The Yoruba film industry, a subgenre of Nollywood, has made significant strides since its inception. The Yoruba-language cinema emerged in the mid-1960s when actors from various Yoruba traveling theatre groups ventured into movie production using the Celluloid format.


Over the years, the industry has witnessed exponential growth, giving rise to exceptional actors who have left an indelible mark. While Hubert Ogunde and others were prominent figures in the early days, numerous actors have contributed to the solidification of the Yoruba movie industry. Thirteen actors, among many others, have played a pivotal role in its phenomenal success.


Lere Paimo

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Born on 19th November 1939 in Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Paimo is a versatile Nigerian film actor, producer, filmmaker, and director.


Paimo’s acting career dates back to 1960 when he joined the Oyin Adejobi Theatre Group, a prominent theatre group founded by Pa Oyinade Adejobi. Later on, he joined Duro Ladipo’s Theatre Group where he played the role of “Chief Basa” in the stage play titled Obamoro.

Paimo’s breakthrough came after his outstanding performance in the epic Yoruba movie, Ogbori Elemosho, where he played the lead role of Soun Ogunola, earning him immense popularity and recognition.

Peter Fatomilola

Fatomilola, born on 16th January 1946 in Ifisin-Ekiti, Ido-Osi Local Government Area of Ekiti State, Nigeria, is the son of Chief Abraham Ojo Fatomilola and Mrs. Elizabeth Fatomilola. He is the son of Chief Ifa Priest, also known as the Oluwo (meaning Lord of the oracle), which is believed to have influenced his herbalist roles in Nigerian films.

In 1967, he joined the Olokun Theatre Group under the guidance of the late Professor Ola Rotimi, a renowned dramatist and prolific playwright at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. Fatomilola is also a member of the academic staff of the university, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts in 1978. He played the lead role of Papa Ajasco in a comedy film produced by Wale Adenuga, becoming the first actor to portray the character.

Fatomilola has featured in several notable Nigerian films, including Sango, an epic African film produced by Obafemi Lasode and scripted by Wale Ogunyemi in 1997. He has also played the role of the priest in various Yoruba films.

He is married and has several wives, including one who sells local concoctions and herbs (Iya Fat) at a market at the Obafemi Awolowo University. He has 11 children and holds various chieftaincy titles in Yorubaland, including Oluwo (Chief Ifa Priest) in his hometown of Ifisin-Ekiti and Amuludun in Ile-Ife.

Kareem Adepoju

Adepoju, also known as “Baba Wande,” is a Nigerian film actor, writer, and producer who rose to fame in 1993 with his portrayal of “Oloye Otun” in the movie “Ti Oluwa Ni Ileu.”

Throughout his career, Adepoju has appeared in numerous films, including “Oluweri Magboojo,” “Ayọ Ni Mọ Fẹ,” “Abeni,” “Arugba,” “Igbekun,” “Òbúko Dúdú,” “Ika lomo ejo,” “Enu Eye” (2010), and “Anikulapo” (2022).

Ebun Oloyede

Lukmon Ebun Oloyede, popularly known as Igwe Olaiya, is a renowned Yoruba actor known for his humorous roles in Yoruba movies. He was born in Kenta, Oke-Ejigbo Abeokuta, Ogun state.

Olaiya began his education at St. Jude’s Primary School, Abeokuta, and later attended Premier Grammar School, Abeokuta for his secondary education. He went on to study Mass Communication at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic, Abeokuta.

Olaiya began his acting career as a TV personality at the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where he acted in stage plays with the Musbau Shodimu Theatre Organisation in the 1970s. He was so good on stage that he was able to advance into acting in home videos. Since then, Olaiya has featured in over a hundred Nollywood movies, making him one of the industry’s top actors.

Kayode Olaiya

Kayode Olaiya is a Nigerian veteran actor who gained prominence in the Yoruba indigenous language film industry. He was born on April 12, 1949, in Oyo State and started his acting profession in the 1960s. Olaiya was once a member of a theatre group called “Ajimajason”.

He rose to fame in the 1990s and has worked with several television stations including Lagos State Television. Throughout his career, Olaiya has featured in numerous Nollywood and Yoruba films, solidifying his position as one of the industry’s top actors.

