Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs, (born July 11, 1942), known professionally as Olu Jacobs, is an internationally acclaimed Nigerian actor and film executive. He has starred in several British television series and international films.[1] Olu Jacobs has been hailed by many as one of the greatest and most widely respected African actors of his generation. Together with Pete Edochie, Justus Esiri, Enebeli Elebuwa and Sam Loco Efe, he is considered by several media, film commentators, critics, and other actors to be one of the most influential African actors of all time, and is widely regarded as a cultural icon.[2]

Olu Jacobs
Olu Jacobs
Olu Jacobs at the Africa Movie Academy Awards in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, March 2007
Years active1970-present
Spouse(s)Joke Silva

Fondly called Uncle Olu by his colleagues and teeming admirers, Olu Jacobs has made his mark in the Nigeria’s movie industry. With more than 40 years acting experience under his belt, Jacobs is seen as a bridge between the old and new breed of actors. Trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, England, Jacobs remains one of Africa’s creative gifts to the world, having worked with various repertoire theatres in Britain and starred in some international movies.

In 2007 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.[3][4][5][6] Olu Jacobs has distinguished himself as a godfather in Nollywood, paving a successful path for many emerging actors and actresses in the industry. His love for acting was inspired by the late legendary film maker, Hubert Ogunde's annual concert party which held at Colonial Hotel in Kano, thereafter, he travelled to England where he studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He has been described as 'one of Nollywood's finest actors, best role interpreter and the best manipulator of words'. For his dedication to his acting career spanning over five decades, he was honoured with the Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.' Also, AMAA conferred its Lifetime Achievement Awards on him in 2016.

Olu Jacobs is married to veteran actress Joke Silva. The couple founded and operate the Lufodo Group, a media corporation that consists of film production, distribution assets and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts.


Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs was born to parents from Egba Alake. He spent his early childhood in Kano[7] and attended Holy Trinity School where he was a member of the debating and drama societies.[8] He was inspired to take a chance with acting when he attended one of Chief Hubert Ogunde's annual concert party at Colonial Hotel in Kano.[7] Afterwards, he secured a visa and traveled to England to study acting.

In England, he trained at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. He then starred in various British television shows and series in the 1970s (e.g. The Goodies, Till Death Us Do Part, Barlow at Large, The Venturers, Angels, 1990, The Tomorrow People, The Professionals).[9][10] In 1978, he played the role of President Mageeba in Michael Codron's presentation of Sir Tom Stoppard's play Night and Day.

In the 1980s Jacobs starred in several international films some of which include John Irvin's war film The Dogs of War, Roman Polanski's adventure-comedy Pirates (1986) and the family-adventure film Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend (1985). On television he was a cast member in TVS's The Witches and the Grinnygog.[11]

Jacobs has subsequently starred in over 120 Nollywood films. He is considered one of the top Nigerian Nollywood actors.[12]

Personal lifeEdit

Jacobs is married to Nollywood actress Joke Silva since 1989. They have children.[13] Asked why his wife still bears her maiden name, Jacobs answered: "

She is her own individual. When I met her, she was an actress known as Joke Silva so why should marrying me now deny her and her audience her name. She is Miss Joke Silva who is Mrs. Joke Jacobs. It is as simple as that. People now begin to say what they like. They have even written that we are separated and all sort of stuff. When she is working, she is Joke Silva but she is Mrs. Joke Jacobs at home."[14]


Olu Jacobs was honoured with the Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.[15]

Stage (selected)Edit

Year Show Role Notes
1971 Murderous Angels: A Political Tragedy and Comedy in Black and White (play) Written by Conor Cruise O'Brien and performed at the Dublin Theatre Festival in 1971
1972 Richard's Cork Leg Royal Court Theatre, London
1974 Black Mans Country Father Zachary Azuka Gate Theatre
1977 Julius Caesar One of the augerers Royal National Theater 1977 presentation directed by John Schlesinger
1976 Bar Beach Prelude and Transistor Radio Two shorts play adapted from the works of Bode Sowande and Ken Saro Wiwa
1976 A Kind of Marriage Obi Centre Play
1977 Old Movies Chris Hunter (gendarmes) National Theatre presentation
1978 Night and Day President Mageeba Phoenix Theatre (London)


