Nollywood legendary actor Dejumo Lewis dies at the age of 80: The Nigerian entertainment industry has been hit with the sad news of the passing of popular Nollywood actor Dejumo Lewis, who has passed away at the age of 80.
His colleague Mr. Saheed Balogun confirmed the death of the veteran actor through an emotional post he shared on his own Instagram account on Saturday.
In a heartfelt tribute, Balogun shared a photo of the late actor with the caption: “Goodnight Dejumo Luis, may your soul rest in complete peace.” The village chief of Nigeria’s longest-running soap opera passed away early Saturday morning at the age of 80.
Fellow actor Syed Balogun announced his death on Instagram, bringing sadness to the Nigerian entertainment industry.
Lewis was born in Ekiti, southwestern Nigeria, in 1943, but his path to acting was anything but conventional. His career began behind the scenes rather than in the public eye, honing his skills both in Nigeria and abroad, first as a programmer and then as a producer/director.
But he found the temptation of the story irresistible. In 1964, Lewis was drawn to the emerging world of Nigerian television.
Dejumo Ruiz initially joined the cast of The Village Chief as a freelance actor. However, his talent and charisma quickly became undeniable. In 1968, he was offered the role of Kabiyesi, a wise and kind king who rules over a fictional village in the series.
This was Lewis’ trademark role, and he played it with grace and authority that transcended the screen and made him a favorite in Nigerian households.
Lewis was Kabiyesi where he ruled for 20 years (from 1968 to 1989) and witnessed the evolution of Nigerian television and the changing landscape of the country.
The Village Chief began as a black-and-white morality tale and evolved into a complex examination of social issues, family relationships, and the ever-present hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Through it all, Lewis’ Kabiyesi remained a constant, pillar of wisdom and tradition, offering guidance and gentle humor to a world grappling with the challenges of our time.
He has mentored countless aspiring actors and his commitment to his craft has earned him international recognition, including invitations to train in Europe.
Beyond The Village Chief, Lewis has been a captivating presence in numerous films including A Place in the Stars (2014), Crossroads (2020), and The Power of One (2018). It has graced the screen.
But for Lewis, the biggest reward was still the connection he built with his audience. In a 2018 interview, he spoke of his great joy in bringing laughter and comfort to Nigerian families. “When people stop me on the street and tell me how Kabiyesi has affected their lives, that’s the validation I need.”
The death of Dejumo Lewis left a void in the Nigerian entertainment world. He wasn’t just an actor. He was a storyteller, a teacher, and a national treasure. Like the beloved Kabiyesi’s reign, his legacy will continue to resonate for generations to come.