The Undisputable Legend Of Nollywood

Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs

Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs, born on 11 July 1942 and known professionally as Olu Jacobs, is a Nigerian actor and film executive. He has appeared in numerous British television series and international films. Olu Jacobs is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most respected African actors of his generation. Alongside Pete Edochie, he is considered by many in the media, film industry, and fellow actors to be one of the most influential African actors of all time. He is recognized as a cultural icon and is seen as a bridge between the old and new generations of actors.

BACKGROUND Jacobs has made a significant impact in Nigeria’s movie industry, Nollywood. With over 40 years of acting experience, he is recognized as a bridge between the older and newer generations of actors. Trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in England, he worked with various repertoire theaters in Britain and starred in international movies.

In 2007, he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Olu Jacobs has played a crucial role as a mentor in Nollywood, paving the way for many emerging actors and actresses in the industry. His passion for acting was inspired by the late legendary filmmaker Hubert Ogunde’s annual concert party held at the Colonial Hotel in Kano. Subsequently, he traveled to England, where he studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He has been described as one of Nollywood’s finest actors, a skilled role interpreter, and a master of words. In recognition of his dedication to acting spanning over five decades, he received the Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. He was also honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award by the same award organization in 2016.

Olu Jacobs is married to veteran actress Joke Silva. Together, they founded and operate the Lufodo Group, a media corporation that encompasses film production, distribution assets, and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts.

Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs was born to parents from Egba Alake. He spent his early childhood in Kano and attended Holy Trinity School, where he was a member of the debating and drama societies. His interest in acting was sparked when he attended one of Chief Hubert Ogunde’s annual concert parties at the Colonial Hotel in Kano. Subsequently, he obtained a visa and traveled to England to pursue acting studies.

In England, Jacobs underwent training at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. One of his earliest stage roles was playing The Boy in ‘A Taste of Honey’ at the newly opened Crucible Theatre in Sheffield in 1972. He then appeared in various British television shows and series during the 1970s, including The Goodies, Till Death Us Do Part, Barlow at Large, The Venturers, Angels, 1990, The Tomorrow People, and The Professionals. In 1978, he portrayed the character President Mageeba in Michael Codron’s presentation of Sir Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day.

During the 1980s, Jacobs appeared in several international films, including John Irvin’s war film The Dogs of War, Roman Polanski’s adventure-comedy Pirates (1986), and the family-adventure film Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (1985). On television, he was part of the cast of TVS’s The Witches and the Grinnygog.

Subsequently, Jacobs has starred in over 120 Nollywood films, solidifying his position as one of the top Nigerian Nollywood actors.

Jacobs has been married to Nollywood actress Joke Silva since 1989, and they have children together. When asked why his wife continues to use her maiden name, Jacobs explained that she is her own individual and that her audience knows her as Joke Silva. He emphasized that her marriage to him does not change her identity as an actress. Rumors circulated in 2021 claiming that Olu Jacobs had passed away, but he attended Afriff in November 2021, where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. His wife Joke Silva later revealed in an interview with Chude Jideonwo that he is battling Dementia with Lewy bodies.

Olu Jacobs received the prestigious Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. In August 2022, he and his wife were presented with an icon award and membership certificate by the Audio-Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS).


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