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From Fame to Penury: The Despicable Tales of Nigerian Veteran Thespians


The entertainment industry, particularly the movie circle, has been in the eye of the storm in the last few years and the reason may not be too far-fetched as the industry is growing by leaps and bounds and catching the attention of many including investors from within and outside the shores of the country.

However, the outcry of many thespians over their poor living condition has cast a shadow of doubt on the purported affluence they seem to be enjoying.

Against the hype, the buzz and the attention that come with fame is not something many of the practitioners struggle with life and could hardly cope with the pressure of not being relevant or patronized.

With the industry now being rated by stakeholders as one of the fastest growing, profitable sectors and projected to generate more than $10 billion in revenue in the next two years, one may not be wrong to posit that those who work and earn a living in the multi-billion naira industry should live comfortably on and off the screen.

The industry is booming and those who know how to sell the business of showbiz are regularly being patronized by brands who offer them endorsement deals that are renewable after a period of time. This explains why many celebrities now build their influence and strength on their presence and followership on social media platforms, particularly Instagram and YouTube, as these remain viable channels where they rake in huge money weekly and monthly, depending on what they are selling to the audience.

But the common trend among Nigerian celebrities is that the moment the ovation goes down and the attention they once enjoyed begins to decline, they usually fall into a life of penury with some of them being forced to come back to the public through social media platforms to beg for financial assistance in order take care of situations or problems.

Over the years, the public and in fact, some influential Nigerians have had to come to the rescue of a number of veteran actors and actresses in the English and Yoruba-speaking sectors who were either down with one ailment, bedridden or could no longer live a decent life because of what some people described as poor economic decisions which they indulge in to satisfy their lavish lifestyles.

With questions constantly being asked by fans and followers of happenings on the entertainment scene about how they went from being one of the most famous and influential movie stars of their time, who ruled the movie scene for a number of years to going broke and struggling to make a living from what used to be their regular turf.

Public Begging As A New Fad
The social media in the past few weeks has been awash with stories of veteran Yoruba actors and actresses, who now struggle to cope with life after fame as they continue to come out to beg the public for financial assistance with some of them even pleading with the public to buy them vehicles and provide them accommodation.

From Margret Olayinka, also known as Iya Gbonkan who got a new car and a house to another veteran actor, Fatai Adetayo, famously known as Lalude, who got a brand new Toyota Camry, between June and now, at least five veteran actors have come out to beg for financial assistance and the number may rise in the coming days and the number continues to rise as more veteran actors began to embrace the idea of public begging even as some of their colleagues kicked against it.

While Findings by Per Second News revealed that some of them blame their situation on poor health conditions which require huge amounts of money to manage, others simply want to ride on the wave of empathy currently pervading the social media space. It was gathered that a number of them have the misfortune and bad culture of investing their money wisely.

It was observed that while lack of education contributes to their current problems, their inability to rise to the new demands of the industry further pushed them into oblivion. With social media platforms now offering filmmakers a dynamic and cost-effective channel to market their films and products to a wide range of people, only the young ones are embracing the idea.

Per Second News learnt that many of the veteran actors don’t have social media platforms where some of their previous works and current ones could be shared with their fans and prospective movie producers who could demand for their services and pay them well.

Why They Go Broke After Fame
With many of the respondents opting to speak anonymously to avoid deriding their colleagues who are currently going through tough times, some of them stakeholders said not all problems could be blamed on poor economy but largely on untamed lavish lifestyle.

Investigation by Per Second News revealed that lives of the rich and famous often seem glamorous, but even the biggest celebrities have issues with money. Despite many inspiring stories of celebrities who came from nothing and worked their way out of financial hardship, the opposite also happens. From musicians to athletes and even to movie stars, sometimes fame and wealth result in a disastrous spending spree.

While some of them have managed to bounce back after falling, others usually die in financial crises. It was gathered that broke celebrities slide into bankruptcy as a result of poor economic decisions which they make to satisfy lavish lifestyles that are obviously beyond their means. It was also gathered that some of them have never really been financially buoyant as their fans were made to believe in the movies. Life portrayed in movies is a far cry from the reality for many of them.

Investigation by Per Second News revealed that a lot of veteran actors and actresses still live in rented apartments while a few who had the lucky by their relationship and influence in the society were able to build modest homes but couldn’t enjoy life the way many think they do.

When they become sick or go broke and come to the public to ask for help, those who don’t know their real stories will wonder why they couldn’t take care of themselves after making so much money from movies and other engagements they get involved in. Some of them are not educated and could not push their career beyond their current level, hence they don’t get called for jobs outside of their social positions.

Coming To The Public to Beg Is Not Bad But…
A veteran actor who didn’t want to be mentioned said many of his colleagues went broke not because they didn’t plan for life after fame, but because some of them found themselves in situations they could not help.

According to the thespian, rising to fame is one thing, maintaining fame is another.

“Then when you gradually step out of the spotlight because of age or other factors, it takes the grace of God to stay healthy and active because the moment you are not involved in things that have kept you going for many years, you begin to experience a sharp decline that demands a strong mental state of health to deal with.”

Another thespian who also wouldn’t mention his name, observed that those who come out to beg have their reasons but not all of the claims are genuine, adding: “if you have worked hard and saved for the rainy day, you should be able to take care of yourself with the help of your children and family before you begin to think of asking the public for help.

“I was once in a very terrible situation but I didn’t come and ask anybody to help me even though I needed all the help I could get, but I don’t want such attention for my family. I told them if I died, they should just let me go and rest.

“They simply spend more than they make, max out on credit and lose sight of how to manage finances – that is if they ever knew how to begin with.”

A Trust Fund To The Rescue
Further investigation also revealed that there may soon be a way out of the current trouble for the thespians as some prominent Nigerians have reached out to some stakeholders in the Yoruba movie industry to set up a trust fund that could cater for the needs of veteran artistes who may be plagued by unforeseen circumstances.

It was gathered that any moment from now, stakeholders in the industry will converge to announce the trust fund and the board to the public and put an end to public begging by veterans. A prominent actor in the Yourba speaking industry will be appointed to chair the board.

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