Nollywood, the Nigerian version of Hollywood has seen tremendous growth over the years. Boasting of some renowned actors and actresses who have touched hearts and made their name over the years, it is without a doubt that the Nigerian Movie Industry is a major player on the African continent. Today, GhanaCelebrities.Com brings you our Top 20 Actors and Actresses to have emerged from the Nigerian Movie Industry in no particular order.
- Pete Edochie: The revered actor was born on March 7th, 1947. He comes from the Igbo tribe and is a devoted Catholic. Pete Edochie worked his way up to the top and became one of the most recognizable and acknowledged actors in Nigeria, and in Africa overall. Since he started acting in the 1980s, he has appeared in multiple movies and has won the prestigious awards for his roles. For Nigerians, Pete Edochie is a symbol of talent and dedication.
2. Patience Ozokwor: Born on March 25th 1958, Patience Ozokwor popularly known as Mama Gee is a prominent and very well respected actress in Nigeria. Known popularly for her roles as that extremely devious woman in Nollywood movies, Mama Gee is the favourite of many movie fans for her talent and dexterity. She is a mother of 3 biological and 5 adopted children. She is a devoted Christian.
3. Olu Jacobs: Born Oludotun Jacobs on July 11 1942, the veteran actor has starred in several British television series and international films. In 2007 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role. Jacobs is married to Nollywood actress Joke Silva since 1989. Olu Jacobs was honoured with the Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
4. Chiwetalu Agu: Chiwetalu Agu who was born in Enugu, Nigeria in 1956 is a veteran Nollywood actor, comedian and movie producer who won the 2012 Nollywood award for ‘best actor in the indigenous movie (non-English speaking language)’. His usage of specific language slang, phrases or clichés in each film has made him uniquely a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood admirers abroad.
5. Zack Orji: Zachee Ama Orji, born in Libreville, Gabon, in the 1960s, is a Nigerian actor, director, producer and filmmaker. Orji is a graduate of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Having grown up in Cameroon, Benin and Togo he speaks both English and French fluently. His first movie was in 1991 and was entitled Unforgiven Sin. Since then, Orji has starred in different movies and is now a Nollywood legend. He is married to Ngozi Orji and has three children.
6. Omotola Jalade Ekeinde: Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, born Omotola Jalade, on 7 February 1978 is a Nigerian actress, singer, philanthropist and former model. Since her Nollywood film debut in 1995, the leading actress has appeared in over 300 films, selling millions of video copies. She is the first African celebrity to receive over 1 million likes on her Facebook page sealing her position as one of Africa’s most respected actresses.
7. Genevieve Nnaji: The 40-year-old has starred in more than 150 films over the last two decades and her rise to prominence coincided with the exponential growth of Nollywood. She grew up in the bustling city of Lagos in a middle-class home – her father an engineer and her mother a teacher.
8. Mercy Johnson: Mercy Johnson Okojie (born August 28, 1984) hails from Okene in Kogi State. Born in Lagos to a former naval officer, Mr Daniel Johnson and Mrs Elizabeth Johnson, she is the fourth child in a family of seven. She is now one of the most sought-after Nollywood actresses and has won several awards. She is currently married with 3 kids.
9. Ramsey Noah: Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah Jr was born on the 19th of December 1970. Ramsey Tokunbo Nouah has starred in over 100 movies to his credit and has gone ahead to win numerous award amongst them In 2010 when he won “Africa Movie Academy Award” for being the Best Lead actor. Ramsey Nouah came into limelight when he starred in the Nigerian popular TV soap opera titled “Fortunes”.
10. Emeka Ike: Emeka Ike is of an Igbo origin. He was born on March 22, 1967. Emeka’s career in movies began when Ernest Obi, one of his colleagues in acting, introduced the young passionate would-be actor to Charles Owoyemi, a producer of then-popular TV series titled “Fortunes”. At that time, soap operas were at the peak of their popularity and even outshined big movies. Since the beginning of his career, Emeka has acted in more than 200 movies.
