Renowned Oludotun Baiyewu Jacobs, professionally known as Olu Jacobs, is an international multi-award-winning Nigerian veteran actor, writer, producer, television personality, scriptwriter, television broadcaster, businessman, and entrepreneur. He is a pioneer actor in Nollywood and is believed to have set the standard for posterity through his enormous contributions to the growth of the Nigerian movie industry. With an estimated net worth of over $2 million, the 80-year-old world-class actor with over five decades of experience has featured in over 200 home videos, 30 television productions in Nigeria alone, and over 100 stage productions.
Olu Jacobs is a globally celebrated actor who has featured in major blockbusters nationally and internationally. The actor’s illustrious career can be compared with the likes of Pete Edochie and Sam Loco Efe. He is regarded as one of the most respected African actors and cultural icons. He plays a major role in the conception of Nollywood and the entire Nigerian entertainment industry.
Olu Jacobs was Born 80 Years Ago
The veteran actor hails from Egba Alake town in Abeokuta, South local government area of Ogun State, southwestern Nigeria, and he is Yoruba by the tribe. He spent most of his early childhood in Kano State, Northern Nigeria. His father initially was vehemently against him acting, but he was not deterred by his father. However, information regarding his parents is not available as little is known about them for now.
More so, the media has no grips on information about his siblings or where they are. Olu was brought up in a decent Christian home. While growing up, he loved participating in school and church drama activities. Indeed, he nurtured his passion for theatre arts from a very young age and never looked back. It was from his participation in arts that he built the rudiments of acting.
His Education Also Played A Role In His Career Success
The Nollywood veteran obtained his First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) from Holy Trinity School in Kano State. During his time there, he was an active member of the Debating and Drama Society. He completed his secondary school in Lagos State, where he obtained his West African Senior Secondary Certificate.
Reports have it that during this time, he got his first attraction to the art of acting after attending one of Hubert Ogunde’s (a famous Nigerian actor) annual concert parties at the Colonial Hotel in Kano. After the concert, Olu was marveled at their performance, which got him inspired.
In 1964, he secured a Visa and traveled to study Theatre Arts at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts (RADA) in England, United Kingdom. By this, Jacobs got the educational qualifications and acquired the required experience to be good at what he does. Traveling to the UK gave him dual citizenship; this means that he is Nigerian by birth and British by naturalization.
Olu Jacobs Broke Into British Television In His 20s
Olu Jacobs got his first acting role while in London. It happened that he accompanied his friend who was part of the acting union to an audition for a movie role. At the audition, he was urged to take part, a move that saw the Judges impressed and earned him the role as well. His first movie, The Vigilante, was produced by AA Productions. Subsequently, he started appearing in various British television shows and series in the 70s. He starred in the political tragedy and comedy play Murderous Angels performed in the 1971 edition of the Dublin Theatre Festival.
In 1978, he played the role of President Mageeba in Michael Codron’s presentation of British screenwriter Sir Tom Stoppard’s play Night and Day. He starred in Roman Polanski’s adventure-comedy Pirates in 1986. He also featured in other British series like Till Death Us Do Part, The Goodies, Barlow at Large, Angels, The Ventures, and many others. In the 1980s, Olu Jacobs appeared in several international films, including John Irvin’s war film The Dogs of War.
In His 40s, He Came Back To Nigeria And Impacted Greatly On Nollywood
After over twenty years of acting in the UK, Olu Jacobs returned to Nigeria to put the knowledge he had acquired to work. He became one of the pioneers of Nollywood (the Nigerian Movie Industry) and hugely impacted its growth. Olu Jacobs is well known for interpreting his roles well, either as a king, servant, politician, or father.
Being a pioneer came with its challenges. Olu Jacobs went through the arduous task of film production in an industry that was new and unprofitable at the time. Through hard work and dedication, he triumphed and is respected as one of the oldest Nigerian film producers and has paved a clear path for the younger generation of actors. He has featured in over 200 Nollywood films since his debut in the early 90s.
How Olu Jacobs Accrued a Net Worth of Over $2 Million
Olu Jacob’s net worth, estimated at $2 million, is sourced majorly from his acting roles and film academy. He is a man that does not flaunt his wealth; he has houses in choice areas located in Lagos and other parts of the country and Britain. His legacy will forever be felt in Nollywood and Africa at large.
Jacobs’ role as Commissioner Batak in the 1979 action-adventure film Ashanti paved the way for greater success. We have already stated that the actor started his professional career in England. During his time, he not only succeeded in becoming a known name in the industry but also got richly rewarded for his works. His role as an Immigration Officer in the American war film Dogs of War alongside legendary actor and comedian Christopher Walken added to his resume and made him wealthy also; it projected him to the far reaches of his international audience and fans.
Olu Jacobs was also making appearances in various Television series. In 1983, he appeared in various scenes of The Witches and the Grinnygog (a British TV series). The same year, he played David Mazenze in the TV series Rumpole of the Bailey. He also starred in Play for Today (a British anthology drama series). His significant roles in internationally acclaimed productions on a professional level earned him lots of money, which prepared him for the greater task of returning to Nigeria.
