26 Nollywood Legends You Probably Have Never Seen When They Were Young (Photos)

26 Nollywood Legends You Probably Have Never Seen When They Were Young (Photos)

Nollywood can be likened to be an endless fountain of talented movie stars. Some of these movie stars might be off the radar but we will never forget them. These stars brought joy to our screens and have cemented a place in our hearts forever.

Olu Jacob

Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs, (born 11 July 1942), known professionally as Olu Jacobs, is a Nigerian actor and film executive. He has starred in several British television series and international films. Olu Jacobs has been hailed by many as one of the greatest and most widely respected African actors of his generation. Together with Pete Edochie, he is considered by several media, film commentators, critics, and other actors to be one of the most influential African actors of all time, and is widely regarded as a cultural icon. He is seen as the bridge between the old Actors and the new ones.

Jacobs has made his mark in Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood. With more than 40 years acting experience, he is seen as a bridge between the old and new breed of actors. Trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, England, he worked with various repertoire theatres in Britain and starred in some international movies

Rita Edochie

Rita Edochie is Nigerian veteran actress who commenced her acting career long before the establishment of the now structured Nollywood. In 2016, she was decorated with the Ambassador For Peace Award by the Universal Peace Federation. Edochie was born in Anambra state, which is the south eastern part of Nigeria predominantly occupied by the Igbo people of Nigeria. Edochie has four children and is a grand-mother. She is the sister-in-law of Pete Edochie and aunt of both Yul Edochie and Muna Obiekwe.

Pete Edochie

Chief Pete Edochie, MON (born March 7, 1947) is a Nigerian actor. Edochie is considered one of Africa’s most talented actors, being honored with an Industry Merit Award by Africa Magic and Lifetime Achievement by Africa Film Academy Although a seasoned administrator and broadcaster, 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 of Nigeria and is a Catholic. In 2003, he was honored as a Member of the Order of the Niger by President Olusegun Obasanjo

Edochie got into radio broadcasting in 1967 at the age of 20 as a junior programmes assistant after which he was elevated to the level of a Director. He was director of programmes, but doubling sometimes as Deputy Managing Director and occasionally acting as Managing Director. He quit ABS because the government decided to politicise the affairs of their FM station, thereby resulting in the entire management being asked to move out, including him. He was to be the immediate successor to the MD but had to leave and enrol into the movie industry. Prior to that, he had featured in Things Fall Apart and had won an International Award. The BBC flew into Nigeria to interview him for his role in Things Fall Apart. He is credited with over 18 movies to his name.

Sola Sobowale

Sola Sobowale (born 26 December 1963) is a Nigerian film actress, screenwriter, director and producer. Sola Sobowale had her big break in 2001, in the premiere of Nigeria’s popular television drama series Super Story: Oh Father, Oh Daughter.

Before shooting into stardom, Sola Sobowale had roles in The Village Headmaster, Mirror in the Sun, and in the Yoruba film, Asewo To Re Mecca. Sola Sobowale joined acting through numerous roles in movies produced by Awada Kerikeri Group under the leadership of Adebayo Salami. Over the years, Sola Sobowale had scripted, co-scripted, directed and produced several Nigerian films. Sola scripted, produced and directed, Ohun Oko Somida, a 2010 Nigerian film that stars Adebayo Salami.  Sobowale featured in Dangerous Twins, a 2004 Nigerian drama film produced by Tade Ogidan, written and directed by Niji Akanni.  Sola Sobowale also featured in Family on Fire produced and directed by Tade Ogidan

Lilian Bach

Lilian Bola Bach is a Nigerian actress and model. Lilian was born in Lagos Island to a Yoruba mother and a Polish father. As a result of her father’s profession, she lived in various parts of the country during her formative years, attending Army Children’s school, Port Harcourt and Idi Araba Secondary School, Lagos. She briefly majored in Theatre Arts at the University of Lagos. She lost her dad at the age of 10.

Lilian came into the limelight in the 1990s as a model. She also competed in the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria pageant and featured in several television commercials, becoming the face of Delta medicated soap. She commenced her acting career in 1997, starring in several Nollywood movies of the Yoruba and English genres.

Nkiru Sylvanus

Nkiru Sylvanus (born April 21, 1985) is a Nigerian actress and politician. She has featured in over two hundred movies and won the awards for Best Actress of the Year at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards and Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. Sylvanus was born in Osisioma, Aba, a city located in Abia State, Nigeria. She attended Ohabiam Primary and Secondary School, where she obtained her first school leaving certificate and West African Senior School Certificate. She also attended the Enugu State University of Science and Technology, graduating with a BSc degree in mass communication.

Sylvanus began her acting career at the age of 17, in 1999. She has been featured in over 70 Nollywood movies.