Olu Jacobs and wife


Year Film Role Notes
1979 Ashanti Commissioner Batak
1980 The Dogs of War Customs Officer
1985 Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend Col. Nsogbu
1986 Pirates Boomako
2012 Adesuwa Ezomo
2014 Dry Speaker
2017 The Royal Hibiscus Hotel


Year Film Role Notes
1971 The Goodies Season 2, Episode 4 - "Lost Tribe of the Orinoco"
1974 Till Death Us Do Part Television repair man Season 5, Episode 3 - "Strikes and Blackouts"
1975 Barlow at Large Motamba Season 4, Episode 8 - "Protection"
1975 The Venturers Mbela Season 1, Episode 10 - "Dangerous and the Lonely Hearts"
1976 Angels Musa Ladipo 3 episodes
1978 1990 Alan Msawi Season 2, Episode 2 - "The Market Price"
1975 The Tomorrow People General Papa Minn Season 6, Episode 5 & 6 - "The Thargon Menace: Part 1 & 2"
1979 The Professionals Sylvester Season 3, Episode 5 - "The Madness of Mickey Hamilton"
1982 Squadron President Gadin Season 1, Episode 10 - "Cyclone"
1983 The Witches and the Grinnygog Mr Alabaster Episodes 1–4, 6
1983 Rumpole of the Bailey David Mazenze Season 3, Episode 2 - "Rumpole and the Golden Thread"
1984 Play for Today David Mazenze Season 14, Episode 16 - "The Amazing Miss Stella Estelle"
1990 The Third Eye Inspector Best Idafa Lead role (1990-1993)


  1. ^ "Filmography of Olu Jacobs". London, UK: The British Film Institute. Retrieved 12 August 2010.
  2. ^ "Nigeria: Pete Edochie, Olu Jacobs - the Living 'Godfathers' of Nollywood". Lagos, Nigeria: Vanguard Media. Retrieved 4 March 2019.
  3. ^ Ogbu, Rachel. "A Race for Stars Only". Lagos, Nigeria: Newswatch. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  4. ^ "Nominees & Winners of AMAA 2007 @ a glance". The African Movie Academy Awards. Archived from the original on 10 December 2007. Retrieved 11 September 2010.
  5. ^ Coker, Onikepo (4 May 2007). "Africa Celebrates Film Industry at AMAA 2007". Mshale Newspaper. Minneapolis, USA: Mshale Communications. Archived from the original on 3 March 2012. Retrieved 5 September 2010.
  6. ^ "AMAA Nominees and Winners 2007". African Movie Academy Awards. Archived from the original on 12 October 2010. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  7. ^ a b Otagbo, Olasumbo (October 18, 2014). "How Hubert Ogunde inspired me to become an actor -Olu Jacobs". The Nation. Lagos.
  8. ^ "My Happiest Moment In Acting - Olu Jacobs", Naijarules.com.
  9. ^ Njoku, Benjamin. "I disobeyed my dad to become an actor – Olu Jacobs". The Vanguard. Lagos, Nigeria: Vanguard Media. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  10. ^ "Filmography by TV series for Olu Jacobs". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  11. ^ A BBC-2 series that traces the history of acting. (1983, Jul 14). The Stage and Television Today (Archive: 1959-1994), , 15
  12. ^ "Complete Filmography of Olu Jacobs". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  13. ^ "How I met Joke Sylva – Olu Jacobs". Lagos, Nigeria: The Sun Publishing Limited. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  14. ^ "Why My Wife Still Bears Her Maiden Name – Actor Olu Jacobs - MJ Celebrity Magazine". MJ Celebrity Magazine. 2013-12-09. Retrieved 2016-12-08.
  15. ^ "Olu Jacobs honoured at AMVCA awards as Genevieve, Funke Akindele lose out". Vanguard Newspaper. 10 March 2013. Retrieved 9 July 2014.

External linksEdit