis father and in other soaps such as, New Masquerade, Beyond the Realm and so on. He has since featured in several Nollywood movies, mostly seen playing the role of a village elder and father.
16) Tony Umez
Tony Umez studied English, as well as International Law and Diplomacy, as first and second degrees respectively.He is a vertan actor who has carve a niche for himself. He made a debut into Nollywood, in 1994, with the blockbuster movie, Died Wretched: Buried in N2.3m Casket. He had featured in over 200 movies, in the English, Yoruba and Calabar genre, such as Blood of the Orphan, Fire on the Mountain, Out of Fire, Millionaires Club, No Rival: Ko si Orogun, Oyato, Tin ba Taiye Wa, Billionaires club, Ikaiko Restaurant, among many others.
Bob Manuel Udokwu
17) Desmond Eliot
Desmond Elliot is a movie producer and actor who was was influenced by a friend to join the industry. He started playing roles in soap operas like Everyday People, One Too Much and Saints and Sinners. He is one of Nollywood’s leading actors, having appeared in over two hundred films including Men Who Cheat, Yahoo Millionaire and Atlanta. In 2008 Elliot co-produced and co-directed the movie “Reloaded” which received 3 nominations at the African Movie Academy Awards in 2009.In 2009 and 2010, Elliot was nominated for the Best Actor category at the Nigeria Entertainment Awards.Also in 2010, Elliot has been competing to become the ambassador for the Face of Hope Project, a “volunteer-based non-profit, non-religious, non-political organization established to give hope to the hopeless”, in which he will work toward fixing “child illiteracy in Nigeria and Africa at large” if he is the victor
18) Jim Iyke
James Ikechukwu, commonly known Jim Iyke, is the bad boy of Nigerian Movies. He was was born in Gabon Libreville and hails from Anambra sate, Enugu Agidi Village.
Jim Iyke started his acting career in the year 2001 and has featured in over 200 Nollywood Movies. In the year 2008 he was crowned the Sexiest Man in Nigeria and won the Best Actor at the Nigerian Entertainment award. He has a reality TV Show called “Jewel for Jim” and also runs a Welfare Organization involved in advancing the protection and rights of children with Physical disabilities and deformities.
19) Emeka Ike
Emeka Ikeh is a Lagosian by birth and had all his education in Lagos, attending Ejigbo Community High School and further studied Mechanical Engineering at the Yaba College of Technology, Yaba, Lagos.
He started acting in 1994, and starred in a first movie titled Deadly Affair. He is married with two sons and have starred in several Nollywood movies.
20) Chinedu Ikedieze
Chinedu Ikedieze, MFR (born 12 December 1977 in Bendel, Abia State, Nigeria) is brilliant actor. He is best known for playing alongside Osita Iheme in most movies after their breakthrough in the movie Aki na Ukwa.In 2007 Ikedieze received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the African Movie Academy Awards.
20) Osita Iheme
Osita Iheme (born 1982) is is widely known for playing the role of ‘Pawpaw’ in the film Aki na Ukwa alongside Chinedu Ikedieze. In 2007 Osita received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the African Movie Academy Awards. He is considered to be one of Nigeria’s most famous actors.
source: nigeria music box