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Pete Edochie is a Nigerian actor who began his career in a broadcasting corporation at age 20 before moving into the movie industry. However, Edochie came to limelight in the 1980s after playing a lead role, Okonkwo in a screen adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
Since then, Pete has featured in hundreds of movies and has been awarded both locally and internationally. He is even regarded as one of Africa’s greatest actors and was honored as Member of the Order of the Niger in 2003 by Olusegun Obasanjo.
Pete Edochie was born on March 7, 1947 in Enugu, Nigeria. He hails from Anambra State, but was raised in Zaria, Kaduna. He began his primary education at St. Patrick’s and St. James Primary School, Zaria. And then proceeded to St. John’s College for secondary education. Subsequently, Edochie attended the School of Journalism and Television in England and also did some courses overseas.
After secondary school, before moving to England to study, Edochie worked with Nigerian Railway Corporation. Then after school, he got into broadcasting in 1967.
He began his career at 20 when he got into the broadcasting corporation. He started as a junior program assistant and rose to the position of director where he acted in different directorial capacity. However, he left the radio station and joined Nollywood because the government decided to politicise the affairs of the radio station.
Eastern Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (ENBC)
Pete Edochie joined the Eastern Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation (ENBC) in 1967 and in 1980; he was trained formally in the British Broadcasting Corporation as a broadcaster and started off as a junior programmes assistant after which he was elevated to the level of a Director.
Even though he was the director of programmes, Pete Edochie, sometimes doubled as Deputy Managing Director and occasionally acting as Managing Director. He quit ABS (Note that ENBC became Radio Biafra during the Nigeria civil war, was renamed the East Central State Broadcasting ESBS after the civil war and was changed to Anambra Broadcasting Service with the creation of Anambra and Imo states in 1976) because the government decided to politicize the affairs of their FM station, thereby, resulting in the entire management being asked to move out, including him. He was to be the immediate successor to the MD but had to leave, moving into the movie industry.
Pete already featured in Things fall apart, and had even won international award and recognition before his enrollment into Nollywood.
The first time he went on stage was in 1962 at age 15 when he was a student at St. John’s College. He featured in the drama; Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare.
Thereafter, Edochie came into limelight after playing a leading role, Okonkwo in the 1980s NTA adaptation of Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart.
As a result, BBC came to Nigeria to interview him, and he also got some international recognition. Edochie has also gone on to feature in movies such as Oduduwa (2000), Battle Line (2002), Rejection Son (2003), Set Up, Lost Kingdom, e.t.c.
Pete got married to Josephine Edochie at age 22, and the union is blessed with six children: 5 boys and 1 girl. Two of his sons; Linc and Yul Edochie are popular because they are also professional actors in the industry.
Pete Edochie got married at 22 to his wife Josephine and is blessed with six children among who are Yul Edochie and Linc Edochie, both Nollywood actors. Very little is known about his other four children. Pete also has several grandchildren from his six children.
There were rumours that the veteran actor was married to his colleague in the industry Rita Edochie. This is owing to the similarity in their surnames. But the Nollywood actress is his sister-in-law who is married to his younger brother.
Pete Edochie started growing his beard when he was 23 years and has never completely shaved it off since then. Although he could trim it, Pete Edochie says he will never shave his beard no matter how much money he is offered to do so. According to him, he intends to carry it till the end of his lifetime.
On August 16, 2009, Nollywood actor, Pete Edochie was kidnapped. The veteran actor was kidnapped by one Mr. James Philip currently stationed in Afghanistan on his way to an event in Anambra State. He was kidnapped at Nkpor and was released on August 17, 2009.
Sometime in 2013, a 24-year-old man, Ephy Saint, from Kenya shocked many when he disclosed that his mother told him that veteran Nollywood actor, Peter Edochie was his father. However, Pete Edochie denied the allegations, stating emphatically that he is not a wayward person and has never been to Kenya.
Veteran Actor Edochie is an award-winning actor. He has received recognition both locally and internationally. For instance, he was inducted into the hall of fame in 2003 shortly before he was honored as a Member of the Order of Nigeria. His other awards include;
Movie Personality of the Year, City People Magazine, 1999
Best Actor in Africa, Censors’ Board, 2001
Best Actor in Nigeria, Censors’ Board, 2003
Member of the Order of the Niger, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, 2003
Special Recognition Award, Best of Nollywood (BON), along with Lanre Hassan (Iya Awero), Former Governor Emmanuel Udaghan, 2013
Lifetime Achievement Award, Africa Movie Academy Awards, 2013
Industry Merit Award, Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards, 2014