40 Hollywood Actors Who Are Originally Nigerians
In this article, we throw the spotlight on 40 actors who were either born in Nigeria and grew up overseas or were born and raised outside the country, or they have one or both parents as Nigerians.
Chiwetelu Umeadi Ejiofor, the award-winning actor, was born in 1977 in Nigeria and raised in the United Kingdom by his Nigerian parents.
At age 19, Ejiofor was cast by Steven Spielberg to play a supporting role in the film “Amistad” (1997) as James Covey.
Ejiofor has appeared in a number of films, including “Deadly Voyage” (1996), “Dirty Pretty Things” (2002), “Serenity” (2005), “12 Years A Slave” (2013), “Half Of A Yellow Sun” (2013), “The Lion King” (2019), and “2012” (2009), among others. Originally Nigerians
Gbenga Akinnagbe was born to Nigerian parents in Washington, D.C.
The 42-year-old actor and writer is best known for his roles as Chris Partlow in the series “The Wire” and Larry Brown in “The Deuce” on HBO.
He has also appeared in films such as “Independence Day: Resurgence” (2016), “All the Devil’s Men” (2018), and “Passing” (2021), among others.
Adepero Oduye is an actress, director, singer, and writer from the United States.
She is best known for her roles in “Pariah” (2011), “12 Years A Slave” (2013), “The Big Short” (2015), and “Widows” (2018).
Oduye, 43, was born in Brooklyn, New York, as one of seven children to Nigerian parents.
Yvonne Orji, a Nigerian-American actress, was born in Port Harcourt, Nigeria to Nigerian parents but raised in Maryland, USA.
Orji, 37, is best known for her role as Issa Rae’s best friend in the HBO series “Insecure.”
She has appeared in a number of films, including “Jane The Virgin” (2017), “Flip the script” (2017), “Night School” (2018), and “Vacation Friends” (2021).
Ashley Madekwe, 37, is well-known for her roles in the television series “Secret Diary of a Call Girl,” “Revenge,” and “Salem.”
She has also appeared in films such as “Cassandra’s Dream” (2007), “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People” (2008), “Victim” (2011), and “County Lines” (2012). (2019).
Madekwe was born into an interracial family in South London, England. Her father is from Nigeria, and her mother is from England.
Carmen Elizabeth Ejogo was born on October 22, 1973, to a Scottish mother and a Nigerian father.
From 1993 to 1995, the television and film actress and singer began her career as a teen host of the Saturday Disney morning show.
She has appeared in a number of films, including “Love’s Labour’s Lost” (2000) and “What’s the Worst That Could Happen?” “Away We Go” (2001). (2009).
In the film “Selma,” Carmen Ejogo portrayed Coretta King (2014).
Actor and producer David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo was born in Oxford, Oxfordshire, England. His family relocated to Lagos when he was six years old.
His father is from Oyo State, while his mother is from Edo State. When he was 14, his family returned to the United Kingdom.
His most well-known role to date was that of Martin Luther King Jr. in the 2014 biographical drama film “Selma” (2014).
He has also appeared in films such as “Middle of Nowhere” (2012), “Lincoln” (2012), “The Butler” (2013), “The Rise of the Planet of the Apes” (2011), “Lincoln” (2012), “Jack Reacher” (2012), and “Blood and Oil” (2010). (a film about Niger-Delta, oil, and militancy in Nigeria).
Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun “O. T.” Fagbenle, an actor, writer, and director, was born in London to a Nigerian father and a British mother.
O.T has appeared in television shows such as “Grownups,” “Silence in the Library,” “Forest of the Dead,” “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and “Looking,” as well as films such as “Breaking and Entering” (2006), “I Could Never Be Your Woman” (2007), and “Black Widow” (2021), among many others.
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Richard Ellef Ayoade is a 44-year-old British actor, broadcaster, comedian, director, and writer.
He has appeared in a number of TV shows, including “The IT Crowd (2006–2013),” for which he won a BAFTA in 2014 for Best Male Comedy Performance.
He has provided voice work for a number of films, including “The Early Man (2018),” “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part (2019),” “Soul (2020),” and others.
Ayoade was born in London’s Hammersmith to a Nigerian father and a Norwegian mother.
Olurotimi Akinosho, better known as Rotimi, is an actor, singer, and model.
Rotimi was born in Maplewood, New Jersey, to Nigerian parents; his father was an investment banker of Yoruba origin, and his mother was a government employee of Igbo origin.
Rotimi, 32, is best known for his roles as Darius Morrison on the Starz series “Boss” (2011–2012) and Andre Coleman in “Power” (2015–2020). He has also appeared in films such as “Acts of Violence” (2018) and “Coming 2 America” (2021), among others.
Uzoamaka Nwanneka “Uzo” Aduba was born in Boston, Massachusetts to Nigerian parents.
