Story Of Orlando Martins, Nigeria's first Hollywood star

In a 1947 survey, Orlando Martins was recognized as one of the top 15 favorite actors in England.

The history of filmmaking in Nigeria can be traced back to the 20th century when colonialists produced several films.

As this unnamed industry continued to grow significantly, Nigerians began securing speaking roles, and Orlando Martins emerged as a rising star in the United Kingdom.

Born on December 8, 1899, in Lagos to a Brazilian father and a Nigerian mother from Ijebu, Orlando Martins relocated to London after World War I. His foray into acting began at the Lyceum Theatre, where he secured his first job as an actor in training.

Between the 1920s and World War II, Martins served as an extra in various films, among them the notable ‘Sanders of the River,’ directed by Alexander Korda and starring the iconic American actor Paul Robeson. Martins also showcased his talents in circuses and professional wrestling.

"Orlando Martins: From Lagos to Hollywood - A Cinematic Journey"

After World War II, Martins’ acting career soared, with notable roles in films such as ‘Men of Two Worlds’ (1946), ‘The Men From Morocco’ (1945), ‘The Hasty Heart’ (1949), ‘BBC Sunday-Night Theatre’ (1950), ‘Where No Vultures Fly’ (1951), ‘Simba’ (1955), and others.

By the 1940s, Orlando was already a renowned actor, ranking among England’s top 15 favorite actors in a 1945 poll.

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In 1959, he returned to Lagos, engaging in stage performances and participating in notable plays, including the stage adaptation of Wole Soyinka’s ‘Kongi’s Harvest.’ Orlando Martins’ final film role was in the adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s ‘Things Fall Apart.’

Orlando Martins passed away in Lagos on September 25, 1985, at the age of 85.

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