With the Oscars on my mind, it is time to eulogise a very fine African actor. He may never win a physical Oscar statuette, but he sure has won the hearts of Nigerians and Africans with his decades-long performances, on-stage and on-screen. Olu Jacobs has literally been acting forever. Well, he has been acting longer than I have been living.
The 70-year old thespian with the baritone voice and commanding appearance is the one and only, Olu Jacobs. Younglings aspire to match his depth of charisma and proficient carriage of characters and plots. Not for him, the two-bit movie roles that leave a sour taste in your mouth, and a hollowness in your stomach. In his heydays he was the standard of decency and professionalism. Not that he has lost his touch, but with age, comes restrictions; off and on-screen.
Oludotun Jacobs was born in July, 1942, and is a son of Ogun State. He was captivated from a tender age by the world of drama and stage performances, and when he watched Herbert Ogunde perform on stage in Kano-his birth place- his mind was made up. In 1964, he travelled to England and was trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, England contrary to his Father’s wishes. After graduation, he worked with a gamut of theatres in Britain; he was a member of the National Theatre of Great Britain. Olu Jacobs went on to star then star in several British television shows and series in the 1970s. These include The Goodies, Till Death Us Do Part, Barlow at Large, The Venturers, Angels, 1990, The Tomorrow People, and The Professionals. In the 1980s Olu Jacobs starred in several international films some of which include John Irvin’s war film The Dogs of War, Roman Polanski’s adventure-comedy Pirates and the family-adventure film Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend. If you didn’t know that, glad to be of service.
On his return to Nigeria, Olu Jacobs formed a company which majored in stage performances-home videos as a concept was yet unknown and Nollywood was yet a dream-until television series became popular. Olu Jacob’s first major role was the production of a television series “Vigilante” that starred Richard Mofe-Damijo; a consummate actor. It will thus be accurate to say that he was there, playing midwife as Nollywood went through its birthing pains. Olu Jacobs has reportedly starred in over 120 Nollywood movies.
In 2007 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role, an award which many believed was long overdue. Well, better late than never I say.
The founder of Olufodo Academy of Performing Arts, which he co-founded with wife Joke Silva–actress extraordinaire- Olu Jacobs is blessed with children, a vibrant career and a staggering legacy. He has no retirement plans in the near future either.
So, on behalf of Konnect Africa, I present you a KA Oscar!