Sandra Achums

Sandra Achums is a Nigerian television personality, philanthropist, and most imperative, a veteran actress. Sandra Achums was born in Imo state which is located in the south-eastern part of the West African nation; Nigeria. She had her primary, secondary and tertiary education all at Lagos state, she attended state college Isolo Lagos.

Achums in 1995 made her entrance into the Nigerian movie industry with a movie titled Deadly Affair, where she featured alongside other nollywood veteran actors; Dolly Unachukwu, Jide Kosoko, and Emeka Ike. This movie would eventually become a classic and become her stepping stone into the limelight.

 

Benita Nzeribe

Benita Nzeribe is a famous Nollywood actress, model, television personality, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. She was born on 11th August 1980 in Ihiala, Anambra State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. She is currently 37 years old. She is very beautiful, Skillful, gifted, creative and talented in acting and interpretation of movie roles.

She became a Nollywood celebrity at the age of 18 years old. She knows how to act very well and can fit in any character given to her by movie directors.

Rita Nzelu

Rita Nzelu is a Nigerian actress, model, TV personality and philanthropist who was born in Enugu state, Nigeria. She began acting sometime in 1990 and was a very popular actress, as she featured in many popular movies with other popular actors like Osita Iheme, Nkem Owoh, Gloria Anozie, Ngozi Ezeonu and many others.

She rose to fame, when she featured in the movie titled “Living in bondage”, this brought her a lot of fame, and she has since gone on to feature in other popular movies.

Patience Ozokwor

Ozokwor had a passion for acting since she was at primary school, where she would act in different stage plays. Before starting as an actress, she was already a star, She first made it into radio drama. She took part in a soap opera by the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) titled Someone Cares.

Patience is well known for playing a wicked step-mother, or a wicked neighbor in a movie, However, this make most of Nigerians to hate her thinking that she is what she act in a movie.

Clem Ohameze

Clem Ohameze is a famous Nollywood actor, director, producer, entrepreneur, investor, politician and a philanthropist. He was born on 27th June 1965 in Port Harcourt, River State in the south southern part of Nigeria. He is currently 52 years old. He is very gifted, skillful, creative and talented in acting and interpretation of movie roles.

Clem Ohameze has acted in more than 250 Nollywood movies which include A Cry for Help, End Time, Thanksgiving, My Sister My Love, Billionaires Club, Ije, Emotional Blunder, Oganigwe, Stigma, Child of Pain, Smooth Operator, Knight of the Night, Face of a Murderer, The Faithful Woman, Kingdom of Darkness, Evil Desire, Price of Ignorance, Second Tenure, Butterfly, Back from Hell, etc. He acts mostly in occultic movies and sometimes as pastor in movies.

Emeka Ike

Emeka Ike is one of the most popular Nigerian Nollywood actors famous for his roles as the classic lover boy in Nollywood movies. He has also been branded as one of Nollywood’s ‘Bad boys’ as a result of playing roles in movies where he gets physical and abuses women.

Along with the likes of Ramsey Nouah, Desmond Elliot and Jim Iyke, Emeka Ike was regarded as one of the ‘Romeos’ of Nollywood in the early 2000s.

Chidi Mokeme

Chidi Mokeme is a famous Nollywood actor, investor, television host and a model. He was born on 17th March 1972 in Anambra State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. He is currently 45 years old. He attended Salvation Army Primary School Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria. After his primary school education he proceeded to Federal Government College in Mina, Niger State in the northern part of Nigeria.

Chidi Mokeme started his career as a model before joining the Nigeria movie industry (Nollywood) in 2003. He came into limelight after he anchored the first two edition of the Gulder Ultimate Search Talent Hunt Show. He is currently a television reality show host and a Nollywood actor. He is the host of Gulder Ultimate Search Reality TV Show and has acted in more than 100 Nollywood movies which include Abuja Connection, Critical Condition, His Excellency, Fire Dancer, etc.

Ernest obi

Ernest Obi is a famous Nollywood actor, director, producer, television personality, entrepreneur, investor and a philanthropist. He was born on 21st June 1970 in Anambra State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. He is currently 47 years old. He is very handsome, gifted, creative, skillful and talented in acting and interpretation of movie roles and can fit in any character given to him by movie directors and producers in Nigeria.

Ernest Obi joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) in 1995 and started featuring in Nollywood movies. He has directed and acted in more than 200 Nollywood movies which include Daytime Lovers, Love Crime, Italian Deal, Last True Sacrifice, All I Have, Idemili, Calabash, Blood Money, Deep Bondage, My Angel, etc. He is one of the most creative, most gifted, most skillful and talented actor in Nigeria. He has the ability to interpret his role very well.

