When you think of Nollywood old days you will remember these legends. These are the veteran of Nollywood who have taken a bow to the call of death over the years. These guys are the bedrock of Nollywood. They are part of the image that projected Nollywood to global fame. These guys paved the way for new talents and rested after projected the industry for so many years with their superlative talent and prowess. These Nollywood celebrities where legends in their creative field and entertained us very well until their call to glory. So to celebrate them we decided to compile a list of the top 10 Nollywood celebrities who left us to the underworld.
These celebrities contributed immensely to the success of Nollywood in Nigeria and rest of the world. Their passion, determination, hard work and creativity put Nollywood on the spotlight. Unfortunately these celebrities are no more but their legacy still lives. Their success and achievement in the Nigerian movie industry will always be remembered and their contribution to the growth of Nollywood will never be forgotten. So not to waste much of your time, I present to you the 10 Nollywood fallen heroes that can never be forgotten.
1. Enebeli Elebewu
Enebeli Elebuwa was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 5th December 2012. He was popularly known for playing the role of a king Nollywood movies. He was born on 14th February 1947 in Delta State and died on 4th December 2012 in India at the age of 65 years old. He was a prolific Nigerian veteran actor who has acted in over 200 Nollywood movies. He is one of the most recognizable and respected faces in the ever growing Nigerian entertainment industry popularly known as Nollywood which is currently the most popular film industry on the African continent as a whole.
He is an Ukwuani by origin from Isumpe quarters of Utagba-Uno in Ndokwa-West Local Government Area of Delta State in the south southern part of Nigeria. He joined Nollywood in the late 80s and have starred in movies like Royal War, Bent Arrows, Against my Blood, A Prize to Pay, City of Kings, Last Dance, Abuja Connection, When the Heart Lies and many more before his death. Enebeli Elebuwa suffered a major stroke and was flown overseas for medical treatment. He died at the age of 65 years old in a hospital in New Delhi, India on 5th December 2012 and was laid to rest at Victoria Court Cemetery in Ajah, Lagos State in the south western part of Nigeria.
2. Sam Loco Efe
Sam Loco Efe was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 7th August 2011. He is a Nollywood legendary comic actor who has been described as the best and most decorated comic actor in Nigeria, popularly known for his heavy use of grammatical words in a comic manner. He was born on 25th December 1945 in Enugu State, Nigeria. His father was of Benin ancestry who worked in Eastern Nigeria and his mother was a petty trader who sold bean cakes. He spent considerable part of his childhood in the town of Abakaliki in Ebonyi State, Nigeria. His first experience with acting was at his school when a theatre group came to stage a play called “The Doctor”.
In elementary school, he played the role of Julius Caesar in a Shakespearean play which earned him a scholarship. After his secondary school education, Sam Loco Efe joined a traveling theatre group and played soccer, earning for himself the title of Moniker Locomotive. Sam Loco Efe is one of the most talented actor in Nollywood who uses grammatical words and vocabulary in his diction and communications while acting in movies. On 7th August 2011, Sam Loco Efe died at the age of 65 years old on a movie location, in his hotel room in Owerri the capital city of Imo State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. The cause of his death was suspected asthma.
3. Geraldine Ekeocha
Geraldine Ekeocha was a veteran Nollywood actress who died on 4th September 2011. She feature mostly mother in several Nollywood movies. She was born on 15th June 1955 in Imo State and died on 4th September 2011 at the University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital (UNTH) Ituku Ozalla in Enugu, Nigeria at the age of 56 years old. She joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) in the late 90s. Sadly, Geraldine Ekeocha died on 4th September 2011 in Enugu State at the age of 56 years old. She died during a fibroid operation. It was gathered that she died at the age of 56 years old living behind her 7 children comprising of 6 girls and 1 boy. It was also gathered that Geraldine Ekeocha was diagnosed with liver cancer before she kicked the bucket.
4. Justus Esiri
Justus Esiri was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 19th February 2013. He was generally considered to be one of the pillars of Nollywood with an acting career that goes way back to the 1960s. He was born on 20th November 1942 in Oria-Abraka, Delta State, Nigeria and died on 19th February 2013 in a hospital in Lagos State, Nigeria from complications of diabetes at the age of 70 years old. He attended Maximilian University, Prof. Weners Institute of Engineering and Ahrens School of Performing Arts all in Germany and obtained his Bachelor’s, Master’s and Doctorate Degree in Performing Arts. Justus Esiri is also the proud father of Nigeria popular artiste Dr Sid. Sadly, Justus Esiri died on 19th February 2013 in a hospital in Lagos from complications of diabetes at the age of 70 years old. A tribute night, organized by the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN) was held at the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria on 8th April 2013 to honor him.
