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Yoruba movies, a Nollywood subgenre, have advanced considerably. Beginning in the middle of the 1960s, actors from various Yoruba traveling theater companies began to extend their performances beyond the stage and explore the world of celluloid moviemaking.

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The industry kept expanding and soaring, giving us fantastic actors who made it worthwhile. Although there were other performers like Hubert Ogunde in the beginning, additional actors have contributed to the growth of the Yoruba film industry. Thirteen actors, among many others, made significant contributions to this brilliance.

Lere Paimo

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On November 19, 1939, Paimo was born in Ogbomoso, Oyo State. He is a Nigerian actor, director, producer, and maker of movies.

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He started acting in 1960 after joining the Pa Oyinade Adejobi-founded Oyin Adejobi Theatre Group. Later, he joined Duro Ladipo’s Theatre Group, where he played “Chief Basa” in the stage production Obamoro.

He rose to fame after playing the major part of Soun Ogunola in the epic Yoruba movie Ogbori Elemosho, which helped him gain attention.

Since he started performing in 1963, he has been in various Nigerian films and has also produced and directed them. Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, presented him and Zeb Ejiro with the National Award of Member of the Federal Republic in 2005 in appreciation of their significant contributions to the Nigerian film industry.

He reportedly suffered from a partial stroke in May 2013 but lived through the incident. He won a N1 million cash prize on the Nigerian game show “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire” in April 2014.

Peter Fatomilola

Fatomilola was born on January 16, 1946, to Chief Abraham Ojo Fatomilola and Mrs. Elizabeth Fatomilola in the town of Ifisin-Ekiti in the Ido-Osi Local Government area of Ekiti State, Nigeria. His herbalist part in a Nigerian film is thought to have been motivated by the fact that he is the son of Chief Ifa Priest known as the Oluwo (Olu-awo, which means Lord of the oracle).

He joined the Olokun Theatre ensemble in 1967 while being mentored by the late Professor Ola Rotimi, a celebrated playwright and dramatist at the University of Ife, now known as Obafemi Awolowo University. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Theatre Arts from Obafemi Awolowo University, where he also serves on the faculty. He played the first Papa Ajasco, the lead in Wale Adenuga’s debut comedy movie.

He had been in a number of renowned Nigerian movies, including 1997’s epic African film Sango, which Wale Ogunyemi and Obafemi Lasode produced. He has played the priest in a number of Yoruba movies.

He has multiple wives, one of which, Iya Fat, sells regional remedies and herbs at a market near the Obafemi Awolowo University. He has eleven kids. He also holds a number of chieftaincy positions throughout Yorubaland, including Oluwo (Chief Ifa Priest) in Ifisin-Ekiti, where he was born, and Amuludun in Ile-Ife.

Kareem Adepoju

Adepoju, better known by his stage name “Baba Wande,” is a Nigerian actor, writer, and producer who first gained notoriety in 1993 for his role as “Oloye Otun” in the film Ti Oluwa Ni Ileu.

Oluweri Magboojo, Ti Oluwa Ni Ile, Ay Ni M F, Abeni, Arugba, Igbekun, bko D D, Ika lomo ejo, Enu Eye (2010), and Anikulapo (2022) are just a few of the films in which Adepoju has appeared.

Ebun Oloyede

Igwe Olaiya, also known as Lukmon Ebun Oloyede, is a well-known Yoruba actor. Olaiya, who was up in Ogun State’s Kenta, Oke-Ejigbo Abeokuta, is well known for his comedic parts in Yoruba cinema.

Oloyede attended Premier Grammar School in the same city as his primary school, St. Jude’s Primary School, for his secondary education. Before attending Moshood Abiola Polytechnic in Abeokuta to study public communication, Olaiya attended Premier Grammar School in Abeokuta.

In the 1970s, he began acting while working as a television presenter for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA), where he also performed in stage productions with the Musbau Shodimu Theatre Organization. He performed in theater plays so well that he was able to move on to performing in home videos. Since then, Olaiya has appeared in more than 100 Nollywood films, making him one of the best actors in the business.

Kayode Olaiya

Kayode Olaiya is a veteran Nigerian actor. He came into limelight and rose to prominence in Yoruba indigenous language films.

He was Born on 12th of April,1949 in Oyo State.

He Started his Acting Profession in the 1960s. He was Once a Member of a Threatre Group Called “Ajimajason”.

The Veteran Actor Rose to Fame in the 1990s and He has Worked with Alot of Television Stations Including Lagos State Television.

