By Funmilola Olukomaiya
The Nollywood industry is one that is blessed with so many talented professionals, who have made their marks in the sand of time.
Unfortunately, the industry tends to be comfortable with having some of its most gifted actors play the same role over and over again while such actors seem to stabilize into their preferred roles without looking to take up more tasking roles.
The trend of typecasting and stereotyping Nollywood actors according to critics have proven to affect their prowess and creativity and more often than not when such actors are featured in an entirely different role, it suddenly feels out of place.
Below are 15 of some of the most popular and talented Nollywood acts who became famous from playing the same over and over again.
1. Patience Ozokwor
61-year-old Nigerian actress also known as Mama G became known for playing the role of the wicked mother, mother-in-law or wife. Whenever the name of this award-winning actress pops up, the first thing that comes to mind is the image of an evil woman who derives pleasure in physically intimidating and spiritually manipulating her victims. It can’t be denied that she plays the role to perfection. But then, we would love to see her play some more dignifying and challenging roles.
2. Sola Sobowale
Notable actress, Sola Sobowale also known as Toyin Tomato is a known face who has been in the industry for decades. She is famous for playing the role of a ‘no-nonsense’, hot-tempered wife who cannot condone rivalry and a high-ranking area mama, who commands respect from her followers. Sola started her career with the movie Sura the Tailor. Thereafter, she was featured in the Village Headmaster, Mirror in the Sun, and had her big break with Oh Father, Oh Daughter; a Super Story drama series where she bagged the name ‘Toyin Tomato’.
3. John Okafor
Nollywood actor and comedian, John Okafor popularly known as Mr. Ibu is known for his roles as a lousy lazy good-for-nothing lout lazing around doing nothing good either as an annoying son, husband or friend. He is also very notorious for being very annoying over the things he does and says, and how he does or says such things.
4. Adebayo Salami
Adebayo Salami a.k.a Oga Bello is a veteran per excellence. He got the name ‘Oga Bello’ in the T.V soap opera, the Village Headmaster. Oga Bello is known for his roles as a rich father, uncle and sugar daddy. His roles are usually synonymous with that of a rich man although he has featured as a poor man in a few movies, one of which is ‘Omo Ghetto’.
5. Jim Iyke
Nollywood’s James Ikechukwu Esomugha, popularly known as Jim Iyke is not just an actor, but an entrepreneur and Nigerian media personality who began his acting career in 2001. He became prominent in Nollywood for his roles either as a drug addict, Yankee returnee with an accent, a bully, spoilt bad guy, or an arrogant Cassanova. It is evident that when you watch most of his movies, he is seen acting the same tough, hard-hitting, frowning guy, and you wonder why.
6. Pete Edochie
Nollywood legend and one of Africa’s most talented actors, Pete Edochie is one actor that is well respected and revered in the Nigerian entertainment space. He began his career as a seasoned administrator and broadcaster, and he gained prominence in the 1980s when he played the lead role of Okonkwo in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s all-time best selling novel, Things Fall Apart. Pete has since become big in the game. This lanky father of the industry is known to play strict and evil roles either as a king, father, husband or uncle. An attribute that sets him apart in Nollywood is the fact that he can never be physically beaten. Even if he plays a downtrodden character, he can never be clapped, beaten, or bodily maltreated.
7. Sambasa Nzeribe
Chiedozie Nzeribe Siztus popularly known as Sambasa is a Nollywood actor, model and entertainer. Sambasa made his debut in the Nollywood movie scene in 2013. He won the prestigious AMVCA in the Best Supporting Actor’ category for his role as Ghetto in the movie, “A Soldier’s Story”. Sambasa has since risen in the movie industry to be a choice actor known to play out his villain roles perfectly.
8. Peter Fatomilola
74-year-old Peter Fatomilola is a Nigerian dramatist, film actor, lecturer, poet and a prolific playwright. Peter was the first “Papa Ajasco”, the lead role in a comedy film produced by Wale Adenuga. He is a son of a Chief Ifa Priest, little wonder his background is believed to have influenced his prominent herbalist roles in movies. He is known for his unique knowledge of herbs and the Yoruba tradition.
9. Camilla Mberekpe
Camilla Mberekpe is a famous Nollywood actress and a television personality known for playing wicked roles in movies. She became famous for acting wicked ‘witch’ roles. She starred in “Across the River”, a movie that opened her door to fame and earned a nomination for the Best Actress in a supporting role at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
10. Iretiola Doyle
Iretiola Doyle is an accomplished writer, actor, producer and presenter; who is famous for her roles as a rich, arrogant and independent societal woman, mum or mother-in-law. She began her career in the entertainment industry in the 90s and over time, has horned her skills in stage, television, film and print works.
11. Olusegun Akinremi
Top Nollywood actor Olusegun Akinremi, popularly called Chief Kanran, is a veteran in his right who rose to fame with his roles as a rich polygamist and sugar daddy. The big man role suits him like a second skin maybe because of his aura and charisma, you would think he has the riches outside acting.
12. Chiwetalu Agu
Veteran Nigerian actor, Chiwetalu Agu is known to be funny and famous for his usage of specific language slang, phrases or cliche’s in movies. He is undoubted the most stereotyped actor in Nollywood and is known for his roles as an evil village uncle who is capable of wiping out an entire village, he is also very synonymous for playing villain and antihero. It would indeed be refreshing to see him act a completely different role.
13. Fausat Balogun
Fausat Balogun is a Nollywood actress who stars majorly in Yoruba movies. She starred as Mama Saje in a 1990 television series titled ‘Erin Kee Kee’. Madam Saje is famous in movies for acting motherly roles either as a mother or mother-in-law. She also plays the roles of a high-class society woman with fame, riches and influence. She is often paired with Odunlade Adekola to act as his mother in movies. Usually, her roles are pleasant, warm and loving except on a few occasions when she acts otherwise.
14. Kelvin Ikeduba
Kelvin Ngozi Ikeduba popularly known as Kelvin Ikeduba is a famous Nollywood actor, model and a television personality. He is a popular Nollywood bad guy who is famous for his roles as a cultist, thief, bully and villain. In 2014, Kelvin won the award for Best Cross Over Actor at the Yoruba Movie Academy Awards (YMAA) and he is predominantly known for his diversity in the Nigerian movie industry
15. Mufutau Sanni
Popular Yoruba Nollywood actor, Mufutau Sanni aka Ajigijaga who started his acting and film making career in 1981, was famous for starring as a notorious rogue and his roles as a ring leader of criminal activities in Yoruba movies during his lifetime. He died at his Lagos residence at Oko-Oba, Agege, on July 31st, 2015.