THISDAY

RMD, King of the Silver Screen at 60

Veteran actor, Richard Mofe-Damijo turned sixty last Tuesday. It was heralded by a spectacle of posts which brought to the fore his very well known status. Ferdinand Ekechukwu reports

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To be frank, Richard MofeDamijo sure looks good at age sixty and more so thankful to the almighty God for the milestone which appears a remarkable triumph in his story. Better known as RMD by many, Richard is a folk hero, greatly admired for his achievemen­ts in acting in Africa, particular­ly in Nigeria. So you can imagine the outpouring of emotions and love extended to this great thespian on his diamond jubilee. No doubt, he has inspired millions of Nigerians with his talent and creativity.

The debonair actor and role model had brought his many years of experience to bear on his performanc­e in acting which had inspired many to the thespian profession. It is worth reckoning his contributi­on to the Nollywood industry. Fans and colleagues also took to their social media pages to celebrate the movie icon and speaking glowingly about the former commission­er of Culture and Tourism in Delta State. This comes a few hours after he opened up about his life and marriage in a recent interview.

Sharing a photo, where he was dressed in a white shirt, the King of the silver screen expressed gratitude to God for the new age. He said: “Finally, It’s dawn and it’s my birthday. What an incredible journey, this has been. Yet I won’t tire. Just super grateful and thankful. Life like a Nollywood movie. To God be the glory!” Few hours to his birthday, the actor had shared another set of lovely photos.

Even after his birthday celebratio­ns, the posts continue with so many pictures and reposts and prayers, creating so many beautiful new memories. It was everything he hoped for and more.

Mofe-Damijo was born in Aladja community of Udu Kingdom, near Warri, Delta State. He attended Midwest College, Warri and Anglican Grammar School and was a member of the Drama Club.

He enrolled into the University of Benin to continue his education and studied Theatre Arts. In 1997, Mofe-Damijo returned to the university to study law at the University of Lagos and graduated in 2004. After graduating from the university, RMD took part in a television soap opera in the late 80’s called Ripples. Before then, he had a stint with Concord Newspapers and Metro Magazine as a reporter. Out of Bounds (1997) was the Àrst Àlm for which he received a writer/ producer credit. In 2005, at the maiden edition of the African Movie Academy Awards, Mofe-Damijo won the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role.

Some of the movies he has acted in include ‘Hostages’ (1997), ‘Scores to Settle’ (1998), ‘Diamond Ring’ (1998), ‘Freedom’ (1999), ‘When God Says Yes’ (2003), ‘The Intruder’ (2003), ‘The Mayors’ (2004), ‘I want Your Wife’ (2004), ‘Engagement Night’ (2004), ‘Critical Assignment’ (2004), ‘The Bridesmaid’ (2005) ‘Darkest Night’ (2005), ‘30 Days in Atlanta’ (2014), ‘Oloibiri’ (2015), ‘Okafor’s Law’ (2016), ‘Three Wise Men’ (2016), ‘The Wedding Party’ (2016), ‘Chief Daddy’ (2018), 30 Days in Atlanta, ‘Seven’ (2019) and dozens of others.

Living in the spotlight is often regarded as a blessing and a curse, and this is something Richard Mofe-Damijo understand­s all too well. A rounded artiste as solely observed, RMD was a journalist before succumbing to the allure of the big stage. Along the way of life, RMD has been an actor, politician, writer, lawyer and poet, but he likes to keep it simple by insisting that he likes to be known as an actor, for it was the study of Theatre Arts at the University of Benin, going against the expectatio­ns of his parents as the only male child in a family of 17, that opened the opportunit­ies for his other roles.

The ever-green actor once said: “I’m an actor because that’s what everybody knows me as. I’m a qualiÀed lawyer and communicat­or. I do corporate communicat­ions, government relations, public operations and I give opinions on legal matters when it concerns trademarks and intellectu­al property. I’m that kind of person that must be juggling three or four things at the same time to maintain a balance.”

Youthful minded, relating with the younger generation has always been easy for RMD. Interestin­gly, he puts it this way: “I think that you are only as old as you allow yourself. I have an incredible team of young people. I don’t have anybody in their forties that work with me. The oldest is just a bit above 30. That way, they look at me in the eye and say, ‘Papa this is not right. This is how it works now’. With social media, I was very reluctant participan­t but I also got to see many values in it when it is used right. No matter the age, I’m never afraid to start again.”

Having made an impact in so many lives and hailed by all, RMD has every reason to celebrate as he clocked the big 60. The veteran actor explained that he was happy about his birthday because none of his parents had lived to become 60. According to him, his mother died at 59 while his father passed on at 57/58. Explaining further, RMD said his life was just about to start at 60: “There’s been a specter of death around my life, that’s what I’ve been dealing with last year till this year. When I turned 59, it was a big deal for me, big deal for me! My mom died at 59, my father died at 57/58. So, it was like, can I break it?

“When people see me and I go on a weight loss, people think that... you know, its health. Both my parents were diabetic and hypertensi­ve, I don’t want to be that. I don’t want to be diabetic and hypertensi­ve, I want to be healthier. At least give myself a Àghting chance to change that whole cycle. Yes I’m a Christian now, so I’ve broken that yoke but I have to also help myself. Becoming 60 for me is even a bigger deal, so when July comes and I become 60.

“You know how the Bible says old things have passed away, I will truly truly become a new man because that is when I’ll make a bucket list. So all these things that you think I’ve achieved or done, for me it’s nothing, like zero. So I’m going to now sit down when I’m 60 and do a bucket list … and then we’ll start.”

 ??  ?? Richard Mofe-Damijo
Richard Mofe-Damijo

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