Nollywood has got loads of great talents who have displayed their acting process and consistency over the years. One of such actors is the ever energetic and dramatic Pete Edochie, our profile for the month.
Born March 7, 1947, in Enugu, Enugu state, Pete Edochie is regarded as one of Africa’s finest and most decorated actors to come out of Nigeria. The Anambra indigene came to limelight when he acted in Chinua Achebe’s all-time bestselling novel “Things fall apart”. This was in the 1980s and was showed on the Nigerian Television Authority. Pete played the lead character- Okonkwo, this was a major boost in his career and it introduced him as an A-list actor in the film industry.
Pete Edochie had his primary and secondary education in Zaria, Kaduna state Nigeria. He had a stint in the Nigerian Railway Corporation after which he left to join the broadcast industry in 1967 at age 20. He studied Journalism and Television in the School of Journalism and Television, England. He started off as a junior programs assistant and within a short while was promoted to Director. As Director of Programmes, he sometimes doubles as Deputy Managing Director and in some cases as Managing Director.
Pete left ABS when the government started politizing the affairs of the Radio station, this resulted in the entire management and staff leaving as well on the request of the government. He plunged into the world of film full time after that, he was supposed to succeed the then Managing Director of ABS, but since that didn’t work out he decided to switch careers. Pete had always been fascinated by three professions, all within the confines of the Arts- Journalism, Broadcasting, and Acting. And he actually did taste all three, the latter giving him worldwide recognition. Worthy of mention is an international award he won for playing the lead role in “Things Fall Apart”, this also saw the BBC flying in the country to interview him.
Known to be picky when it comes to scripts and the characters he plays, Pete is a well-respected thespian. He brings a combination of charisma, confidence, and versatility in the profession. Pete Edochie has acted in over 200 Nollywood movies. He usually depicts strong characters and is well loved for the many traditional proverbs he dishes out to the delight of his fans. Because of the character, he acted in “Things Fall Apart” till date many still refer and address him by the name Okonkwo Ebube Dike. The author, Chinua Achebe never called him by his real name again, he believed that Pete played the character he created so well and from then on, he ascribes the name to Pete. Pete was quoted as saying that they were very close and used to have long conversations together before his demise.
In 2005 he and some of his colleagues were banned by the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria for demanding huge fees from producers because of their A-list status in the industry. The ban was for one year after which it was lifted. Sadly in 2009, August 16th to be precise, Pete Edochie was kidnapped on his way to an event. The kidnap took place at Nkpor, Anambra state, after the kidnappers discovered who he was, they released him the next day unharmed.
Pete Edochie got married at the age of 22, two years after he joined the broadcast world. He married during the Biafran war. According to him, his marriage is one of the longest in the movie industry, 45 years in a blissful relationship and they are blessed with six children, all boys. Two of his sons, Yul and Linc are also actors. Safe to say that their father passed his love for the screen to his children.
Credits – Mikky Anyangbeso