Interesting Facts About O-T Fagbenle, The Rising Nigerian-English Actor

By AlishPublished on: June 10, 2024 Updated on: June 10, 2024
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Few families match the distinct accomplishments of the Fagbenles, and O-T Fagbenle stands out even among the 12 children his father, Tunde Fagbenles, fathered with six different women.

His upbringing, guided by his mother, Ally Bedford, a notable sustainability consultant, and his pioneering journalist father, spanned continents—from Lagos to London.

Known for his role as Luke Bankole in The Handmaid’s Tale, Fagbenle has built a multifaceted career in acting, writing, and directing, influenced by the rich values and diverse perspectives of his extensive family.

Fagbenle Credits His Mother For the Values and Aspirations He Possesses

Fagbenle openly attributes his values and aspirations to his mother, Ally, a distinguished sustainability consultant. Her impactful career has spanned over 46 countries, where she has played a crucial role in fostering sustainable and equitable development through her firm, IDC Ltd.

Her professional pursuits span from renewable energy to agriculture, spearheading major projects from inception to fruition. Ally’s work rigorously adheres to international standards while engaging communities and building local capacities, ensuring the sustainability of these initiatives.

O-T Fagbenle with his mom, Ally Bedford
O-T kissing his mom.

Ally’s expertise particularly shines in ethical land acquisition and resettlement, ensuring developments are both beneficial and just. Beyond her professional roles, she dedicates herself to mentoring emerging sustainability experts, emphasizing ethical practices and knowledge transfer.

Reflecting on his mother’s profound influence, O-T expresses deep admiration:

My mother is the greatest influence in my life, she is the bravest, most generous, most daring and most profound person I know.

She embodies so many things I want to achieve. If I lived half my mother’s life I would consider myself as a victor” O-T added.

His Father Is A Pioneer of Tourism Journalism in Nigeria

In the 1970s, O-T’s father emerged as a trailblazer in tourism journalism in Nigeria. As the managing editor of TRAVELS, a magazine focusing on business and tourism, he broadened perspectives on Nigeria’s tourism potential.

His entrepreneurial journey extended further; in 1984, he founded Alfa Communications Limited, launching the renowned Nigeria Banking Annual and creating the prestigious Banker of the Year Award.

His tenure as publisher of the London-based Nigeria HomeNews weekly from 1989 to 1992 catered to Nigerians abroad. He also established the Movement for Democracy & Human Rights in Nigeria, stepping into activism, which led to a stint of solitary confinement under the General Abacha military regime in 1996.

Young O-T Fagbenle with his father, Tunde Fagbenle
Young O-T Fagbenle with his father.

Moreover, he is the founder of the Foundation for Values & Normative Change which promotes essential values for Nigeria’s development. His literary contributions include three books; Nigeria: This Is My Country, Damn It! (2000); Nigeria – A Thousand Laughs, A Thousand Cries (2010); and That’s Saying It The Way It Is (2017).

According to O-T, his father’s influence extends far beyond professional achievements. Known for his open-mindedness and intelligence, Tunde instilled principles of kindness, fairness, and liberalism in O-T.

In his own words, “My dad also has a way of treating people with a sense of kindness, one of the things he told me there is no wisdom greater than kindness, that really influenced me. (sic)”

His Father’s Connection Paved the Way to Acting

Fagbenle’s journey into acting was significantly influenced by his father’s connections, particularly through a friend, Rufus Orisayomi. It was Orisayomi who first introduced O-T to the theater, casting him in a Nigerian adaptation of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. This pivotal experience sparked his passion for the stage and set the course for his future in acting.

After studying at the prestigious Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he quickly made his mark with a debut at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Les Blancs. His theatrical prowess continued to flourish with standout performances in Romeo and Juliet and Porgy and Bess.

Expanding his artistic repertoire, Fagbenle made notable appearances in films such as Breaking and Entering and I Could Never Be Your Woman, before stepping into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Black Widow in 2021.

His television career has been equally distinguished, with roles in series like The Handmaid’s Tale, which earned him several award nominations, including an Emmy.

Wants to Collaborate With Nigerian Filmmakers

Belonging to both Yoruba Nigerian and British heritage, Fagbenle expresses deep admiration for Nollywood, the Nigerian film industry.

He often says that despite the significant budget differences in the film industries, Nigerian cinema’s creativity and resourcefulness stand out. “In the U.S., a single episode can cost about $5 million. But in Nigeria, they produce amazing movies with far less—and that’s truly inspiring,” he explains.

 

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A post shared by O-T Fagbenle (@otfagbenle)

Already incorporating Nigerian cinematic flair into his television show, MAXXX, O-T is eager to further his collaborations with Nigerian filmmakers.

On a personal note, he is also connecting with his Yoruba roots by learning the language, though he finds it challenging. “I’m trying to learn Yoruba, but it’s tough. Every mispronunciation brings a laugh, which is a bit disheartening,” he shared in an interview.

A Legacy of Champions: The Fagbenle Siblings

The Fagbenle family is renowned for its roster of accomplished individuals, including the talented Fagbenle. Alongside O-T are his siblings Kunle, Banke, Luti, Dapo, Seyi, Torera, Tito, Pekun, Toto, Tani, and Temi, each having established significant careers across various fields.

Kunle, the oldest of the Fagbenle brood, was a distinguished lawyer who practiced in both Nigeria and the United States until his passing in 2018 at the age of 49.

The Fagbenles family posing for a picture
Tunde with his children.

Temi, another standout among O-T’s siblings, has excelled in professional basketball, even participating in an Olympics and securing a WNBA championship. This illustrious family, which spans various fields and countries, continues to uphold a legacy of achievement and unity, deeply instilled by their father.

O-T Fagbenle Is Not Dating Anyone

Fagbenle captivates audiences with his compelling portrayals of relationships in both The Handmaid’s Tale and HBO’s Looking. As Luke Bankole in The Handmaid’s Tale, he navigates the turbulent waters of a dystopian society as a devoted husband.

In Looking, he adopts the complex role of Frank, a gay man in an open relationship, bringing authenticity and depth to the character despite being straight in real life.

 

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A post shared by O-T Fagbenle (@otfagbenle)

Despite his convincing and intense on-screen romances, Fagbenle remains discreet about his real-life romantic endeavors and is seemingly single at present, offering little public insight into his personal relationships.

About Author: Alish

Alish is a skilled content writer who blends creative flair with thorough research to craft engaging and enjoyable content.