The 40-year-old actress is best known for her portrayal of Suzanne “Crazy Eyes” Warren on the Netflix original series “Orange Is the New Black” (2013-2019), for which she received an Emmy Award.
She also portrayed Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the United States Congress, in Hulu’s Mrs. America (2020).
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje is a former fashion model and Nigerian-American actor, director, and producer.
He is best known for his roles in the films “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” (1995), “The Mummy Returns” (2001), “Pompeii” (2014), and “The Bourne Identity” (2002), as well as the television series “Lost” (2005–2006) and “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” (2009). He also appeared on the popular television show “Game of Thrones” (2015).
Akinnuoye-Agbaje was born in Washington, D.C. to Nigerian parents. His biological parents abandoned him at the age of six weeks to a white working-class family in Tilbury, Essex.
Tracy Ifeachor is a British-Nigerian stage and television actress.
She is best known for her roles in The CW vampire series “The Originals” (2015-2016), Doctor Who’s Christmas special “The End of Time” (2009-2010), and “Quantico” (2016 -2017).
Ifeachor, who was born in Plymouth, Devon, England, has appeared in films including “Blooded (2011)” and “Billionaire Ransom” (2016).
Olatokunbo Susan Olasobunmi Abeke “Toks” Olagundoye, 45, is a Nigerian actress. She is best known for her roles as Hayley Shipton in “Castle” and Jackie Joyner-Kersee in “The Neighbors” on ABC.
Olagundoye was born to a Nigerian father and a Norwegian mother in Lagos, Nigeria.
Ebubennem Megalyn Ann Echikunwoke was born in Spokane, Washington on May 28, 1983.
Echikunwoke is best known for her roles as “Nicole Palmer” in 24’s first season (2001), “Angie Barnett” in “That ’70s Show’s” seventh season (1998), and “Isabelle Tyler” in “The 4400.” (2004).
She has appeared in over 20 films, including “Who Do You Love” (2008), “Late Night” (2019), and others.
Her father is of Nigerian descent, and her mother is of English and Scots-Irish ancestry.
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Cynthia Onyedinmanasu Chinasaokwu Erivo is a British-Nigerian singer, songwriter, and actress.
Erivo, 34, made her film debut in 2018 with roles in the heist film “Widows” (2018) and the thriller “Bad Times at the El Royale” (2018).
She was nominated for several awards for her performance in the biopic “Harriet” (2019), including an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a Screen Actors Guild Award.
Erivo was born in Stockwell, South London, to Nigerian parents.
Nonso Anozie is an English actor of Nigerian descent who has featured in numerous TV series and movies.
He studied classical theater at the Royal Central School of Speech and Drama in London and went on to become the youngest professional actor to play Shakespeare’s King Lear.
Nonso Anozie, who stands 6 feet 6 inches tall, is best known for his role as Xaro Xhoan Daxos in the TV series “Game of Thrones” (2012), as well as appearances in “Dracula” (2013-2014) and “Zoo” (2015 -2017).
Anozie has also appeared in films such as “Conan the Barbarian” (2011) and “The Grey” (2012). (2011).
Anozie was born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian parents. Originally Nigerians
Babatunde Adetomiwa Stafford “Tomiwa” Edun is a British actor of Nigerian origin.
He is best known for his roles as Sir Elyan in “Merlin” (2010-2012), “Bates Motel” (2015), and Alex Hunter in the football video games FIFA 17, FIFA 18, and FIFA 19.
Edun was born in Lagos, Nigeria, to a Nigerian father and a mother who is half-Ghanaian and half-English. Originally Nigerians
John Adedayo B. Adegboyega, better known as John Boyega, was born in Peckham, England.
He appeared in the Star Wars sequel trilogy films “The Force Awakens,” “The Last Jedi,” and “The Rise of Skywalker” (2018).
Other films in Boyega’s resume include the historical drama “Detroit” (2017), the science fiction film “Pacific Rim: Uprising” (2018), four episodes of the television series “24: Live Another Day,” and the drama “Imperial Dreams” (2014). The 29-year-old also appeared in “Half of a Yellow Sun” as Ugwu.
John Boyega is a British-Nigerian actor and singer who was born in London to Nigerian parents. Originally Nigerians
Hakeem Kae-Kazim is a British-Nigerian actor who was born in Lagos but is originally from Ogun state. He is best known for his roles in the Starz television series “Black Sails” (2014–2016) and the drama film “Hotel Rwanda” (2004).
He has also appeared in several popular films, including “X-Men” (2009), “Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End” (2007), and “Godzilla vs. Kong” (2021).
Kae-Kazim has also appeared in Nollywood films such as “Last Flight To Abuja” (2012), “Black November” (2012), and “Half Of a Yellow Sun.”
