Liz Benson (Real name: Elizabeth Benson-Ameye; born: April 5, 1966; Age: 56 years old) is a seasoned Nigerian actress, producer, TV presenter, evangelist, and philanthropist. She is famous for her roles in the Movies; Fortunes (1993), Glamour Girls (1994), Dry (2014), Lotanna (2017), and Still Falling (2021).
Liz Benson has showcased talent and prowess in acting that she is now considered one of the queens and legends of the Nollywood industry. She has interpreted many roles since the 1990s and later took a hiatus but later returned. Her successful career won her many accolades at Africa Movie Awards and City People’s Entertainment Awards, among others.
Liz Benson Hails From Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria
Liz Benson was born on April 5, 1966, into a Christian family in Akwa Ibom State. Her father was part of the founding members of one of the Christian churches in Lagos. Also, her paternal and maternal grandparents were the founding members of Presbyterian and Qua Iboe churches. As part of the devotees of the Christian faith in the family, Liz Benson’s elder sister is also serving abroad as a Reverend Pastor.
Liz Benson’s Educational Journey
The actress’ primary education started at Lady Lak School in Yaba, Lagos State. She then went to Edgerley Memorial Girls Secondary School (EMGSS), Calabar, in Cross Rivers State. She took an interest in Dramatic Arts, and after she completed her secondary education, she moved to the United States, where she earned a degree. Before that, her parents wished for her to study Criminal law at Sylvania State College, USA.
Liz Benson Started Her Acting Career as a Child Actress but Gained Fame at 27
The Akwa Ibom-born actress started as a child actress in 1971 at the age of 5. She also participated in school dramas and dances and would also involve other children in school. Upon her return from the states, where she studied, she was featured in several TV and radio commercials.
According to her, the first role she played as an adult and professionally as an actress was interpreting the role of an Immigration Officer in an Igbo Language film. Yet, she started to win the public’s attention when she was featured as Mrs. Agnes Johnson on a television soap opera (Fortunes) on NTA in 1993 at 27.
The Best of Liz Benson’s Movies
Glamour Girls (1994)
A year after Liz became notable in the Nigerian movie industry, she played the role of Jane in Glamour Girls (1994). Her character in the film is a Lagos senior girl with promiscuous adventures. The film, as produced and written by Kennet Nnebue and directed by Chika Onukwufor, propelled Benson right onto the big screens.
The movie featured the likes of Eucharia Anuobi, Zack Orji, Gloria Young, Ngozi Ezeonu, and Clarion Chukwura. Glamour Girls remains one of the films that set the Nigerian movie industry on the map. It set a path for another film, Glamour Boys (1996). In 2022, a remake of the original film was released via Netflix.
Diamond Ring (1998)
Liz Benson played the character of Gladys in a Nigerian horror film, Diamond Ring. She was interested in the role of a woman who had died, but the diamond ring she was buried with got stolen. To get back what was hers, her spirit refused to rest but haunted Chidi (Gbadewonuola Oyelakin) and his friends.
She did not relent until the thieves of her ring were asked to return it. Liz instantly showed her versatility with this role and won several positive reviews. The film also featured notable Nigerian actors such as Sola Sobowale, Bimbo Akintola, Richard Mofe-Damijo, and Bukky Ajayi, among others.
Dry, a film directed by Stephanie Linus, focuses on Vesicovaginal fistula condition and underaged marriage starred Liz Benson as a Matron. The film narrates the story of Zara (Stepanie Linus Okereke), who had suffered a horrific childhood but made it to become a medical doctor.
Although the 2014 film received negative reviews, it largely received positive reviews and became one of the most renowned movies. Liz Benson’s role, which was vital to the narration of the story, contributed to the film’s winning several awards.
Some of them include winning 9 nominations at the 2016 African Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA). Nonetheless, it won 3 nominations in the Best Overall Movie, Best Costume Designer (Uche Nancy), and Best Sound Editor (Jose Guillermo) categories.
Still Falling (2021)
The Nigerian film, Still Falling was released in 2021 and directed by Karachi Atiya and Dimbo Atiya. Her role was minor but significant as she served as the mother of the major character, Bono (played by Sharon Ooja).
The film is central to forgiveness, love, death, and prayer. Apart from the several positive reviews that the film generated, it also generated ₦27.7 million at the Box Office. Other casts of the film are Daniel Etim Effiond (as Captian Lagi Gowon) and Panam Percy Paul (as Minister Gowon).
