Olu Jacobs Biography, Wikipedia, Career, Age, Wife, Education, Movies, Net Worth

Olu Jacobs

Olu Jacobs: A Pillar of Nigerian Cinema

Biography Overview

Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs, professionally known as Olu Jacobs, born on 11 July 1942, is a renowned Nigerian actor and film executive. With a career spanning over five decades, Jacobs has starred in numerous British television series and international films. He is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most respected African actors of his generation, often mentioned alongside Pete Edochie as one of the most influential African actors of all time. Jacobs is seen as a cultural icon and a bridge between the old and new generations of actors in Nigeria.

Personal Details

  • Full Name: Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs
  • Professional Name: Olu Jacobs
  • Date of Birth: 11 July 1942
  • Age: 81 years (as of 2024)
  • Nationality: Nigerian
  • Education: Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, England
  • Occupation: Actor, Film Executive
  • Years Active: 1970–present
  • Spouse: Joke Silva (married since 1989)

Early Life and Education

Born to parents from Egba Alake, Olu Jacobs spent his early childhood in Kano, Nigeria. He attended Holy Trinity School, where he was a member of the debating and drama societies. His passion for acting was ignited after attending one of Chief Hubert Ogunde’s annual concert parties at Colonial Hotel in Kano. This experience inspired him to pursue acting professionally, leading him to secure a visa and travel to England to study at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London.


Early Career in the UK

After his training at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, Jacobs began his acting career in the United Kingdom. Some of his early roles include:

  • Playing the part of The Boy in ‘A Taste of Honey’ at the Crucible Theatre in Sheffield (1972)
  • Appearances in various British television shows and series in the 1970s, including:
    • The Goodies
    • Till Death Us Do Part
    • Barlow at Large
    • The Venturers
    • Angels
    • 1990
    • The Tomorrow People
    • The Professionals
  • Role of President Mageeba in Michael Codron’s presentation of Sir Tom Stoppard’s play “Night and Day” (1978)

International Film Career

In the 1980s, Jacobs appeared in several international films, including:

  • “The Dogs of War” (1980), directed by John Irvin
  • “Baby: Secret of the Lost Legend” (1985)
  • “Pirates” (1986), directed by Roman Polanski

He was also a cast member in TVS’s “The Witches and the Grinnygog”.

Nollywood Career

Returning to Nigeria, Jacobs became a prominent figure in Nollywood, starring in over 120 films. He is considered one of the top Nigerian Nollywood actors and has been described as “one of Nollywood’s finest actors, best role interpreter and the best manipulator of words”.

Awards and Recognition

  • Africa Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role (2007)
  • Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (2013)
  • Lifetime Achievement Award from the Africa Magic Academy (2016)
  • Icon Award and membership certificate from the Audio-Visual Rights Society of Nigeria (AVRS) (2022)

Personal Life

Olu Jacobs has been married to Nollywood actress Joke Silva since 1989. The couple has children together. When asked about his wife retaining her maiden name, Jacobs explained: “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.”

Health Challenges

In 2021, rumors circulated about Jacobs’ death, which were dispelled when he attended the Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF) in November 2021, where he received the Lifetime Achievement Award. Later, his wife Joke Silva revealed in an interview with Chude Jideonwo that Jacobs is battling Dementia with Lewy bodies.

Business Ventures

Olu Jacobs and his wife Joke Silva founded and operate the Lufodo Group, a media corporation that encompasses film production, distribution assets, and the Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts.

Legacy and Impact

Olu Jacobs has distinguished himself as a godfather in Nollywood, paving a successful path for many emerging actors and actresses in the industry. His contributions span over five decades, making him a cultural icon and a bridge between the old and new generations of actors in Nigeria.

Net Worth

While specific figures are not publicly disclosed, Olu Jacobs’ successful career in both international and Nigerian film industries, along with his business ventures, suggests a substantial net worth.


Olu Jacobs’ journey from a young aspiring actor in Kano to an internationally recognized film star and Nollywood legend is a testament to his talent, perseverance, and passion for the craft. His legacy continues to inspire new generations of actors in Nigeria and beyond, cementing his place as one of the greatest African actors of all time.

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