After acting for some while, Ernest Obi travelled to United States of America to study movie directing, cinematography and editing at the New York Film Academy. Ernest Obi is one of the controversial actor and director in Nigeria who has faced many marriage challenges and breakups. The movie “Idemili” earn him an award for Best Creative Director at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.

Ngozi Nwosu

Ngozi Nwosu is a famous Nollywood actress, movie producer and a filmmaker. She began her acting career in Yoruba-language movies, before making her home-video debut in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Living in Bondage” an Igbo-language film considered to be the movie that brought Nollywood to Limelight.

Her professional acting training under the leadership of Reverend Fabian Oko was done at Royal Theatre Art Club School in Lagos, Nigeria. In 2012, she took ill, which affected her career. The diagnosis was later reported to be related to a kidney disease. She eventually got treatment abroad through the help of government and some Non Governmental Organizations (NGO).

Jim Iyke

He was born on September 25, 1976 in Libreville, Gabon. His parents are Mr and Mrs Stephen Okolue, whose last name changed to Esomugha from ogwugwu village in Enugu Agidi town of Anambra State. He is the only boy in a family of eight children.

He completed his secondary school education in F. G. C. Kwali Abuja from 1985 to 1991. Jim Iyke studied at the University of Jos, Plateau State where he got a diploma in Banking and Finance and then a BSc in Philosophy

Jim Iyke began acting in 2001. He’s one of the highest paid actors in Nollywood, and has appeared in over 150 films. He started a movie production company, Untamed Productions in 2007. Jim Iyke began his own music label, Untamed Records. He produced a first album, titled “Who Am I?” featuring some of Nigeria’s top musicians such as TuFace Idibia, and Sound Sultan.

Joke Silva

Joke Silva is a famous Nollywood actress, director, producer, business woman, entrepreneur, investor and a philanthropist. She was born on 29th September 1961 in Lagos State in the western part of Nigeria into a family of four children. She is currently 56 years old. Her late mother, Adebimbola Silva, was a pioneering female doctor, who died in July 2015 while her father was a lawyer.

In the early 1990s, Joke Silva started her professional acting career and joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) and acted in the movie first movie “Mind Bending” and since then she has featured in several Nollywood movies.

Joke Silva has acted in more than 250 Nollywood movies which include Phone Swap, The Secret Laughter of Women, Last Wedding, White Waters, Women’s Cot, The Amazing Grace, Letters to a Stranger, Tango with me, 30 Days, Kada River, Married but Living Single, The Grave Dust, The Royal Hibiscus Hotel, Timeless, The Visitors, Bandits, Potato Potahto, etc.

Ramsey Nouah

Nouah was born December 19th 1970 in Edo State to an Israeli father and a Yoruba mother who hails from Owo, Ondo State. He grew up in Surulere, Lagos, where he attended Atara Primary School and Community Grammar School.  Nouah was born December 19th 1970 in Edo State to an Israeli father and a Yoruba mother who hails from Owo, Ondo State. He grew up in Surulere, Lagos, where he attended Atara Primary School and Community Grammar School.

Nouah’s acting career kicked off when he starred in the Nigerian TV soap opera Fortunes. He has since appeared in numerous films starring as the lead role, and has been called “Lover-Boy” for his numerous roles in romantic films. In 2010 Nouah won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in The Figurine. Nouah is considered to be one of the most sought-after actors in Nigeria.

Ngozi Ezeonu

Ngozi Ezeonu is a popular Nollywood actress, television personality, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. She is often regarded as mummy of Nollywood. She has been in the industry for over 2 decades. She always plays the role of a good mother, royal queen, mother in-law and house wife in several Nollywood movies.

She was born on 23rd May 1955 to Mr. and Mrs. D.O. Ikpelue in Ogbunike, a small town in Anambra State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. She is currently 64 years old. She is very beautiful, gifted, skillful, creative and talented. She knows how to interpret her roles very well and can fit in any character given to her by movie directors and producers in Nigeria. She is an indigene of Ogbunike, Anambra State, Nigeria.

Ngozi Ezeonu joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) in 1993 and acted in her first movie “Living in Bondage” a movie that brought Nollywood to limelight. In 1993, she rose to fame after starring in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Living in Bondage” a movie that has been regarded as the highest grossing and best selling Nollywood movie of all time.

Ireti Doyle

Iretiola Olusola Ayinke popularly known as Ireti Doyle is a famous Nollywood actress, scriptwriter, producer and an award winning television presenter. She was born on 3rd May 1967 in Lagos State in the south western part of Nigeria. She is currently 50 years old. She is originally from Ondo State in the south western part of Nigeria.