Liz Benson’s Other Notable Movies and TV Series
- Still Falling (2021)
- Stepping Into Magie’s Shoes (2020)
- Children of Mud (2020)
- Captive of Love (2019)
- Mummy Dearest 1 & 2 (2014, 2018)
- Idahosa Trails (2017)
- Behind the Wheels (2017)
- Lotanna (2017)
- Busted (2017)
- Child Not Bride (2016)
- For The Wrong Reasons (2016)
- Tales of Eve (2016)
- Diary of a Lagos Girl (2016)
- Miss Teacher (2015)
- Dry (2015)
- Changing Tides (2015)
- Living Funeral (2013)
- Political Control (2006)
- Now & Forever (2005)
- Squad Twenty-Three (2005)
- Women in Power (2005)
- Inheritance (2004)
- Melody of Life (2004)
- Red Hot (2004)
- Turn Table (2004)
- World Apart (2004)
- Contractors (2003)
- Eeku-ida (2002)
- Last Warning (2002)
- Wisdom and Riches (2002)
- Dapo Junior (2000)
- Chain Reation (1999)
- Silenced (1999)
- Diamond Ring (1998)
- Most wanted (1998)
- Scores to Settle (1998)
- Witches (1998)
- Back to Life (1997)
- True Confessions (1995)
- Glamour Girls (1994)
- Fortunes (1993)
Liz Benson’s Awards and Nominations
- Best supporting actress in a drama-Living Funeral at Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards (AMVCA 2014)
- Lifetime achievement awards (2014)
- Best Supporting Role at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (2006)
- Best Actress in a Leading Role at the City People’s Entertainment Awards
- Most Promising Actress in Nigeria at Best of Nollywood Awards
- Best Outstanding Actress at the Afro Hollywood Awards in London
- Best Actress in Nigeria (English) at Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards
Liz Benson Took a Break at the Peak of Her Acting Career Before Making a Comeback
In the 1990s, Liz Benson made a steady but sure rise in the Nollywood industry. Yet, she decided to take a break only a few years after she started to make a big name for herself in the industry. As regards why she took the break, it is gathered that the actress had lost her first husband and the father of her three children. She decided to take some time off from her booming career.
More than a decade later, she made a comeback in the movie Living Funeral produced by Orode Ryan Okpu and directed by Udoka Oyeka. The Living Funeral (2013) is a movie centered on the fight and awareness of Breast Cancer. It featured Liz Benson, Stephanie Wilson, and Norbert Young. Furthermore, the movie got eight nominations for the Africa Magic Viewers Choice Awards(AMVCA) in 2014.
Liz Benson currently focuses on making movies that focus on humanity and societal awareness. She has acted in award-winning movies such as Dry (2015), Child Not Bride (2016), and Living Funeral (2013), capturing societal cruelties and misconceptions. Other movies like Still Falling (2021), Mummy Dearest (2017), and Children of Mud (2017) speak about Forgiveness, love, trust, and hope, among many other morals.
As a versatile actress, her efficacy has helped her excel in movies with some top actors such as Kate Henshaw, IK Ogbonna, Richard Mofe-Damijo, Stella Damascus, Regina Daniels, Sharon Ooja, Daniel Etim Effiong, Yul Edochie, Mercy Johnson, Patience Ozokwor and so many others.
Liz is Also a Presenter, Producer, and Director
Liz, who mostly records her name in movies as Liz Amaye, has had her hands on directing and producing movies. She co-produced a Yoruba film titled Èèkù-idà 1 & 2 in 2002 and was directed by Tunji Bamishigbin. The film boasts of featuring a-list stars such as Fathia Balogun, Saidi Balogun, Liz Benson, Taiwo Hassan, and Bimbo Oshin.
How She Became a Church Minister
During her break in 1996 and 1998 thereabout, Liz Benson gave her life to God. By 2001, she was already going on evangelism missions under Central Christian Chapel in Calabar – a church headed by Evangelist Dr. Emma Isong. She began touring places like Jos, Kano, Owerri, and Delta (where she would meet her husband), spreading the gospel.
She also goes to parks, mechanic workshops, and numerous other places to preach the gospel. By 2006, Liz Benson, who was then 40 years old, was ordained an Evangelist. It was around the same period that the actress also made her big come back into Nollywood even better than she left it.
Since her reappearance in the Nollywood movie industry, Liz Benson-Ameye has been very choosy about the movies she takes and the roles she acts in due to her status as a minister. She now prefers to act homely and lesson-filled movies depicting love, good tidings, and humanity.
What to Know About Liz Benson’s Marriages and Children
The actress was first married to Mr. Samuel Gabriel Etim, who has been deceased for over two decades. From the marriage, she had three children. Lillian Etim is her first child and is married to Promise Ugochukwu Deribe in 2017. Currently, she has turned Liz into a grandmother following the birth of her son – Elkanah, in 2019.
Additionally, Richard Etim is her second child, and he had his tertiary education in the Northern part of Nigeria, precisely Adamawa, Yola state. His sister, apparently Liz Benson’s last born, Roseline, however, studied in the UK like her elder sister. Liz Benson, in July 2009, at the age of 43, married her second husband, Bishop Great Ameye of Freedom Family Christian Assembly in Warri Delta State.
The evangelist met her second husband in his hometown when she went on a mission. Bishop Amaye reportedly supports her acting career, but the actress is also particular about the roles she accepts, especially those not appealing to her as a Christian, wife, and mother.