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

Adebayo Salami, popularly known by his stage name Oga Bello was born on 9 May, 1952). He is a veteran Nigerian actor, filmmaker, film producer, and director.

He began his acting career in 1964, with a group called Young Concert Party, under the leadership of Ojo Ladipo, popularly known as Baba Mero.

After a few years, the group changed its name to Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group, and later metamorphosed into Awada Kerikeri Theatre Group. Following the demise of Ojo Ladipo in 1978, Salami took the mantle of leadership of the group, which brought him into the limelight.

He featured in the first Yoruba film, Ajani Ogun, in which the late Adeyemi Afolayan, the father of Kunle Afolayan and Gabriel Afolayan, plays the lead role.

He also featured in a movie titled Kadara by Adeyemi Afolayan (Ade love). He later featured in the popular Nigerian comedy series Comedy half hour with the stage name Oga Bello.

He produced his first movie, Ogun Ajaye, in 1985, from the stable of Awada Kerikeri. Since 1985, he has produced, directed and featured in several Yoruba movies.

He was a pioneer member of the Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners, and also served as president of the association

Yinka Quadri

Quadri was born on 6 September, 1959. He is a Nigerian actor, film maker, producer and director, born and raised on Lagos Island, Lagos State, but a native of Oro, Kwara State. He recently starred in a new movie titled Apaadi. He is installed as the Agba Akin of Oro Kingdom. He is the President & Co-Founder of a Theatre Art Group called (Odunfa Caucus) whose office is Situated in Ebute-Meta, Lagos State.

Quadri’s acting career started in 1976 when he and Taiwo Olayinka along with a group of friends formed a drama group called Afopina Theatre Group after dropping out of school. He has starred in over 90 Yoruba films since his debut television series titled Agbodorogun.

On April 27, 2014, Yinka launched his biography Yinka Quadri: Scent of a Legend and simultaneously celebrated his 36 years in the Nigerian film industry.

He has starred in movies such as Olaniyonu, Kutupu, Kura, Ekun, Agbodorogun, Ojiji, Egbinrin Ote, Araba, Ilari, Odun Baku, Bolode O’ku, Èebúdolá Tèmi, Abeni, Apaadi, Ojo Idajo, Abulesowo, Niwoyi Ola, Ilekun Olorun, Okinni, Owo Blow, Shola Arikusa, among others.

Jide Kosoko

Prince Jide Kosoko was born in Lagos on the 12th of January 1954, to the Kosoko royal family of Lagos Island.

Kosoko studied business administration at the Yaba College of Technology. He began his acting career as a child actor in 1964 in a television production named Makanjuola. He has featured in several Nollywood movies in both English and Yoruba languages.

The young Kosoko grew up in Ebute Metta and was inspired by the huge success of Hubert Ogunde to go into acting, when an acquaintance who was working with the Ifelodun travelling theatre troupe invited him to an audition for a role in Makanjuola, a tele-movie. Kosoko accepted the invitation; he later went for the audition and was chosen for the role, playing a character called Alabi.

Kosoko continued with acting, he then performed with the Awada Kerikeri group consisting of Sunday Omobolanle, Lanre Hassan and Oga Bello, ⁣and had guest appearances on the T.V. show, New Masquerade. In 1972, he formed his own theatre troupe.

Kosoko has written and also produced his own films and stage plays including Ogun AhoyayaKosoko became visible during the Video film era, producing his own film, Asiri n la in 1992, starring in Asewo to re Mecca and Tunde Kelani’s Ti Oluwa Ni’Le part 2.

He has also acted in hundreds of Yoruba and English movies.

Taiwo Hassan

Taiwo Hassan was born on 31 October, 1959. He is popularly known as Ogogo, and is a Nigerian film actor, producer and director.

Ogogo began his acting career in 1981, shortly after starting work as a mechanic. In 1994 he left his job at the water corporation to concentrate on acting.

He was brought to the spotlight for his notable roles in movies like Omin, Bolode o’ku, Obinrin Sowanu, among others.

Ogogo has featured in more than 100 movies and has won awards, and has been nominated for numerous others. He is a proud recipient of the City People Movie Lifetime Achievement Award.

