ACTOR PROFILING: JUSTUS ESIRI
There are a handful of actors that have made their mark in the Nigerian movie scene, those who have been able to carve their names in our hearts with their captivating performance on stage and on screen, Justus Esiri is one of them. Born November 20, 1942, in Oria Abraka, Delta State, the veteran actor is considered to be one of the strongmen in Nollywood. His career spans over 20 decades, from 1960 until his demise on February 19, 2013.
Justus proceeded to Effurun and attended Urhobo College in the then Bendel State, where he had his primary and secondary education. He was a very bright student who developed a keen interest in the arts early. His principal was a principled man who despite being strict allowed his students to express themselves. Justus got inspired with the wealth of books in the library well-equipped library that was where he first fell in love with the arts. He flew abroad to continue his education, Germany to be precise. There he studied Engineering at the Maximillian University Munich in 1964, Professor Weners Institute of Engineering, West Berlin in 1967 and the Ahrens School of Performing Arts in 1968.
While he Germany, he lived in West Berlin but frequents East Berlin because he had a lot of friends that were into acting, also there were a lot of theatres in that region. The wall was not much of a problem since the Nazi regime was over and the government was trying to make everyone feel comfortable so it was not really a problem for a foreigner going to the East from the West. Living there he learned the language and could speak German fluently. It didn’t take long before his career as an actor kicked off in the country, he was the only Nigerian on stage acting in Berlin. He was also working as a German translator in the Voice of Nigeria over there. It was during one of his performances that he got an invitation from a Nigerian delegation to come partake in FESTAC 77 and also star in the “Village Headmaster”. Justus was impressed and he hopped on a plane back to Nigeria, since then he has stayed back to contribute to the growth of the performing arts.
This talented thespian has brought smiles to the face of many movie lovers both home and abroad. He combines elegance and skill while on stage or in front of the camera, his articulate and master of the English language is sensational. The man with the croaked voice that commands respect from his peers and is looked up to by younger colleagues in the industry. His role in the Village Headmaster is one that still gets people talking till date. He has been in over 8productionson both on stage and on screen some of which has earned him several awards.
Married to Omiete Esiri, a woman from Kalabari of Rivers State. They have six children together and also grandchildren. One of his sons is the popular Afro-pop singer Sidney Esiri (Dr, Sid) and he has numerous hits to his credit. Justus Esiri used to unwinds by playing golf at the Ikeja Club where he also hangs out with colleague and friends.
Justus Esiri passed on at the age of 71 due to complication resulting from Diabetes in a Lagos hospital on February 10 2013. His death was a blow to the entire movie world and the nation at large. He is remembered by the legacy he left through his movies.