On This Day: 1965 Francis Agu was born in Lagos to the Catholic family of Fidelis and Virginia Agu from Enugu-Ngwo, Enugu State. He was a Nigerian TV and cinema (“Nollywood”) actor. Francis was best known for his role in Living in Bondage and the long-running Nigerian television series Checkmate.
Francis started his formal education at Ladi-Lak Institute Alagomeji, Ebute-Metta, Lagos. His high school education was obtained at St. Finbarr’s College, Lagos, where he was groomed by the missionary founder of the school, Rev. Fr. Dennis Joseph Slattery. He also attended the University of Lagos, where he studied Mass Communication.
Agu’s theatrical career began at the Yodrac Playhouse at St. Dominic’s Church, at which time he was already working for the Nigeria Arab Bank in Lagos. Yodrac, founded by George Eboka, has produced entertainment industry professionals such as Toyin Oshinaike, Kevin Ushi, Kris Ubani-Roberts, Williams Ekpo, Gregory Odutayo, Jude Orhorha, Tunji Otun, and Neye Adebulugbe. Agu’s talent was immediately spotted by the then director of Yodrac, Isaac John.
Francis first appearance was in the play This is Our Chance by James Ene Henshaw, directed by Isaac John. He played the lead role, King Damba. Others include The Gods Are Not to Blame by Ola Rotimi, and Trials of Brother Jero by Wole Soyinka.
Segun Ojewuyi directed him in The Man Who Never Died play at the National Theater, Lagos. This was followed by several productions. He also had a stint in singing with the Steve Rhodes Voices, directed by Elder Steve Rhodes himself.
Francis featured in Checkmate, a 1990s TV soap opera, in which he played the character Benny. He also starred as Ichie Million in the first Nigerian Home Video, Living in Bondage, which brought him to national fame. He produced his first film Jezebel in 1994 and went on to produce and direct many others, including In the Name of the Father, A Divine Call, The Boy is Mine, Body and Soul, Love and Pride, A Dance in the Forest, and Take Me to Jesus.
He died in 2007 at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), after an undisclosed illness.
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Created by Okey Obiabunmo