by Wilfred Okiche
Nollywood as we know it has been existing for all of 20years. Not so long, compared to the likes of Hollywood or Bollywood but long enough to establish different generations of performers.
While in some establishments, 20years could be regarded as short, in movie years, it is a lifetime – especially for an actor’s career. In the highly combustible world of superstardom, here today, gone tomorrow is the norm.
We recall some faces and names that used to matter then, but somehow do not now and we wonder, where are they now?
Genevieve Nnaji may be queen now, but time was when Liz Benson reigned supreme. And oh! What a reign. Since her break out in the hit series, ‘Fortunes’, she proved unstoppable and her face was on every film jacket that mattered. Her talent was undeniable and her screen presence was explosive. After gifting us with some of the most enduring performances in movies like ‘Scores to settle’ and ‘Yesterday’, she found Christ and went on a mission for him, we hope she’ll be back.
Perhaps Nollywood’s first sex symbol, Ms Askia burst onto the scene with her role as Tokunbo in the soap, ‘Fortunes.’ She glided easily into the movies and made quite a few sizzling appearances. She took some time off but returned in the hit movie ‘Suicide mission’ only to vanish altogether just as we were getting used to her. She had a bad marriage, became a registered nurse, can be found hotly debating Nigeria on Facebook – but that’s all a long way from the superstardom that once was hers alone.
Victoria was one of the most promising starlets of her time, till she decided to give it all away for a domestic life, far off in the states. While we wish her conjugal bliss, we hope to see her pretty face on our screens once more.
Who can forget Susan Patrick’s signature performance as Sakobi the snake girl? While the film did not have the most original of titles- or plots, Susan’s gap toothed beauty managed to sell it to an adoring public.
He’s the guy who always falls under the spell of desperate ladies. He knew his role and he played it well. A breakthrough performance in ‘Died wretched’ saw him rise to become one of the most in-demand leading men. He still makes the occasional appearance yes, but he’s nowhere near his previous status.
Uche- Obi Osotule
Long before Obi Osotule picked up every best actress trophy available for her role in Tunde Kelani’s classic film, ‘Thunderbolt’, she was hilarious as Nkemji the village girl in the classic soap, ‘Checkmate.’ She would go on to become one of the most viscerally exciting actresses to watch and she chose her movies with care. We remember ‘To live again’, ‘Playing games’ and ‘Onome’ and we thank her. She’s now a producer we here – but where are the movies?
Straight from ‘Behind the clouds’, Actress/producer Franca Brown was a hit with the movie watching public and for a while there, she had a good run. Too bad it did not last so long and her whereabouts these days are unknown. You could see her endorsing President Jonathan last year – but surely that isn’t a movie role?
Used to be that if you could not get Olu Jacobs in your film, you went for Peter Bunor as they shared a certain resemblance. They both had those old, fatherly roles in the bag and while Olu Jacobs went on to enduring success, Mr Bunor kinda faded out.
Aw, we loved Vivian Metchie! Straight from the AIT soap opera where, along with Kate Henshaw and Basorge Tariah the dark skinned beauty was the flavor of the month, for a while there we took her seriously. Before she gave it all up and disappeared.
She was the queen of the supporting roles who stayed around long enough to make us believe she was leading lady material. Her personal life was as colourful as the characters she played and when we realized she was never going to play in the big leagues, she was long gone.
Now there was a leading lady. One of the most successful actresses of the nineties, Sandra gave it all up for a quiet life of matrimony. These days, she only pops up in the news when she is about to drop another child.
The fair skinned plus sized beauty sizzled in films like ‘Bitter Encounter’ and ‘Deadly affair’ and promptly fizzled out. The next we heard, she was getting married and leaving the country.
He was deeply menacing as Abass in the soap ‘Ripples’ and quietly terrifying as Chief Odiete in the short-lived ‘Beyond our dreams.’ Most young folks grew up scared of him and we find it unfair that we cannot pass on that feeling to the next generation. Here’s hoping he comes back soon. We hear he is to be seen in the hallowed halls of the Christ Embassy church – have you seen him?
The bald headed Koldsweat was a regular fixture in home videos of the early 00’s but when the tide turned and new faces came on the scene. A costly illness has taken him away from the screens – and we continue to pray for him.
He may be happily married to Gloria Anozie but his career trajectory has left a lot to be desired. Sure he still does the occasional soap here and the infrequent cameo there, but for a while now, he has not sunk his teeth into a role worthy of his talents.
Same as her hubby (Mr Young) above – the Glamour Girls star. Hold up, she’s on SuperStory’s latest series! Good news, yes?
If you needed someone to play bitchy or trashy or wild, Nzeribe was the gal to dial. She was building a potent body of work – and a potent body! – for herself when all of a sudden, the offers dried. Or she got married? No one has an idea.
To be continued.