His Return to Nigeria was A Wise Financial Decision
He returned to Nigeria to help develop the just conceived movie industry; being a man of his skill and reputation, he was not satisfied with his accomplishments in England. He felt he could do more, but the racial discrimination and other social inequality in England did not grant him the freedom and opportunity to grow as desired.
Over the years, his relevance in Nollywood has earned him royalties, respect, and a fat bank account. Making films has fetched him loads of money, right from his starting days in England as a TV star to the glorious days of his features in internationally recognized films. Olu has been raking in money in the bank from his onscreen work. According to reports, he is one of the highest-paid actors in Nollywood.
The Nollywood veteran has featured in hundreds of films and TV series in the Nigerian film industry and is still active. The exact amount he gets paid per movie is uncertain. However, considering his godfather and A-list status, it will be agreed that he gets paid well for his services and film production. In 1984, he was invited by the government to help start a Television series titled Second Chance. Olu Jacobs accepted and worked on the production. By November 1984, the show was ready.
Second Chance was a hit, and it paved the way for his role in other films such as Iva alongside Francis Duru and Omotola Jalade (1992), Onome (1996), Obstacles (1998), Twins of the Rain Forest, Oganigwe, Aba Women Riot, 21 days with Christ, End time, Private Sin, Arsenal, Blood Ring, and many others. Olu Jacobs is famous for his roles as a Traditional Elder/Ruler, Member of the Occult, High Chief, or Evil man.
He Owns His Own Film Academy
Olu Jacobs also makes money from his film academy and family business, Lufodo Group, which he runs with his beloved wife, Joke Silva. Lufodo is a film academy known for training movie practitioners in acting, directing, producing, scriptwriting, photography, costumier, makeup, editing, modeling, set design, and various aspects of film-making.
In 1981, while he was in Lagos, Olu Jacobs met his wife, actress Joke Silva, during the pre-production of a stage play. This was a year after he arrived from England. The two got married in 1989 and became a power couple; they were the olden days Beyonce and Jay Z. Joke is also a multi-award-winning actress, wife, and business partner of her husband, Olu; she is worth over $5 million. Together, their combined worth is over $10 million, making her an asset and source of wealth for Olu Jacobs.
Lufodo Group, their company, has greatly added up to the actor’s worth. The company was founded by the couple in 1985 and incorporated on 25th September 2000. The Lufodo brand is the parent company of different business outfits, including Lufodo Consult, Lufodo Productions, Lufodo Academy of Performing Arts, Lufodo Assets (Real estate division), and Lufodo Distribution. Olu is the Executive Chairman of the Company, while his Wife Joke is the Executive Director.
The Film Academy Lufodo has raised a generation of actors and actresses that have taken the Nigerian Film Industry to greater heights by impacting experience-based knowledge to the minds of the upcoming generation of actors. Lufodo also operates a company called LAPA consult. LAPA Consult is a body that provides intensive and presentation training for executives, professionals, and corporate bodies. Olu Jacobs also makes money from scriptwriting and other Published content. He is the Chief Executive of Royal Practitioner Academy, which aims at training movie practitioners in the basics of theatricals.
The Veteran Actor Has Many Awards to His Name
Olu Jacobs is a multi-award-winning actor. On 25th June 2011, Jacobs was given a standing ovation at the closing ceremony of the 15th Écrans Noirs Film Festival in Yaoundé, Cameroun. He was greeted by the ecstatic audience as he received the Prix Charles Mensah (Ecran d’Honneur) for his outstanding lifetime achievement as an actor of local and international success, especially for his exceptional contribution to the development of Nollywood in Africa.
He has received awards both within and outside the country for his professional achievements. They include the following;
- Most Prominent Actor in Nigeria at the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards
- Best Actor in Nigeria at the Africa Movie Academy Awards
- Best Actor of the Year at the Golden Icon Movie Academy Awards
- Best Actor in Lead Role, “Dancing Heart” by African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), 2007
- Recognition and National Honors of Member of the Federal Republic (MFR) by Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, 2011
- Merit Award for Outstanding Achievement in Acting, Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, 2013
- Nollywood Most Promising Actor in Nigeria at the City People Entertainment Awards, 2015
- Best Actor in Supporting Role “Oloibiri” by African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA), 2017
- He was also conferred with a Lifetime Achievement in 2016 by African Movie Academy Awards (AMAA).
Does He Still Feature In Movies?
Olu Jacobs has aged considerably, but he remains relevant in the movie industry and is rated among the best of the best. Although due to his age and health, he seldom stars in movies now. However, he has paved the way for upcoming stars, and he is considered a very successful actor. With more than 50 years of acting experience, he is the link that connects the old generation and the new generation of actors.
Olu Jacobs has been described as one of Nollywood’s finest actors, best role interpreter, and the best manipulator of words. He has dedicated his acting career spanning over five decades locally and internationally. For his role as a mentor and father, he was honored with the Industry Merit Award for outstanding achievements in acting at the 2013 Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards.
The Nollywood icon made an appearance with his wife Joke at the AFRIFF Globe Awards in November 2021. There, he received the Life Time Achievement Award for his contribution to the Nigerian movie industry.