Sophie Okonedo, the British actress and singer, was born to a Nigerian father and a Jewish mother.
She has appeared in films such as “Young Soul Rebels” (1991), “Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls” (1995), and “Dirty Pretty Things” (1999). (2002).
In 2004, Okonedo co-starred in the film “Hotel Rwanda” as Tatiana Rusesabagina, the wife of Rwandan hotel manager and humanitarian Paul Rusesabagina, played by American actor Don Cheadle.
Chiké Okonkwo, 39, is a Nigerian-English actor. He is best known for his roles as PC Clark in “New Tricks” (2003) and DC Callum Gada in “Paradox” (2009). On the BET series “Being Mary Jane” (2016–2019), he also played Lee Truitt, the title character’s love interest.
Okonkwo was born and raised in London, England, but he spends a lot of time traveling back and forth to Nigeria. Originally Nigerians
Hope Olaidé Wilson
Hope Adjoko Olubunkonla Olaide Wilson was born in the United Kingdom and grew up in both London and Lagos, Nigeria.
Wilson, 36, is best known for her roles in “Spenser Confidential” (2020), “Solace” (2018), and “The Last Ship” (2014), “I Can Do Bad All by Myself” (2009), “After the Dark” (2013), and “Faith and Dreams” (2014). (2010).
Her Nigerian parents raised her in Lagos, Nigeria and London, England.
Caroline Chikezie, 47, is a British-Nigerian actress. She is best known for her roles in the television series “As If” (2001), “The Passage” (2019), and others.
Chikezie has appeared in films such as “Eragon (2006)” and “Everly” (2014), among others.
She rose to prominence in recent years as the main character in the Nigerian television series “The Governor” (2016).
Chikezie was born in the United Kingdom to Nigerian parents. Chikezie was sent to a boarding school in Nigeria when she was fourteen, in an attempt to convince her to abandon her dreams of becoming an actress.
Oladayo A. Okeniyi is a Nigerian actor best known for his roles as Thresh in “The Hunger Games” (2012) and Danny Dyson in “Terminator Genisys” (2015).
Okeniyi, 33, was born in Jos and raised in Lagos, Nigeria.
His father is a retired Nigerian customs officer, and his mother is a Kenyan literature teacher. He moved from Nigeria to Indiana, United States, with his family in 2003, and later to California. Originally Nigerians
Anthony Alabi is a former American football offensive tackle and actor from the United States. Alabi, who is 40 years old, has been acting since 2010. He has appeared in a number of television shows. His most recent appearance was in the Netflix original series “Family Reunion” (2019).
Alabi’s father is Nigerian, and his mother is Puerto Rican. Originally Nigerians
Samuel Oluwaseyi Adegoke was born in Lagos, Nigeria, but spent his childhood in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota. His parents were missionary ministers who immigrated to the United States when he was a child.
He is best known for his role as Jeff Colby in the 2017–present TV series “Dynasty,” which premiered in October 2017.
Adegoke was cast as Michael Jackson’s bodyguard Javon Beard in the Lifetime biopic “Michael Jackson: Searching for Neverland” (2017) on January 30, 2017.
Annie Ngasi Illonzeh is a 38-year-old actress best known for her roles in “Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief” (2010), “He’s Just Not That Into You” (2009), and “General Hospital” (2010-2011).
Ilonzeh starred as Kidada Jones in the biographical drama film “All Eyez on Me” in 2017 and in the thriller “‘Til Death Do Us Part” in 2018. (2017). In 2018, she began co-starring in the NBC drama “Chicago Fire” as Emily Foster (2018 -2010).
She later played Kate Prince in the ABC reboot of “Charlie’s Angels” (2011). She later appeared in recurring roles on television shows such as “Arrow,” “Drop Dead Diva” (2013), and “Empire” (2016).
Ilonzeh was born in the Texas town of Grapevine. Her father is of Nigerian origin, while her mother is white.
David Ajala is a British-Nigerian actor best known for his roles as Manchester Black in “Supergirl” and Captain Roy Eris in “Nightflyers.” In October 2020, he joined the regular cast of “Star Trek: Discovery” for season three.
David Ajala was born in the London borough of Hackney. Both his Nigerian mother and father are actors. Originally Nigerians
Christopher Obi Ogugua, 50, is an actor and director best known for his roles as Mr. Jacquel/Anubis in “American Gods” (2017) and Klingon captain T’Kuvma in “Star Trek: Discovery” (2017).
Other television appearances include “Trial & Retribution” (2002), “Doctor Who” (2011), “Roots” (2016), “American Gods,” “3Below: Tales of Arcadia,” and “Strike Back Revolution.”
He has also appeared in films such as “Burke and Hare” (2010), “The Counsellor” (2013), and “Ghost In The Shell” (2017).