5. J.T Tom West
J.T Tom West was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 28th September 2006. He was known as the first hit man in Nollywood. He was the first actor that brought action film to live. The legendary Nollywood actor died mysteriously in a car accident on 28th September 2006 in Lagos, Nigeria on his way back home from a movie location. His dead was mysterious and tragic. He was born as Joe Tamuno-Bibidamaa in 1954 but was popularly known as J.T Tom West. He was born and bred in Port Harcourt. He was 52 years old when he died. He was popularly known as the Nollywood Bad Boy because of the rugged and criminal roles he played in movies. He joined Nollywood in 1992. He rose to fame after acting in the blockbuster movie “State of Emergency” a movie produced and directed by Teco Benson. He has also starred in movies like Force Alarm, The Captor, State of Emergency, The President Must Not Die, Above the Law, and many more before his death.
6. Muna Obiekwe
Muna Obiekwe was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 18th January 2015. He acts mostly in romantic and action movies alongside with other several top Nollywood celebrities. He was born in 1979 in Lagos, Nigeria and died on 18th January 2015 in Festac Town, Lagos State, Nigeria at the age of 36 years old after been diagnosed of kidney disease. Muna Obiekwe is originally from Enugu State. He joined the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) in the late 90s and since then till his death, has acted in several Nollywood blockbuster movies. Some of the movies he has acted include Across the Bridge, The Laptop, Negative Influence, Men in Love, Eyes of the Gods and many more. He was secretly married to Gift Obiekwe and the marriage was blessed with two beautiful kids. He kept his marriage secret and his private life personal until his untimely and painful death which was caused by Kidney disease.
7. Dede One Day
Dede One Day was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 14th December 2015. The comic actor has been described as the best, most decorated and most talented comic actor in Nigeria and a master of ceremony. Dede One Day whose real name is Peter Onwuzurike Onyehidelam is one of Nigerian best comic actor known for his hilarious comedy movies, shows, events and audio tape. He was born and raised in Aba, Abia State. He is originally from Umuagwuru Mbieri in Imo State, Nigeria. Dede One Day started his career as a stand-up comedian and master of ceremony (MC) in the early 90s. He rose to fame after releasing his comedy audio series “Laugh With Me” a comedy talk show which is very hilarious and causes comic relief. In 2003 he joined Nollywood professionally. Unfortunately, on 14th December 2015, Dede One Day died after he slumped while performing at an event in Aba, Abia State, Nigeria. It was later discovered that Dede One Day tragic death was caused by complications of hypertension and high blood pressure.
8. Bukky Ajayi
Bukky Ajayi was a veteran Nollywood actress who died on died on 6th July 2016. She is known for her grandmother role in movies. Bukky Ajayi was born on 2nd February 1934 in Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria and died on 6th July 2016 at her residence in Surulere, Lagos at the age of 82 years old. She died a peaceful death out of old age. After completing her primary and secondary school education, she proceeded to England on a federal government scholarship to complete her tertiary education. In 1965, Bukky Ajayi left England for Nigeria where her career began as a presenter and newscaster for the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in 1966. She started acting in 1970 and made her first film debut in the television series “Village Headmaster” produced by Nigerian Television Authority (NTA). Some of the movies she has acted include checkmate, Critical Assignment, Diamond Ring, Witches, Hotel Majestic, Mother of George, A Brighter Sun, Big Heart Treasure, and many more. In 2016, she was awarded the Industry Merit Award at the 2016 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. Unfortunately, on 6th July 2016, Bukky Ajayi died at her residence in Surulere, Lagos State, Nigeria at the age of 82 years old. It was gather that she died a peaceful death caused by old age.
9. Pete Eneh
Pete Eneh was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on died on 15th November 2012. He was known for her fatherly role in movies. He was born in 1944 in Port Harcourt, River State and died on 15th November 2012 in Enugu, Nigeria at the age of 68 years old. Pete Eneh is one of the pioneers of the Nigerian movie industry (Nollywood) and contributed immensely to the growth of Nollywood in Nigeria and around the world. He has acted in more than 150 Nollywood movies which include Issakaba, Perfect Temptation, Royal Palace, Heavy Rain, Fire on the Mountain, The Suitors, Abeg Marry Us, and many more. He acts mostly as an elder, traditional ruler, good father, grandfather, traditional prime minister and a title chief in several Nollywood movies. Unfortunately, on 15th November 2012, Pete Eneh, died after leg amputation due to an infection on the leg in Enugu at the age of 68 years old. He was one of the highly respected and most talented actors Nigeria has ever produced.
