Chiwetalu Agu is a veteran Nollywood actor and comedian who has been in the Nigerian film industry for almost 40 years. He was born on 27th October 1956 in Amokwe, Udi Local Government Area of Enugu State in the south eastern part of Nigeria. He is currently 65 years old. He attended Municipal Council School and Saint Luke’s Primary School both in Enugu coal city of Enugu State in the south eastern part of Nigeria and obtained his First School Leaving Certificate.
After completing his primary school education, Chiwetalu Agu proceeded further to College of Immaculate Conception (CIC) in Enugu and obtained his West African Senior School Certificate. While still in secondary school he was actively involved in performing art and was among the group that performed Hamlet, a Williams Shakespeare historical fiction.
Chiwetalu Agu is popularly known as Ichie Ogwu. He is very funny and always use comedy slangs to portray his role in movies. He acts mostly as a title chief, traditional prime minister and evil father in-law in several Nollywood movies. In 2012, he won Nollywood award for ‘best actor in indigenous movie (non-English speaking language) at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards. His usage of specific language slangs, phrases or clichés in many films has made him unique and a household name in Nigeria and among Nollywood fans in general.
While asserting that comic genres is a unique vehicle in projecting Nigerian culture globally as well as establishing the Nollywood brand, Chiwetalu Agu has been listed as one of the outstanding comedians who have contributed immensely to the development of Nollywood comic genres by Prof. Femi Shaka of the University of Port Harcourt.
Chiwetalu Agu is happily married to Nkechi and the marriage is blessed with three sons and two daughters. Chiwetalu Agu’s versatility dates back to the transition of Nigerian television soap operas to Nollywood movies. Before the inception of Nollywood, about 31 years ago, television soap opera was the order of the day and Chiwetalu Agu featured in Nigerian television Authority Channel 8 Enugu’s Ikoro, produced by Joe Onyekwelu. He also featured in ETV Channel 50, now ESBS in soaps opera like Baby Come Now and Ripples which was produced by Chico Ejiro’s brother Zeb Ejiro and played the character of Chief Abunna.
Chiwetalu Agu has raised controversies with comments where he has said that he will act for a good price and described the sexual harassment alleged in Nollywood as an issue with a general phenomenon. He added that “Nollywood actresses are well endowed with beauty and that is why they are irresistible by film producers.”
On 7th October 2021, Chiwetalu Agu was arrested by soldiers at Upper Iweka Bridge in Onitsha and spent a night in custody before the National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas secured his release from the Nigerian Army after being questioned for wearing the Biafra outfit. He was arrested after he was spotted wearing an outfit depicting the flag of Biafra.
In 2012, Chiwetalu Agu was nominated for ‘the best actor in indigenous movie at the Nollywood Movie Awards for his role in Nkwocha. In 2011, he was nominated for best supporting actor award at the Zulu African Film Academy Awards for his role in The Maidens.
After completing his primary and secondary school education, Chiwetalu Agu went further to Miinchen College in Enugu and obtains a National Diploma in Dramatics Arts. His professional acting career took off immediately after his graduation from Miinchen College Enugu in 1981 as he took part in the NTA drama series Things Fall Apart, where he played the role of Anikwu while Pete Edochie played the role of Okonkwo. Things Fall Apart is a historical traditional fiction story written by literary icon Chinua Achebe in 1955.
In 2002, Chiwetalu Agu won the Best Actor of the Year at the Africa Movie Academy Awards. In 2007, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Africa Movie Academy Awards for Best Comic Actor in Nigeria. He has often been described as one of the best actors of his generation and also one of Nigeria’s funniest comic actors of all time.
Chiwetalu Agu has acted in more than 250 Nollywood movies which include Things Fall Apart, Ripples, The Catechist, Dr. Thomas, Old School and many more. What amazes most viewers is the way he manages to combine his well-disciplined life with the wicked and devilish roles he acts in movies.
Chiwetalu Agu aside from acting is a royalty. He is the traditional ruler of his community. He has received a national award by the Nigerian Federal Government as a Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR) which happens to be the highest award given to a celebrity who has contributed immensely to the economic growth and development of the country through entertainment.
Chiwetalu Agu currently has an estimated net worth of $400,000, making him one of the richest and most influential comic actors in Nigeria. He has been listed as one of the best outstanding comedians who have contributed immensely to the growth and development of Nollywood comic genres. The evil role he plays in movies has affected him negatively as many people in real life think of him as a wicked person, but in real life he is very friendly, kind, jovial and fun to be with.
Chiwetalu Agu in the cause of his career as an actor has won several awards in Nigeria. In 2012, he was nominated for ‘the best actor in indigenous movie for his role’ in Nkwocha. In 2011, his role in the Maidens earned him a nomination for ‘the best supporting actor at the Zulu African Film Academy Awards in London. In 2008, his role in the movie Across the Niger earned him the nomination for ‘the best actor in a supporting role at the 4th Annual Africa Movie Academy Awards.
In 2012, Chiwetalu Agu was the winner in the first ever Nollywood Movie Awards for ‘the best actor in an indigenous movie: non English speaking language’ for his role in Nkwocha. Chiwetalu Agu has been described as one of the most sought after actor in Nigeria and indeed an interesting character to watch out for in the Nigerian movie industry popularly known as Nollywood.