Chris Obi was born in London to a Nigerian father.
Ebbe Bassey is a Nigerian-American actress who has appeared in a number of Nigerian and American films, including “Doctor Bello” (2013), “Mother of George” (2013), and TV shows such as “NYPD Blue,” among others. She was nominated for best supporting actress for her performance in “Ties That Bind” (2011).
Bassey was born in the United States but spent her adolescence in Calabar before relocating permanently. Originally Nigerians
Rakie Olufunmilayo Ayola is a Welsh actress who has appeared on stage and in television.
Ayola has appeared in television shows such as “Black Mirror” (2011), “Silent Witness” (2012), and “EastEnders” (2001), as well as a number of Shakespearean theatrical performances and feature films such as “Great Moments in Aviation” (1993), The I Inside (2003), and Sahara (2005).
Ayola, who is 53 years old, was born in Cardiff, Wales to a Sierra Leonean mother and a Nigerian father.
Enuka Vanessa Okuma is a Canadian actress best known for her role as detective Traci Nash in the 2010–2015 police drama series “Rookie Blue.”
Okuma is also known for her work on the Canadian TV shows “Madison” (1994–1998) and “Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye” (2002–2005).
She has appeared in films such as “House of the Dead” (2003), “Battle of the Sexes” (2017), “The Sleepover” (2020), and others.
Okuma was born in the city of Vancouver, British Columbia. She is of Nigerian origin. Originally Nigerians
Donald Faison Adeosun
Donald Adeosun Faison is a comedian, actor, and voice actor from the United States.
Donald, 47, rose to prominence in the comedy film “Clueless” (1995). Faison has also appeared in “Waiting to Exhale” (1995), “Remember the Titans” (2000), “Uptown Girls” (2003), “Something New” (2006), “Next Day Air” (2009), and “Kick-Ass 2.” (2013).
Donald Adeosun Faison was born in the United States to a Nigerian father and an American mother.
Olamidé Aladejobi Patrick Alexander Faison, 38, is a singer and actor from the United States.
On the children’s television show Sesame Street, he plays Miles Robinson. Faison, who was born in New York City, joined the cast in 2003. After Miles Orman and Imani Patterson, he is the third actor to play the role.
Olamidé is the actor Donald Faison’s younger brother.
37 years of age Folake Olowofoyeku is a Nigerian singer and actress. She is currently starring in Chuck Lorre’s 2019 CBS sitcom “Bob Hearts Abishola.”
The first American sitcom to feature a Nigerian family is Bob Hearts Abishola. Olowofoyeku plays Abishola, a Nigerian cardiac nurse on the show.
She’s also appeared in films like “Death Race 2050.” (2017).
Olowofoyeku was born in Nigeria to Nigerian politician Babatunji Olowofoyeku and his wife Felicia Olowofoyeku. She is the youngest of a family of twenty. She grew up on Lagos’s Victoria Island and also spent time in London.
Olowofoyeku currently resides in Los Angeles.
Nyambi Nyambi is a Nigerian-born American character actor. Samuel in the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly” was his most notable role.
Since 2017, he has portrayed investigator Jay DiPersia in the CBS All Access legal drama “The Good Fight.” He has also starred in “The Death of Superman” (2018).
Nyambi was born on April 26, 1979, in Norman, Oklahoma, to Nigerian parents. Originally Nigerians
Okieriete “Oak” Onaodowan is a singer and actor from the United States.
He has several screen credits, including the role of Lou in the feature film “Thanks for Sharing” (2012) and roles in the television shows “Gravity” and “Blue Bloods.”
Onaodowan played James Madison and Hercules Mulligan in the Broadway musical “Hamilton.” He received a Grammy Award for his contribution to Hamilton’s cast album.
He was born to Nigerian parents in Newark, New Jersey.
Nnamdi Asomugha is an actor, producer, and former football cornerback from the United States.
Asomugha, 40, received critical acclaim for his performance as Carl King in the film “Crown Heights” (2017). He appeared in the 2012 film “Fire,” alongside Bruce Willis, Rosario Dawson, and Josh Duhamel.
He also co-wrote, produced, and starred in “Double Negative,” a dramatic short film.
Asomugha was born to Nigerian parents in Lafayette, Louisiana. Originally Nigerians
Sope Aluko is a British-American actress of Nigerian origin.
Her father was in the diplomatic service, so she was raised in the United Kingdom and traveled extensively.
Sope has appeared on numerous television shows since then, including “Bloodline,” “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” “Parks and Recreation,” “Burn Notice,” “Graceland,” and “Army Wives.”
She has also appeared in feature films such as “Identity Thief” (2013) and “Pitch Perfect 2” (2015), as well as “Black Panther” (2018). Originally Nigerians
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