10. Ashley Nwosu
Ashley Nwosu was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on died on 21st April 2011. He features mostly as a father and title chief in several Nollywod movies. He was born on 21st November 1954 in Umuahia-Oboro, Abia State, Nigeria and died on 21st April 2011 at the Military Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, Nigeria at the age of 56 years old. He is originally from Umugu-Oboro in Ikwano Local Government Area of Abia State, Nigeria. He was the 4th child in a family of seven children. Ashley Nwosu attended Umuigu Central Primary School and Oboro Secondary School both in Umuahia-Oboro, Abia State. After which he proceeded to University of Nigeria, Nsukka and graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology. Unfortunately, on 21st April 2011 Ashley Nwosu died at the age of 56 years old at the Military Hospital, Yaba, Lagos State, Nigeria, leaving behind his wife and five children. The cause of his death was due to liver disease he has been battling for months.
11. Maya Njubuigbo
Martins Njubuigbo was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 1st October 2016. He was known for his role as a titled chief, elder and traditional chief priest in several Nollywood movies. He has acted in blockbuster movies like Indemnity, The Barrister, De Prof, Died Wretched, Battle of Musanga and many more. Unfortunately, veteran Nollywood actor, Martins Njubuigbo, popularly known as Elder Maya died on Friday, 1st October 2016 after battling with a liver-related ailment. His son confirmed his demise on his official Facebook account. Before his death, he has been battling with Liver disease for many years. After a prolonged battle with liver disease, the Nollywood veteran actor whom age is no longer by his side died on Friday, 1st October 2016 which happens to be Nigeria’s Independent day. And the cause of his death was liver disease.
12. Peter Brunor
Peter Brunor was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 1st May 2015. He known for his role as a father in several Nollywood movies. He was born in Ogwashi Uku in Delta State, Nigeria. He joined Nollywood in the early 90s. He rose to fame after starring in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Checkmates”. Some of the movies he has acted include Glamour Girls, Memorial Hospital, Sound of Destiny, Second Chance, Third Eye and many more. Unfortunately, Peter Bunor was reported to have died in Asaba, Delta State. He died in the early hours of Friday, 1st May 2015 in Asaba, Delta State. His death was announced by his son, Peter Bunor Jr, through his Facebook post. The late actor, who had featured in many movies, died at the age of 60 years old. His son Peter Bunor Junior broke the news of his father’s demise on his official Facebook page and it was reported that the cause of his death was due to a deadly stroke.
13. Prince James Uche
Prince James Uche was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on8th March 2017. He joined Nollywood in late 90s and acted in his first movie Igodo, a Nollywood blockbuster movie which brought him to limelight. He has also acted in other movies like Coronation which was produced in 2004 and The Councilor which was produced in 2005. Prince James Uche was earlier suffering from Diabetes, Blindness, High Blood Pressure and Kidney disease for over 8 years which kept him off the screen. Unfortunately, he died on 8th March 2017 at a private hospital in Festac Town, Lagos where he had been for two years after a long battle with a kidney related disease. Prince James Uche was a onetime National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria (AGN). Some of the movies he has acted include The Counselor, Igodo, Coronation and The Lost Kingdom, and many more.
14. Obi Madubogwo
Obi Madubogwo was a veteran Nollywood actor who died on 28th August 2017. He joined Nollywood in late 90s. He was known for his role as King of Musanga in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Battle of Musanga”. According to multiple reports, the veteran actor had battled with acute diabetic foot ulcers, before finally giving up the ghost on Monday, 28th August 2017. He hails from Ogidi in Anambra State, Nigeria. The highest point in his career was when he was cast to play as King Musanga in the Nollywood blockbuster movie “Battle of Musanga” an epic film still considered as the most expensive production with the largest cast and crew in the industry. After which he acted in another blockbuster movie titled “Conspiracy”. He is the founder of Saving Life for Africa Diabetes Foundation which he established in 2009. His last cinematic outing was the 2015 movie “Grave Dust” which was produced by him and starred star actors like Ramsey Nouah, Joke Silva and Joseph Benjamin. In December 2016, he was hospitalized at the Federal Medical Centre, inside Railway Corporation in Ebute Metta, Lagos, where he was been rendered immobile by diabetes and deteriorating diabetic wounds. He was married to Madubogwu Obianuju Ngozi and the couples were blessed with beautiful kids. Unfortunately, Obi Madubogwu battled with diabetes until he lost his life on 28th August 2017.