Nollywood, Nigeria’s home cinema industry has a rich human resource base that has contributed to its growth over the years. At Xclusive Ug, we take a look at some of the industry’s biggest names – the veterans that have helped create the Nollywood we know and love today.

Pete Edochie

Pete Edochie

One of Nollywood’s most respected gentlemen, Pete Edochie falls in that confederation of extraordinary actors who continue to inspire young and upcoming talents.

Generally, he is seen as one of the big names responsible for the growth Nollywood has and continues to see, worldwide. Edochie boasts a collection of movies, some of which have won him several awards.

He gained local prominence some two decades ago when he played the lead role in a Nigeria Television Authority- sponsored adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s popular novel Things Fall Apart. He is 66-years-old.


Justus Esiri

Justus Esiri

In February Nollywood was hit with news of the death of one of its own, Justus Esiri.

Esiri had made his mark locally his death dealt a heavy a blow, especially for those who saw him rise to the very top of what was, a successful and well-lived career.

His hold on acting was so flawless; he handled his roles with the kind of ease that makes a director’s job less stressful.

Esiri learnt the ropes of acting in Germany but became recognised locally for his roles in popular home series and movies.

Some of his popular productions included Assassin’s Practice, Six Demons, Last Knight, Corridors of Power, The Investigation and Wasted Years.

Assassin’s Practice won him the award for Best Actor in A Leading Role at the just ended African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), held in Bayelsa State, Nigeria. He was honoured posthumously.

He was 71.

Olu Jacobs
Olu Jacobs

The 70-year-old actor of long standing has over the years won for himself great affection from across the divide of

the film industry in Nigeria. He has remained a father figure to many young actors.

He was winner of the Best Actor in a Leading Role at the 2007 edition of the AMAAs.

Jacobs trained at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, and starred in some British television productions including The Tomorrow People, The Ventures, Angels, and The Goodies among others. He also starred in Roman Polanski’s Pirates among other top rated movies.

He is married to the Nollywood actress Joke Silva.

Joke Silva

Joke Silva

Adored, cherished and respected nationwide, Joke Silva perfectly fits that description of a never-ageing woman with the kind of flair most young people would yearn for.

She trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, where she got a Diploma in Performing Arts, majoring in Acting.

Together with Olu Jacobs, to whom she’s been married for the past 28 years, they’ve created what is Nollywood’s most adorable couple.

That beautiful union has somewhat led to a perfect on screen performance.

Her most recent titles include Kunle Afolayan’s Phone Swap, White Waters and The Amazing Grace. Twice, she’s won Best Actress in A Leading Role at the AMAAs.

Silva currently runs the LUFUDO Academy of Performing Arts, one of several companies under the LUFUDO Group of Companies managed by her and Olu Jacobs.

The institution runs courses in Performing Arts, with greater emphasis on Script Writing, Directing, and Acting


Liz Benson

Liz Benson

A big Nigerian filmmaking name, Elizabeth Benson’s popularity stretches beyond the West African country.

In fact she was one of few faces that constantly made appearances in movies released during the early years of Nollywood’s proper take off.

Glamour Girls, perhaps her most popular title till date, became a huge hit across Africa. Her other, notable productions include Political Control, Tycoon, Dead End, Stolen Child, and the hit television series Fortunes.

She’s survived the many phases of the film industry in Nigeria, and remains, without doubt one of Nollywood’s most respected veterans.

As Adapted from Africa.Howzit

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