Throwback Thursday: Our Fallen Heroes

While writing the article on Nollywood’s Vintage, I could not help but realize how many fallen heroes (actors) we’ve lost in the Nigerian Film Industry. And I thought, what perfect timing that today is Thursday! This is a tribute to the lives of some of our deceased, but never forgotten stars.

As much as Nollywood has greatly improved, don’t you sometimes just think about some of your faves from the past and wish they were still here? Or even while watching a movie, get slightly annoyed because you know a certain actor who would have totally brought more life to the character if they were alive?

Death is, of course, inevitable and we’re told to always prepare for it. However, are we even human if we don’t feel some type of way over the demise of someone we know? 

I remember hearing about the death of certain people and the shock was unbearable probably because death can never be fully prepared for. These people seemed invincible to us. I mean they are stars. All the glitz and glam that comes with their line of work sometimes blindfold us.

The truth remains that when the Nollywood loses one person, it becomes a loss for all. The number of dead Nigerian actors so far has been a setback in the Nollywood industry. It is saddening to learn that the persons who brought light and laughter to people’s lives are no more. At times, people get so caught up in their own lives, businesses, and families, that they may not be aware of which Nigerian actors and actresses we have lost.

Another thing that crosses my mind is the families of the deceased. If we sometimes feel this way about their death, imagine how their loved ones feel when they put on the TV and just see someone they love so dearly who isn’t here anymore. Well, it does get easier.

Enough of all the deep talk, I’m beginning to feel like Aristotle with all that. The core essence of this article is to remember the dead and cast our minds back to their hard work and why they’ll never be forgotten because at some point, they made our lives a little better just by being here. 

Just a few of them would be mentioned for obvious reasons. I bet there are some of your faves that have passed away that you didn’t even know. Thankfully, we’ll feel bad about their deaths together when you’re done reading this piece.

Please bear in mind that this is a throwback. I’ll be focusing more on actors who have been gone a little longer than the more recent ones. They’ll be mentioned in no particular order.

Fallen Heroes: J.T. Tom West

His death was one of the most unbelievable in the industry. My guess to your reaction would be that it is because he was quite young and good looking. He died in 2006 after a ghastly car accident. Because of his good looks, he was known as the “Bad Boy” of Nollywood. Before his demise, West starred in over 50 movies and was well-known for his character in “State of Emergency”. 

Ashley Nwosu

The veteran actor died in 2011 from a liver-related problem. His death was felt in Nollywood and beyond. It left so many tears and sadness. The Nollywood actor was well known for his roles as a father, husband and most especially as a sugar daddy. 

According to reports from his wife, the deceased was abandoned by colleagues when the illness became critical. He featured in a myriad of movies and definitely brightened our moods with his talent.

Muna Obiekwe

This fine actor left us in 2015, because of kidney disease. He was also reported to be the first cousin of Nollywood actor, Yul Edochie. His death came as a shock to the country, his colleagues included. Most of Muna’s colleagues reported being ignorant of his impending illness. His death raised a lot of alarming questions. It was reported that he died from lack of funds for his dialysis and Nigerians began to be concerned. Most of these celebrities portray a life of lavishness and absolute wealth on social media but apparently, it is not the reality.

Muna was well known for mostly starring in romantic movies with a lot of exceptional actors like himself. Everyone will agree to the fact that he delivered his role so effortlessly.

Justus Esiri

Sometimes I still can’t believe that he’s dead. I was such a big fan (still am). Esiri died in 2013 of diabetes. The actor was popularly known for his catchphrase “Nonsense!”. He was definitely a favorite, especially to the older group. The veteran actor always brought life to every movie he featured in. He came into prominence for his role in popular Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) TV-series, “The Village Headmaster”. He was one of the richest and most influential actors in the country before his demise.

Enebeli Elebuwa

Another Nollwood’s fine actor. The talent was popularly known for playing the role of the king and title chief in most movies. He joined the Nigerian Movie Industry in the late 80s and has never failed to deliver since then.

Elebuwa was a prolific actor and was well respected. Unfortunately, in 2012, Enebeli suffered a major stroke and was flown abroad for treatment which he never recovered from.

Sam Loco Efe

How can we ever forget our dearest, Sam? In 2011, the film industry was thrown into mourning at the demise of popular comic actor, Sam Loco. The veteran actor died from a cardiac arrest. Apparently, he was a heavy smoker. He has for many years distinguished himself as a rare talent for both television and stage drama.

Others…

And the list goes on. This was one hell of a walk down memory lane. Going through the list, I’m sure you noticed that most of our fallen heroes died from health challenges and lack of funds.

I understand that it’s been a while since they passed and a lot has changed. But I sincerely hope that the Nollywood industry as a whole provides resources for its own now, especially in times of need. There should be some form of security so they know that spending their lives entertaining us is worth it.

I am bereft of words. However, if this throwback has taught us anything, it should be that life is indeed short. We think we have time but we really don’t. Put your best in everything you and always be at peace.