THE spotlight this week is on eight notable actors who are above 70 and have continued to take on challenging and impressive acting roles both on the big and small screen. To qualify for this diet, the actor or actress has to be 70 and above and should have featured in a movie recently or be working on one…
Chief Lere Paimo (Eda Onile Ola)
VETERAN movie actor Chief Lere Paimo is still working at 84. When the biopic on the late controversial Ibadan based politician Lamidi Adedibu titled Adedibu, Alagbara Ibadan is released later this year, the veteran actor will feature as ‘Adedibu’.
Chief Paimo revealed in a recent interview that he has featured in four other movies within the last one year. Popular as ‘Eda Onile Ola’, the recipient of several awards, including the award of the national honours of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR), worked as a classroom teacher before his foray into theatre and then movies. It was while working as a teacher at the Baptist Missionary School that he joined the then foremost Osogbo based Oyin Adejobi Theatre group founded by Pa Oyinade Adejobi.
From the Oyin Adejobi Theatre group, Chief Paimo joined the late Duro Ladipo Theatre group. It was while under the artistic tutelage that Chief Paimo got the opportunity to feature as ‘Eda,’ a Yoruba version of the epic play, Everyman. It was his delightful performance as ‘Eda’ that earned him the alias ‘Eda Onile Ola’. Star of the epic Yoruba movie titled Ogbori Elemoso, the Ogbomoso, Oyo State born octogenarian who doubles as a performance poet and dancer is still grabbing credits at 84.
Dame Taiwo Ajai-Lycett, OON
WHEN the epic movie Elesin Oba (The Kings Horseman) as directed by the late Biyi Bandele was released last year after a premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), the legendary Taiwo Ajai-Lycett featured as Madam Taiwo. At 82, there is just no stopping the stage and screen goddess Taiwo Ajai-Lycett whom younger colleagues simply refer to as Auntie TAL. The actress, poet, and philanthropist is still very active as a performer and cultural activist.
A trained photojournalist and a member of numerous professional organisations, TAL who was in 2006 awarded the national honour of Officer of the Order of the Niger (OON), started her acting career on stage at the prestigious Royal Court Theatre London. She has also appeared in numerous UK Television drama productions.
Back home in Nigeria, TAL found home on the live stage and on screen. Some of her stage and screen appearances include, Song of a Goat, Death and the King’s Horseman, Winds Against My Soul, Dazzling Mirage and more recently Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys and Elesin Oba.
Esther Idowu-Phillips (Mama Rainbow)
THE veteran actress of the screen and stage Esther Idowu Phillips aka Iya Rainbow or Mrs. Fabulous will be 81 on October 16. The fiery actress clocked 80 last years and was celebrated by her fans and colleagues. The actress also received a lifetime achievement award from the organisers of the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
Undeniably strong, active and agile, Iya Rainbow hails from Odogbolu in Ogun State. A mother, grandmother and trained nurse, Mama Rainbow, who was married to the late actor Femi Phillips Oroniyi, had her debut on stage. It was from the stage that the mother of five children moved to television and then home movies.
The first set of movies the elderly actress featured in includes Aje Ni Iya Mi, Eru, and Asiri Nla. She has since moved on to feature in about 500 movies, including television commercials and still counting.
Lanre Hassan (Mama Awero)
AT 73, veteran actress Lanre Hassan aka Iya Awero is still working and leaving memorable impressions. An indigene of Lagos Island (Isale-Eko), Lagos State, Olanrewaju Adesina Hassan earned the alias Iya Awero because of her role in the defunct television comedy series Comedy Half Hour, produced by the Ojo Ladipo theatre group. It was as a member of the Ojo Ladipo group that Mama Awero’s love for acting became intense.
When the legendary Ojo Ladipo died, the Ojo Ladipo Group was renamed Awada Kerikeri Organisation (AKO) and Mama Awero stayed on and performed on stage and screen leaving positive impressions after impressions. She has not looked back since then and the mother, grandmother and a Fellow of the National Association of Nigerian Theatre Arts Practitioners (NANTAP), has not done anything else apart from featuring in movies, television and stage productions with her most recent being her appearance as Iya Loja’ in Kemi Adetiba’s King of Boys.
Chief Kareem Adepoju (Baba Wande)
VETERAN actor, producer and writer Alhaji Kareem Adepoju is still working at 78. Star of the 1993 classic, Ti Oluwa Nile and the 1994 classic Ayo Ni Mofe, the veteran actor began his acting career in 1962 and he has remained relevant till date.
Popular as Baba Wande, he has breathed memorable life into diverse roles both on stage and on screen. An award-winning actor and movie producer and star of Fate of Alakada (2020) and Oba Bi Olorun (2021), Baba Wande who began professional acting in 1963 with the Duro Ladipo Theatre Group has featured in over 300 movie productions and has equally, produced many and still counting.
Chief Pete Edochie (Ebubedike)
THERE is no stopping veteran actor and broadcaster Chief Pete Edochie at 76. The holder of the national honour award of Member of the Order of the Niger (MON) is still grabbing roles in moviedom.
Described as one of Africa’s most talented actors, Ebubedike as the actor is simply called, rode into prominence in the 1980s when he played the lead role of Okonkwo in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s all time classic, Things Fall Apart.
He joined Nollywood from television and he has so far featured in over 200 movie productions and still counting. Some of his most recent movie appearances include Lion Heart, Night Bus to Lagos and Unroyal.
Chief Bayo Salami (Oga Bello)
AT 71, veteran actor and producer Chief Bayo Salami aka Oga Bello is still relevant in the movie industry as butter is to bread.
An actor and producer of vast credit, Oga Bello began his acting career in 1964. He has continued to produce and or feature in movie productions since then with the latest being an appearance in the epic feature King of Thieves produced by his son Femi Adebayo.
VETERAN stage and screen actor Peter Fatomilola is 77 and he still working. A dramatist, poet and prolific playwright, the actor who is best known for playing a priest in most Yoruba movies has been grabbing roles with ease since he began acting over five decades ago. His most recent acting credits include Gold Statue (2019), Rise of the Saints (2020) and Love Castle (2021).