Home Profile in Excellence Olu Jacobs – Veteran Nigerian Actor

Olu Jacobs – Veteran Nigerian Actor


Oludotun Jacobs (born 11 July 1942), popularly known as Olu Jacobs, is a Nigerian actor. He has starred in several British television series and international films. In 2007 he won the African Movie Academy Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.


Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs was born to parents from Egba Alake. He spent his early childhood in Kano and attended Holy Trinity School where he was a member of the debating and drama societies. He was inspired to take a chance with acting when he attended one of Hubert Ogunde’s annual concert party at Colonial Hotel in Kano. 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). In 1978, he played the role of President Mageeba in Michael Codron’s presentation of 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 in TVS’s The Witches and the Grinnygog (1983 series). Jacobs has starred in over 120 Nollywood films and is considered one of the top Nigerian Nollywood actors.

Personal life

Jacobs is married to Nollywood actress Joke Silva since 1989. They have children. 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.”


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

Stage (selected)

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)



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)
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