11. Desmond Elliott: Desmond Olushola Elliot was born on the 4th of February 1974, in Lagos, Nigeria to Mr and Mrs Elliot. His father is from Olowogbowo, Lagos State, while his mother hails from Illah, Oshimili North, Delta State Nigeria. He grew up in the Northern part of Nigeria, with his parents and siblings. He got involved with Nollywood after his friend convinced him that the industry would suit him. When he first started, he only featured in soap operas like Everyday People, One Too Much, Super Story, and Saints and Sinners. Gradually, he started getting roles in normal movies. Today, Desmond Elliot is an influential Nollywood personality that has featured in over 200 movies. Desmond Elliot co-produced and co-directed the movie Reloaded in 2008.
12. Ini Edo: Ini Edo began her film career in 2000, and has featured in more than 100 movies since that time. In 2013, she was announced as a judge for the Miss Black Africa Uk Pageant. Due to her philanthropic gestures, the United Nations appointed her as the United Nations Habitat Youth Envoy. Her acting career started in 2003 with her debut in Thick Madam. She was discovered a producer at the audition she attended. Her breakthrough came in 2004 when she acted in World Apart. Up to now, she has appeared in over 100 films, she is one of the highest-profile actresses in Nigeria and Africa in general.
13. Rita Dominic: Rita Dominic is a member of the Royal Waturuocha family of Aboh Mbaise local government area in Imo State. She is the youngest of four siblings. Dominic started performing when she was a child, appearing in school plays and children’s television shows in Imo State. In 1998 she starred in her first movie, A Time to Kill. She won the City People Awards in 2004 as the Most Outstanding Actress. She has starred in over 100 Nollywood productions.
14. Tonto Dikeh: Tonto Wigo Charity Dikeh-Churchill (born 9 June 1985), also known as Tonto Dike hails from Rivers State and is of the Ikwerre tribe. In 2005, she competed against other contestants on a reality TV show called The Next Movie Star; she was the first runner-up. She has starred in over 100 movies.
15. John Okafor: John Okafor a.k.a Mr Ibu was born on 17 October 1961, in Umunekwu Village in Eziokwe, Enugu State, in the eastern part of Nigeria. His acting career began on December 3, 1978, according to him. Since his debut in 1998, Mr Ibu has starred in over 350 Nollywood movies.
16. Nkem Owoh: Nkem Owoh is a well known veteran actor and comedian. He was born on 17th October 1960 in Amagu village, Udi town, Enugu state, Nigeria. He started as a writer for the network productions of the Nigerian Television Authority(NTA) where he was contracted to handle the subtitling of the very remarkable Igbo language home video titled ‘Living in Bondage.’ His most prominent act was when he starred as Osuofia in the movie ‘Osuofia in London’ in 2003 which won him the ‘Best Actor in a Lead Role’ award in the African Movie Academy Awards – the AMMAs in 2008. Nkem Owoh has starred in more than 200 movies.
17. Jim Iyke: James Ikechukwu Esomugha, better known as Jim Iyke is a top Nollywood actor. He has featured in over 100 movies. Born in Libreville, Gabon on the 25th of September, 1976, Jim Iyke is the only boy in a family of eight children. Jim Iyke started acting in 2001 and has featured in over 100 movies. He is currently one of the most paid Nollywood actors.
18. Eucharia Anunobi: Eucharia Anunobi, (born 25 May 1965) is a Nigerian actress, producer, and pastor. She is best known for her role in the movie Abuja Connection. Eucharia came into limelight for her role in the movie series Glamour Girls in 1994 and has gone on to star in over 90 movies including Abuja Connection and Letters to a Stranger. She is currently serving as an evangelist at a church in Egbeda, Lagos State.
19. Osita Iheme: Osita Iheme is widely known for playing the role of ‘Pawpaw’ in the film Aki na Ukwa alongside Chinedu Ikedieze. He has gone on to become one of the most in-demand actors in Nollywood. In 2007 Osita received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the African Movie Academy Awards. He is considered to be one of Nigeria’s most famous actors. In 2011, he was honoured as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic (MFR).
20. Chinedu Ikedieze: Chinedu Ikedieze popularly known as Aki is an award-winning Actor, who gained popularity, and breakthrough in the industry after the movie Aki ni Ukwa. He is also a comedian and an entrepreneur. He got his big break and rose to limelight in 2002 when he acted as Aki in the movie Aki na Ukwa. Since then, the name Aki has stuck as a household name. Presently, Chinedu Ikedieze is one of the most recognized faces in Nollywood, as his movies are enjoyed everyone, regardless of age.