Born on the 7th of March in 1947, Pete Edochie is one of the legendary Nollywood actors with a career spanning well over four decades. Considered one of Africa’s most talented actors, Edochie came into prominence in the 1980s when he played the lead role of ‘Okonkwo’ in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s all-time best-selling novel, ‘Things Fall Apart’. Before he ventured fully into the filming industry, he cut a career for himself as a seasoned administrator and broadcaster. He got into radio broadcasting in 1967 at the age of 20, as a Junior Programmes Assistant, after which, he was elevated to the level of a Director. In a concurrent manner, he served as the Director of Programmes, and sometimes as Deputy Managing Director and/or acting as Managing Director.
‘Things Fall Apart’, ‘Things Fell Apart’
Edochie was introduced to the limelight by his role playing in Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart’. His performance was exceptional enough to have caught the international eye and gain international recognition, so eye-catching that, the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) had to fly into Nigeria to grant him an interview. This happened during his time as a broadcaster and administrator at the ABS. However, things fell apart! His time at ABS was cut short at about the time he would attain the rank of Managing Director; The termination being a consequence of government politicizing the affairs of the FM Station. And as they maxim goes, ‘every disappointment is a blessing’, this ‘loss’ of civil service became the gain of the public eye; a pursuit of a career in filmmaking and acting.an opportunity to become a legend in the movie industry.
Edochie: Cast in ‘The Famous G8’ Episode
In 2005, Edochie alongside other Nollywood stars that were regarded as A-List Celebrities were banned for one year, by the Nigeria’s Actors Guild from acting or filming. This ban came as a result of the allegations by film makers and producers, that the actors charged exorbitant prices for their appearances in movies. Some of the other actors that were included in the famous G8 incident include the likes of Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Nkem Owoh, Ramsey Noah, Stella Damasus Aboderin, and Richard Mofe Damijo. At the time, the ban was to the chagrin of the actors involved as well as the provenance of most of their fans. The speculation was that, the ban would negatively impact the Nigeria filming industry. Fortunately, the industry has kept on thriving all through those years and the ‘banned’ actors are back on set and filming.
Pete, Peter…, Edochie
Edochie has been rated as one of the most talented actors not just in Nigeria, but in Africa. He has received awards, honours and accolades from different quarters; Movie Magic, Africa Magic Cable network, Movie Awards etc. He was honoured with an Industry Merit Award by Africa Magic and Lifetime Achievement by Africa Film Academy. In 2003, the then President of Nigeria, President Olusegun Obasanjo honoured conferred on him the honour of Member of the Order of the Niger.
His contribution and the role he played in the growth of Nollywood and the African film industry earned him an AMVCA Industry Merit Award in 2014. This is justifiable, seeing his significant contributions from 1967 (passively), and the 1980’s (actively) till date. Edochie has well over 200 movies (and still counting) to his name. Some of these movies include; Secret Pain, Heavy Battle, Greatest Harvest, Test Your Heart IGODO, Things Fall Apart, Narrow Escape, Evil Men, Oracle and most recently, LionHeart.
Though He is currently regarded one of the most influential, affluent and most popular Nigerian film actors, especially within the Nigerian Movie Industry. Edochie is also a devoted member of the Catholic Church and therefore, has devoted most of his time in these latter years to church.
In September 2017, Edochie endorsed Wikimedia movement in Nigeria by appearing in a video to increase awareness and use of Wikipedia among the older generations.
Featured image source: Afro Tourism