Some other movies he featured are: Baba Ibeji, Suspect, Ashabi Iya Eko, Heartless, Plastic Girls, Aiye Alabata, Ote, Ore Ojokan, Aye K-ooto, Idakeji Aye, Owara October, Erelu, Owara 2, Terror, Tomorrow, Ipalemo Odu, Sunday Igboho, Enikeji, Aworawo, Eji Owuro,Eji Owuro 2, Eji Owuro 3, Isun Ayomi, Emi Lomo Baba Olowo, Iyawo Alalubarika, Ayekaye, Eyan ni mi, Tolani Igara, Mio Le Gba, Alaafin Oronpoto, Alaso Duduin, Mahuru The Tempest, Opo, Atunse, Ogiri Alapa, Omo Ologo Ni, Ogo Mi, Airat, Igba Aje, Oba Adegboyega, Iruju and Alanu Mi.

Sunday Omobolanle

Sunday Omobolanle aka Papi Luwe, born October 1, 1954 at Ilora, Oyo State, is a Nigerian comic actor, playwright, film director, and producer.

He is the father of Sunkanmi Omobolanle, a Nigerian film actor and director. Sunday Omobolanle had scripted, directed, produced and featured in several Nigerian film such as Adun Ewuro, a 2011 Nigerian film that featured Adebayo Salami.

In recognition of his contributions to the Nigerian film industry, he was bestowed with a National award, MON by Olusegun Obasanjo, the former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Some movies he featured are: Adun Ewuro (2011), Konkobilo, Oba Alatise and Anikulapo.

Charles Olumo

Abdulsalam Sanyaolu, whose is called Charles Olumo,  is a Nigerian actor from Abeokuta, Ogun State. He mainly acts in Yoruba-language films in “Nollywood”.

He’s famous for the stereotypical ‘bad man’ role he plays in Yoruba movies. In deed, not many people know him by his real name, Abdulsalam Ishola Sanyaolu or Charles Olumo, but mention Agbako in a crowd and all heads will turn.

The 98-year-old actor recently cried out for help as he battles a serious ailments.

Kola Oyewo

Kola Oyewo, born 27 March, 1946, in Osun State, is a Nigerian veteran actor, dramatist, and scholar.

He attended Obafemi Awolowo University where he obtained a certificate in dramatic arts, and a certificate in Yoruba oral literature before he later received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Theatre art from the same university in 1995. He proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he received a Master of Arts (M.A.) and doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in drama.

He began acting as a professional in 1964 after he joined the “Oyin Adejobi theatre group” and the first role he played was Adejare in Orogun Adedigba, which was Oyin Adejobi’s autobiography. After he spent nine years with Oyin Adejobi, he joined the University of Ife theatre, where he worked with the late veteran dramatist and scholar, chief Ola Rotimi. Kola Oyewo was known for the role he played as “Odewale” in The Gods Are Not To Blame, a drama by Ola Rotimi.

In 1996, Oyewo joined the services of Obafemi Awolowo University, where he rose to the rank of senior lecturer before retiring in September 2011. After his retirement from Obafemi Awolowo University, he joined the services of Redeemer’s University, where he currently serves as head of the department of dramatic art. He is currently working at Elizade University Ilara-Mokin, Ondo State as a performing arts lecturer.

Some of the movies he took part in are: Sango (1997), Super Story (episode 1), The Gods Are Not To Blame, Saworoide and Koseegbe (1995)

Yemi Elebuibon

Ifáyẹmi Ọ̀ṣundàgbónu Elebuibon was born on 1947. He is a Yoruba and Nigerian writer, poet, author, linguist, and a world-famous Ifa priest. His plays and films have received worldwide acclamation for his pursuit of the preservation of Yoruba culture and heritage.

He also serves as a traveling lecturer in several institutions including at the department of African language and literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University and Black Studies at the San Francisco State University and at the Wajumbe Cultural Institution in California.

Elebuibon began training as an Ifa priest by his father in 1951 when he was 4 years old. He continued this rigorous training in the traditional arts until his father died when he was only 10 in 1957. He was then put under the guidance of Chief Faniyi Ajani (the Agbongbon-Awo of Osogbo), another well trained Ifa priest who most likely was a contemporary of Elebuibon’s father and grandfather. After training for another 10 years, he became an official Babalawo in 1967.

He did not attend formal schooling but self-educated himself. He then became an actor for Duro Ladipo’s famous plays including Ọba kò so. He then became associated with the National Black Theatre, in which he currently serves a cultural advisor. He then began to publish several books and papers in both Yoruba and English. He also wrote many traditional Yoruba plays based on Yoruba figures (known as èwí in Yoruba). His traditions morality drama “IFA OLOKUN ASORODAYO.”

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