Old Nollywood actors, actresses; 8 veterans who are still reigning

Deborah Dan-Awoh

Joke Silver, Richard Mofe Damijo and Sola Sobowale are among the train of veteran stars still trending in the Nollywood Industry.

Solar Sobowale RMD and Ireti Doyle

Over the last 10 years, Nollywood has experienced tremendous growth, and new faces of the industry have emerged. Like the saying 'Soldier go, Soldier come.' However, that's not the case for some Nollywood oldies who have proved that age and time only make things better.

Veteran actors like Olu Jacobs Joke Silva lend their experience to a wide variety of roles and add needed depth while proving the possibility of an active acting career regardless of ageing bias. These veteran Nollywood stars have explored the industry and built range; many of them have continued to put in the work and remain relevant.

This article curates a shortlist of 8 old Nollywood actors and actresses who have become A-listers. The actors had to be around 50 and be involved in any film production within 4 years to qualify.

Credits to Instagram /solasobowale

1. Sola Sobowale

After a thriving movie career of over 20years Sola Sobowale is one veteran who has shown that real talent doesn't age.

A veteran in the Nigerian movie industry, the actress Sola Sobowale is known for her versatility and character especially since her debut Toyin Tomato role in Superstory.

The light-skinned actress started out as an indigenous Yoruba actor, gradually she picked up roles in the English Nigerian movie industry.

Sobowale owes her top-notch acting skills to years of dedication and commitment. Last year, the actress Sobowale gave another stunning performance in the anticipated "Return of the King".

Playing the lead character as Eniola Salami of the Kemi Adetiba film, Sola Sobowale shows her acting prowess is unmatched in " The King of Boys".

Although the actress took a brief exit from the industry to care for her family in the UK since her return to our screens-Nollywood has not been the same.

The Wedding Party 1&2 which broke the box office record as the highest-grossing movie also saw her play a principal role as the mother of the bride-to-be (Adesua Etomi).

55-year-old Sola Sobowale is more than a legend-she also snagged a role in Kunle Afolayan's upcoming movie project.

Many Nigerians have applauded the movie star, and no one would be surprised if she bags a major award soon.

Pete Edochie

2. Pete Edochie

Pete Edochie,(born March 7, 1947, is a Nigerian veteran actor. 

Edochie is considered one of Africa’s most talented actors after being honoured with an Industry Merit Award by Africa Magic and Lifetime Achievement by Africa Film Academy.

Despite Pete's background as a seasoned administrator and broadcaster, he arrived in Nollywood in the 1980s taking the industry by storm after playing the lead role of Okonkwo in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s all-time best selling novel, Things Fall Apart.

Exuding charisma and grace, "Odogwu" (his nickname for always acting as royalty) Edochie is vast in delivering on his roles- from businessman, Father, Uncle to Igwe(King, monarch in the igboland).

An all time screen god, Pete starred in the Netflix film directed by Genevieve Nnaji "Lionheart" as the father of Adaeze alongside singer Onyeka Onwenu. 

His natural acting talent and capacity to embody any character has placed him on a high pedestal and put him in a league of his own. Right now, Edochie's stance in the industry has made him an inspiration to many upcoming actors.

Ireti Doyle

3. Ireti Doyle

Popular for her impeccable appearance and excellent command of the English language, Ireti Doyle has proven that slow and steady always wins the race.

For 10 years, Doyle, a writer, actor, producer and presenter, produced and presented her fashion and lifestyle show Oge With Iretiola.

She was nominated at the 2016 Africa Movie Academy Awards in the Best Actress  A Leading Role category for EbonyLife film Fifty.

Known for her uppity air and snobbish roles, Ireti Doyle appeared in Arbitration and The Wedding Party 1&2.

At 50, the actress Ireti has remained stunning and continued to get more roles in other films like; Dinner and Madam President, Merry Men 3 etc.

Kanayo O Kanayo

4. Kanayo O Kanayo

Famous for his stereotypical character role as the villain and rituals, Anayo Modestus Onyekwere, aka Kanayo o Kanayo is another favourite veteran actor.

Kanayo made his debut with the movie "Living in bondage" in 1992. The Mbaise, born actor Kanayo, won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance in the movie "Family Battle" in 2006.

The 60year old Kanayo has appeared in Up North, Living in Bondage: the remake by Playnetworks and Lionheart.

Patience Ozokwor

5. Patience Ozokwo

Mama G or Patience Ozokwor has been a household name since forever! She is one of the veteran actresses in Nollywood who are still reigning.

Famous for her stereotype character as the "wicked mother-in-law", Patience Ozokwor is considered one of the pioneers of Nollywood. With an acting portfolio of over two decades, Patience contributed immensely to Nollywood.

An accomplished winner of the Best Supporting Actress of the Year Award at the 10th Africa Movie Academy Awards(2005)- Ozorwor is not going anywhere soon.

Even if she graces our screens, occasionally, her endorsement deals with Glo and Dettol will see her appearance on TV.

 She has starred in  Living in Bondage, My Sweet Mother, Aguba, Witches, Atinga, The Coven, Idemili, The Calabash, Old School and The Wedding Party 1&2, Chief Daddy 2 .

Nkem Owoh

6. Nkem Owoh

Following the enormous success of his breakout movie "Osuofia in London", Nkem Owoh has remained relevant in the industry. A naturally talented comic actor Owoh's way with words always resulted in regular bursts of laughter.

Born in 1958, Nkem Owoh displays an unusual acting prowess that makes him unforgettable. He won the African Movie Academy Award (AMAA) for Best Actor in a Leading Role in 2008.

Owoh had his big break in acting after landing a role in the screen adaptation of Chinua Achebe's Things Fall Apart- a 1987 series with fifty episodes each spanning about 50 minutes airing on Nigerian Television Authority.

As the Nollywood industry grew, Nkem Owoh starred in  Ukwa 1 and 2 in 1995. He also starred in Genevieve Nnaji's Lionheart film, Bovi's My Village People and Chief Daddy 2.

Joke Silva

7. Joke Silva

Since the early 90s, Joke Silva has made a name for herself in film and TV, including "Mind-Bending", Phone Swap, The Secret Laughter of Women, Last Wedding etc.

Happily married to a colleague and legendary actor Olu Jacobs, Joke Silva has maintained a tireless work ethic, playing roles in "Chief Daddy", The Set-Up, Namaste Wahala and The Royal Hibiscus Hotel.

Easily one of the most talented veteran actresses, Joke Silva recently appeared in Kunle Afolayan's "Citation", Rita Dominic's "Light in the Dark" La Femme Anjola and The Wait.

Richard Mofe Damijo

8. Richard Mofe Damijo

Sugar Daddy of Lagos or Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD) is a multiple-award-winning Nigerian actor, writer, producer, lawyer and CEO of RMD Productions Limited.

RMD is referred to as Sugar Daddy of Lagos by crushing fans for his ageless and classy look. The veteran actor who clocked 60 last year has aged gracefully over the years.

Richard Mofe Damijo broke out in the 1997 movie titled ‘Out of Bounds’ and has garnered roles in Namaste Wahala, Fine Wine, God Calling, Therapy and others.

The dashing actor has been active and since starred in movies like King Of Boys: Return of the King, Wedding Party 1&2,  Love is War, Gold Statue and Seven.

 Often referred to as the ‘hottest grandpa‘ by fans for his looks and sense of style, RMD is a face we will see on our screens for a long time.