The Yoruba movie industry, a genre of Nollywood has come a long way. The Yoruba-language cinema began as actors of various Yoruba traveling theatre groups began to take their works beyond the stage to delve into movie production using the Celluloid format, as far back as the mid-1960s

The industry has continued to grow and soared, producing great actors that had made it worthwhile. While there are other actors like Hubert Ogunde in early years, more actors have played their roles in solidifying the Yoruba movie industry. Thirteen actors and many more have contributed immensely for this greatness.

Lere Paimo

Paimo was born on 19 November, 1939 in Ogbomoso, Oyo State. He is a Nigerian film actor, film maker, producer and director.

He began acting in 1960 after he joined the Oyin Adejobi theatre group, a theatre group founded by Pa Oyinade Adejobi before he later joined Duro Ladipo’s Theatre Group where he featured in a stage play titled Obamoro with the role of “Chief Basa”.

He had featured, produced and directed several Nigerian films since he began acting in 1963. In 2005, in recognition of his immense contributions to the Nigerian film industry, he was bestowed a National award of Member of the Federal Republic alongside Zeb Ejiro by Olusegun Obasanjo the former President of Nigeria.

Peter Fatomilola

Fatomilola was born on 16 January, 1946 in the town of Ifisin-Ekiti in Ido-Osi Local Government area of Ekiti State, Nigeria, to Chief Abraham Ojo Fatomilola and Mrs. Elizabeth Fatomilola. He is a son of Chief Ifa Priest, known as the Oluwo (Olu-awo, meaning Lord of the oracle), which was believed to have influenced his herbalist role Nigerian film.

In 1967, he joined the Olokun Theatre group under the tutelage of the late Professor Ola Rotimi, a renowned dramatist and prolific playwright at the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University. He is also a member of the academic staff of Obafemi Awolowo University, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts in 1978. He was the first Papa Ajasco, a lead role in a comedy film produced by Wale Adenuga.

He had featured in several notable Nigerian films such as Sango, an epic African film produced by Obafemi Lasode and scripted by Wale Ogunyemi in 1997. He has acted the role of the priest in several Yoruba films.

Kayode Olaiya

Kayode Olaiya is a veteran Nigerian actor. He came into limelight and rose to prominence in Yoruba indigenous language films.

He was Born on 12th of April,1949 in Oyo State.

He Started his Acting Profession in the 1960s. He was Once a Member of a Threatre Group Called “Ajimajason”.

The Veteran Actor Rose to Fame in the 1990s and He has Worked with Alot of Television Stations Including Lagos State Television.

Adebayo Salami

Adebayo Salami, popularly known by his stage name Oga Bello was born on 9 May, 1952). He is a veteran Nigerian actor, filmmaker, film producer, and director.

He began his acting career in 1964, with a group called Young Concert Party, under the leadership of Ojo Ladipo, popularly known as Baba Mero.

After a few years, the group changed its name to Ojo Ladipo Theatre Group, and later metamorphosed into Awada Kerikeri Theatre Group. Following the demise of Ojo Ladipo in 1978, Salami took the mantle of leadership of the group, which brought him into the limelight.

Sunday Omobolanle

Sunday Omobolanle aka Papi Luwe, born October 1, 1954 at Ilora, Oyo State, is a Nigerian comic actor, playwright, film director, and producer.

He is the father of Sunkanmi Omobolanle, a Nigerian film actor and director. Sunday Omobolanle had scripted, directed, produced and featured in several Nigerian film such as Adun Ewuro, a 2011 Nigerian film that featured Adebayo Salami.

Charles Olumo

Abdulsalam Sanyaolu, whose is called Charles Olumo, is a Nigerian actor from Abeokuta, Ogun state.

He mainly acts in Yoruba-language films in “Nollywood”.

He began acting in 1953 at a church in Lagos.

He’s famous for the stereotypical ‘bad man’ role he plays in Yoruba movies. In deed, not many people know him by his real name, Abdulsalam Ishola Sanyaolu or Charles Olumo, but mention Agbako in a crowd and all heads will turn.

Kola Oyewo

Kola Oyewo, born 27 March, 1946, in Osun State, is a Nigerian veteran actor, dramatist, and scholar.

He attended Obafemi Awolowo University where he obtained a certificate in dramatic arts, and a certificate in Yoruba oral literature before he later received a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in Theatre art from the same university in 1995. He proceeded to the University of Ibadan where he received a Master of Arts (M.A.) and doctorate degree (Ph.D.) in drama.

He began acting as a professional in 1964 after he joined the “Oyin Adejobi theatre group” and the first role he played was Adejare in Orogun Adedigba, which was Oyin Adejobi’s autobiography. After he spent nine years with Oyin Adejobi, he joined the University of Ife theatre, where he worked with the late veteran dramatist and scholar, chief Ola Rotimi. Kola Oyewo was known for the role he played as “Odewale” in the Gods are not to blame’.

Ifayemi Elebubon

Ifáyẹmi Ọ̀ṣundàgbónu Elebuibon was born on 1947. He is a Yoruba and Nigerian writer, poet, author, linguist, and a world-famous Ifa priest. His plays and films have received worldwide acclamation for his pursuit of the preservation of Yoruba culture and heritage.

He also serves as a traveling lecturer in several institutions including at the department of African language and literature at the Obafemi Awolowo University and Black Studies at the San Francisco State University and at the Wajumbe Cultural Institution in California.

Elebuibon began training as an Ifa priest by his father in 1951 when he was 4 years old. He continued this rigorous training in the traditional arts until his father died when he was only 10 in 1957. He was then put under the guidance of Chief Faniyi Ajani (the Agbongbon-Awo of Osogbo), another well trained Ifa priest who most likely was a contemporary of Elebuibon’s father and grandfather. After training for another 10 years, he became an official babalawo in 1967.

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