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Richard Mofe-Damijo: An Actor's Actor

Posted by By Modupe Ogunbayo on 2005/01/18 | Views: 13778 |

Richard Mofe-Damijo: An Actor's Actor

When Nigerian motion picture lovers think of an actor possessing thorough character interpretation, versatility, fine attention to detail, style and panache, whose name do you imagine would pop up? Richard Mofe-Damijo's of course! Twice he has emerged the best actor in Nigeria.

When Nigerian motion picture lovers think of an actor possessing thorough character interpretation, versatility, fine attention to detail, style and panache, whose name do you imagine would pop up? Richard Mofe-Damijo's of course! Twice he has emerged the best actor in Nigeria.

Indeed, Richard Mofe-Damijo, popularly called RMD, is worlds apart from some of his peers in the profession. He does not only interpret roles well but goes the extra mile to accomplish that. He takes the pain to look gorgeous so he might look the dashing and loyal lover or husband. He does not mind sporting ear rings, eyeliner and colourful shirts to look the part of a demonic painter. He speaks concise English like a true Lagos taxi driver when he acts one. Or when he acts an illiterate drunk. Mofe-Damijo believes that is the true path to professionalism in Nollywood. And, he does not shy away from being the crusader for true professionalism.

Consequently, younger Nollywood actors have taken after his lead. Roles are not just acted without life or vigour nowadays. Besides, professionalism is now the hallmark of these younger actors many of who model themselves after Mofe-Damijo. That is why no Nollywood actor would wear the same costume in different home videos. Or an actor would fail to make an indelible mark in a particular role. Thanks to his indirect leadership and attributes, Nollywood could boast of quality acting from Desmond Elliot, Ramsey Nouah jnr, Jim Hyke, Segun Arinze, Emeka Ike and so on.

It is not surprising then that Nollywood emerged the third largest film industry after, Hollywood of the US and Bollywood of India. Nollywood lovers rush to buy these home videos not just because of its story-lines but, because of the cast. If a cast has Mofe-Damijo, it is certain to be a blockbuster. This trait, invariable has made him one of the most expensive actors in Nollywood today.

This fact might have necessitated the 'ban' placed on him, alongside others recently. But Mofe-Damijo is undeterred. In fact, his pedigree rises above the ban. His talents lie beyond the shores of the country. He has acted in two international productions: Heart of the Father, the United States-based CBN Television production and Critical Assignment. Besides, he acted in and produced his movie, Out of Bounds, in 1998, which was a masterpiece. So, being laid off for a year does not disturb him. Actually, it affords him the opportunity to focus totally on his other passions. Apart from being an actor, Mofe-Damijo owns Whitewater, a public relations firm based in Lagos.

Born on July 6, 1961, Mofe-Damijo was educated at Midwest College, Warri and Anglican Grammar School, Okpara Waterside, via Sapele in the old Bendel State, now Delta State. Afterwards, he proceeded to the University of Benin to study Theatre Arts. Shortly after leaving school, however, in 1983, he cut his acting teeth in Ripples, a television soap opera in the 1980s. While many looked forward to seeing him on the weekly soap which ran for eight years because of his scintillating performance, later events proved his best was yet to come.

If he sizzled in Ripples, he literally became a household name in Checkmate, another weekly soap opera on national television. As Segun Kadiri, an enigmatic and calculating vengeance-seeker, his performance in that soap is yet to be rivaled by any other actor in Nollywood. From that moment on, he has never looked back. After the soap was rested in 1993, he re-surfaced in home videos which boomed thereafter. Mofe-Damijo's face adorning a film jacket is enough to guarantee huge sales return. Men love to watch him act in movies too because he reflects what they have or crave for. Ladies love to watch him not only because of his exceptional acting skills but also because of his good looks, and charisma.

Shortly after leaving school, he had a stint with Concord Newspapers. Later, he joined the cast of Ripples, a television soap opera in the 1980s. His stint with Concord was to prove valuable later on. During his first marriage to late Mee Mofe-Damijo, a foremost Nigerian journalist, he worked briefly with her when she founded Classique magazine. Soon after, he quit Classique to publish Mister magazine, now defunct. After Mee's death, in 1996, he remarried in 1999 to Jumobi, a former television and radio presenter. He has five children.

Mofe-Damijo's fondest memories are nostalgic memories of growing up in Warri, Delta State. Being an only child of his mother, he was particularly bonded to her. Subsequently, he could do most womanly chores with ease. It is not surprising then that he is a good cook. Not only that, he also relishes travelling, playing squash and writing poetry. His greatest passion, however, is acting on stage. It is more challenging, spontaneous and involves direct audience participation. From the time he was a student, he has acted in several stage productions. And till date, he still loves the stage.

He consistently looks for ways of expressing himself better and better. This prompted him to return to school in 1997. That year he enrolled at the University of Lagos to study Law. Right now, he is about qualifying as a lawyer.

Through a relentless pursuit of professionalism in Nollywood and an innate ability to do common things in an uncommon manner, Richard Mofe-Damijo has emerged the actors' actor.

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Comments (3)

Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.