He is known for ”Saworoide” (1999), ”Agogo Eewo” (2002), ”Ago Kan Oru” (2003), ”Jenifa” (2008), ”The Figurine” (2009), ”Ilu Gangan” (2009), ”Apaadi” (2009), ”Jenifa 2” (2009), ”The Return of Jenifa” (2011), ”October 1” (2014), ”Jenifa’s Diary” (2015-present), ”93 Days” (2016), ”Ojukokoro: Greed” (2017), and ”Bipolar: Amodi” (2018).

Adebayo Salami

Oga Bello, whose real name is Adebayo Salami, is a multi-talented Nigerian actor, filmmaker, film producer, and director born on May 9, 1952. He started his acting career in 1964 with the Young Concert Party, led by Ojo Ladipo, popularly known as Baba Mero. The group later changed its name to Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group and later Awada Kerikeri Theatre Group, with Salami assuming the leadership position after Ojo Ladipo’s death in 1978.

Salami gained popularity when he featured in Ajani Ogun, the first Yoruba movie in which the late Adeyemi Afolayan, the father of Kunle Afolayan and Gabriel Afolayan, played the lead role. He also appeared in Kadara, a movie by Adeyemi Afolayan. In addition, he starred in the popular Nigerian comedy series Comedy Half Hour, using the stage name Oga Bello.

In 1985, he produced his first movie, Ogun Ajaye, under the Awada Kerikeri banner. Since then, he has produced, directed, and acted in many Yoruba movies. Salami was one of the founding members of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners and served as its president.

Yinka Quadri

Yinka Quadri is a veteran Nigerian actor, director, and producer, who has made a remarkable impact in the Nigerian movie industry, particularly in the Yoruba film sector. He was born on September 6, 1959, in Lagos State, Nigeria.

Quadri began his acting career in 1976 when he joined the Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group, which later became the Awada Kerikeri Theatre Group. He was mentored by the late legendary actor and dramatist, Ojo Ladipo, who greatly influenced his acting style.

Since then, Quadri has starred in over 100 Yoruba films and has won several awards for his outstanding performances. Some of his notable movies include “Odunlade,” “Fimihan,” “Alapinni,” “Oju Oloore,” “Oleku,” and “Owo Blow.”

Quadri is also a successful movie producer and director, having produced and directed several Yoruba movies, including “Ikilo,” “Ojo Iku,” and “Aranbada,” among others. He is highly respected in the Nigerian movie industry and has contributed immensely to its growth and development.

In addition to his acting career, Quadri is also involved in philanthropic activities, and he is a member of several social and cultural organizations.

Jide Kosoko

Jide Kosoko is a veteran Nigerian actor, director, and producer. He was born on January 12, 1954, in Lagos, Nigeria. Kosoko is from a family of actors, with his father, the late Prince J.A. Adeyemo Kosoko, being a well-known Nigerian actor.

He started his acting career in 1964 and has since featured in numerous Nigerian movies, both in the Yoruba and English languages. He has won several awards for his contributions to the Nigerian movie industry, including the Best Actor award at the African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) and the Best Supporting Actor award at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA).

Apart from acting, Kosoko has also directed and produced several movies. He is also a traditional ruler in Lagos State, holding the title of the “Aro of Igbobi-Sabe” in Lagos. Kosoko is regarded as one of the veterans of the Nigerian movie industry and has contributed immensely to its growth and development.

Taiwo Hassan

Taiwo Hassan, popularly known as Ogogo, is a Nigerian actor, producer, and director. He was born on October 31, 1959, in Ilaro, Ogun State, Nigeria.

Ogogo began his acting career in the early 1980s with the Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group, which later became Awada Kerikeri Theatre Group. He featured in a number of Yoruba movies in the 1990s and rose to fame for his role in the movie “Owo Blow.”

He has since featured in several other movies, including “Omo Orukan,” “Ile Owo,” “Ola Abata,” “Aye Olomo Kan,” “Akoni Meta,” and “Asepamo.” He has also produced and directed several movies.

In addition to his acting career, Ogogo is a businessman and has investments in real estate, hospitality, and agriculture. He is also a philanthropist and has been involved in several community development projects in his hometown.

Sunday Omobolanle

Yemi Elebuibon

Kola Oyewo

Charles Olumo