She began her acting career in 1995 in a television series titled “Riddles and Hopes”. Since then she has featured in several Nollywood movies and television series which include Across the Niger, Sitanda, Torn, The Therapist, Fifty, The Arbitration, The Wedding Party, Dinner, Tinsel, For Coloured Girls, Gidi Up, etc. She always plays the role of a house wife, mother in-law and discipline mother in movies

Fred Amata

Fred Amata was born on May 18th, 1963. He is an actor and director, known for Letters to a Stranger (2007), Tumini’s Song (2006) and Road to Redemption.

Fred shot into limelight in 1986 for his role in a film titled Legacy. In 2014, the filmmaker went into music. He released his first single titled  “You Are A Nigerian Man.” He was sworn in as the President of the Directors Guild of Nigeria on Friday, April 8th, 2016.

Rita Dominic

Born Rita Uchenna Nkem Dominic Nwaturuocha professionally known as Rita Dominic is a Nigerian actress, film director, entertainer and a movie producer who was born into a Royal family of Nwaturuocha of Aboh in Mbaise local government area of Imo State. South Eastern part of Nigeria. Rita was born on 12 July, 1975, Making her 45 years old as of this post, She’s the youngest in the family of four children.

Rita developed interest for acting at a very tender age, this led her to perform in school plays and dancing group during her school days. However, In 1998, she starred in a Movie A Time To Kill, which brought her to prominence. Thus far, she has write and co-write, produce and co-produce numerous Nollywood movies and she have over 200 Nollywood movies to her credit.

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Kate Henshaw

Kate Henshaw Nuttal popularly known as Kate Henshaw is a famous Nollywood actress, model, television personality, entrepreneur and a philanthropist. She was born on 19th July 1971 in Calabar, Cross River State in the south southern part of Nigeria. She is currently 46 years old. She is very beautiful, gifted, creative and talented.

In 1993, Kate Henshaw joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) after auditioning for the lead role in the movie “When the Sun Sets”. After that she went on to feature in several movies in Nigeria. Kate Henshaw has acted in more than 200 Nollywood movies which include Touch My Heart, The Harlot, Dangerous Silence, The Legend, Canal Desire, Sun Sets, Stronger than Pain, The Meeting, Above Death, Couples Award, Games Men Play, etc. Kate Henshaw is currently an ambassador and the Face of Onga. She is also a judge on Nigeria’s Got Talent Hunt Show.

Omotola Jalade

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is a Nollywood actress, singer, model, entrepreneur, television personality and a philanthropist. She has been regarded as one of the highest paid actress in Nigeria. She is always known for playing in romantic, sorrowful and action thriller movies. She has been in the industry for over 2 decades. She always plays the role of a royal princess, an independent corporate lady, a good house wife and a determined young lady in several Nollywood movies.

She joined the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood in 1995 and made her first acting debut in the 1995 movie titled “Venom of Justice” a movie directed by Reginald Ebere. Her role in the movie earned her an award for Most Promising Actress in Nigeria at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. According to her, she was introduced to acting by a friend.

Omotola Jalade Ekeinde is currently one of the leading actress in Nollywood. She became more famous after starring in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Mortal Inheritance” a movie that earned her an award for Best Actress in a Leading Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. The film was however regarded as Nollywood best produce movie of all time. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde has been regarded as one of the most beautiful actresses in Nigeria by different media outlets in Nigeria.

Genevieve Nnaji

Genevieve Nnaji is a famous Nollywood actress, singer, model, entrepreneur, television personality and a philanthropist. She has been regarded as the highest paid actress in Nigeria. She is always known for playing in sorrowful, romantic and action thriller movies. She has been in the industry for over 2 decades. She always plays the role of a princess, a servant, a palace maid, an orphan, a secondary school student and a house wife in several Nollywood movies.

She started her acting career as a child actress in the then popular television soap opera “Ripples” at the age of 8 years old. In 1998, she joined the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood professionally and started acting in movies professional at the age of 19 years old. Her first movie is titled “Most Wanted” an action thriller movie in which she acted alongside with Ibinabo Fiberesima and Regina Askia in 1998.

Victoria Inyama

Victoria Inyama is a popular Nigerian veteran actress known for her role in the series “Ripples”. Victoria was born on November 23 and hails from Enugu state, south-eastern part of Nigeria. She obtained a Bachelor’s degree from University of Lagos, Studied counseling in the Lewisham Counseling of London and also attended the Greenwich school of management in London. Inyama is a beautiful actress and one of the most talented in the Nigerian movie industry.

She joined the Nigerian movie industry in 1990 as introduced into the scene by fellow veteran actor, Alex Usifo, Victoria rose to fame for her intriguing role int e series “Ripples”as produced by Zeb Ejiro. She has also starred in other movies such as Silent Night, Danger Zone, Love From Above, Glamour Boys, Iyanga, Ofeke, Lost Passion and so on.

These actors and actresses made Nollywood what it is today. Without them, There will be no Destiny Etiko or Regina Daniels.

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