Veteran Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie, just celebrated his 66th birthday amidst rumour of his death. Patience Ivie IHEJIRIKA writes.
It will be recalled that a young man, Hyacinth Ani, during the last yuletide posted on facebook that Pete Edochie died after falling off a 50 feet height in Austria.
The actor in a YouTube video said he heard the rumour of his death in Austria and was amused because he does not fly and would not have travelled all the way from Nigeria to Austria on foot.
“I found it very amusing even though it disturbed my family and all the people who know me. Why I found it amusing is because I don’t fly and wouldn’t have gone to Austria on foot.” He explained.
Edochie who is seen as a role model by many Nigerians is also considered one of Africa’s most talented actors by both Movie Awards and Africa Magic Cable network.
Born March 7, 1947, the actor came into prominence in the 80s when he played the lead role of Okonkwo in an NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s all time best selling novel, “Things Fall Apart”.
He got into radio broadcasting in 1967 as a junior programmes assistant after which he was elevated to the position of a Director through hard work. He left ABS and enrolled in the movie industry. Prior to that, he had having featured in “Things Fall Apart”, won an International Awards. The BBC flew into Nigeria to interview him for his role in the NTA adapted drama in the novel.
He has featured in over 50 movies including: Heavy Battle (2008), Test Your Heart (2008), Greatest Harvest (2007), Secret Pain (2007), Fair Game (2006), Holy Cross (2006), Lacrima (2006), Living with Death (2006), Passage of Kings (2006), Simple Baby (2006), Zoza (2006), Azima (2005), Baby Girl (2005), End of Money (2005), Living in Tears (2005), Never End (2005), No More War (2005), The Price of Love: Life Is Beautiful (2005).
Others include Sacred Tradition (2005), The Tyrant (2005), Across the Niger (2004), Coronation (2004), Dogs Meeting (2004), Set-Up (2000), Chain Reaction (1999), Lost Kingdom (1999), Narrow Escape (1999), Rituals (1997), Lion throne and many more.
The well respected actor has also won several awards for himself including the Evergreen Awards, Pioneer Actors Award, Best Actor in Africa 2001, Best Actor in Nigeria 2003, University of Nigeria Theatre Arts Achievement Award, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka Theatre Arts Achievement Award and Actors Guild of Nigeria Grand Patron among others.
In 2005, the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria placed Pete Edochie and several other actors, including Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Jalade Ekeinde, Nkem Owoh, Ramsey Noah, Stella DamasusAboderin, Chinwe Okeke and Richard Mofe Damijo on a one year ban from filming after they were said to have been collecting huge fees from producers due to their A-list celebrity status.
On August 16, 2009, Edochie was kidnapped on the Afor-Nkpor road, near Onitsha. The actor was on his way from his home in Enugu to an event in Onitsha when his car was ambushed andhe was abducted. No fewer than three persons were said to have been shot dead on the spot for allegedly trying to foil the kidnap. He was later released on August 17, 2009.