Peter Fatomilola is a Nigerian dramatist, film actor, poet and prolific playwright. The actor is known for his unique knowledge of herbs and the Yoruba tradition. Fatomilola often plays the role of herbalist or Ifa priest in movies and he once revealed in an interview that these roles actually mirror who he is in reality.
In this post, you’ll learn a lot about the life of this legendary actor and dramatist.
Peter Fatomilola was born on the 16th of January, 1946. He was born at Ifisin Ekiti in Ido Osi, Ekiti State. Fatomilola is the son of a Chief Ifa Priest. Fatomilola was the only child of his mother.
Fatomilola also stated that his father, Chief Abraham Ojo Fatomilola was the Olu Awo of his town (head of the herbalists).
His background as the son of an Ifa Priest has influenced a lot of his Nollywood roles.
Fatomilola is also an Ifa Priest and herbalist. The actor revealed that at age 9 he could interpret the ‘Odu Ifa’ very well and by the age of 18 he had already mastered Ifa and herbs.
Fatomilola attended Ife City Commercial College, Ile-Ife. The actor revealed that he was so interested in learning about Ifa that he almost forgot about formal education.
It was his mother’s persistence enabled to get educated formally. Currently, Fatomilola is the Olu Awo of Ifishin Ekiti.
The actor revealed that his love for books was ignited when he started attending church with his mother.
It was during his secondary school days that he met Ola Rotimi. He was a pioneer member of the Ife City Dramatic society. The actor played the lead role in the drama, Oro Ikoko.
After his secondary school he joined the late Prof. Ola Rotimi in the year 1967. It was the Professor that advised him to study Drama at the University.
The Dramatic Society later became the Uni-Ife Theatre and then the Obafemi Awolowo University Travelling Theatre which remains its name till date.
The actor revealed that his mother was unhappy about his decision to focus on acting but when she discovered that the theatre he was involved with was a befitting profession she prayed for me and allowed him to continue with his dream.
She was pleased to see him become a reputable theatre practitioner and she eventually died a happy mother in December 2014.
The actor disclosed that he was inspired to go into drama when he started watching the Ose Ife festival.
During that time, the Ifa priests would come to his father’s house and they often sang and dance while playing instruments which were an introduction to drama for him.
Fatomilola joined the Olokun Theatre group in 1967. He was under the tutelage of the late Professor Ola Rotimi, a renowned dramatist and prolific playwright at the Obafemi Awolowo University.
He revealed that he also trained under Professor Wole Soyinka for 10 years. Also, he learnt some aspect of Yoruba oral literature from Professor Wande Abimbola.
The actor was a member of the academic staff of Obafemi Awolowo University where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Theatre Arts in 1978.
Fatomilola was the first ever Papa Ajasco in the comedy movie produced by Wale Adenuga. Also, he featured in the movie, Sango which was an epic African film produced by Obafemi Lasode and scripted by Wale Ogunyemi in 1997.
He disclosed that apart from playing the part of babalawo and herbalist, he has also played the role of lawyer, policeman, prison warder and prisoner in movies.
Fatomilola has mentored the likes of Dr. Ahmed Yerima, who is the present Artistic Director of the National Troupe, Yemi Shodimu, Olumide Bakare and Becky, who now coordinates the production set of Wale Adenuga and others.
He was recognized in Ile Ife and given the title of Amuludun of the Source by the Kabiyesi Okunade Sijuwade.
Currently, Fatomilola is a retiree. He retired from Obafemi Awolowo University in 2006 and he has since focused on farming although he still features in movies whenever he is called upon.
The actor has featured in over 100 movies since he began acting. Some of these movies include:
- Living in Bondage, 1992
- Sango (Film), 1997
- Saworoide, 1999
- Osuofia in London, 2003
- Arugba, 2008,
- Maami, 2011
- Omo Elemosho, 2013
- Ilu, 2017
The actor revealed in an interview that he can never live in Lagos because Lagos is not a city to raise children with morals. Although Lagos is a good place to make money, it is also not a place he will find satisfaction.
Fatomilola also disclosed that he stopped playing the role of Papa Ajasco because it was in Lagos and it was quite a distance from Ife. The actor has lived in Ife for over 40 years. Fatomilola also played a role in Binta My Daughter where he played the role of Papa Ajasco.
Fatomilola is married three wives and he has 11 children. And the actor revealed that all of his children have taken after him in acting.
Fatomilola revealed that he loves drinking and there’s no beer produced in Nigeria that he hasn’t tasted. But he ensures that he doesn’t drink beyond his limit. The veteran actor featured on the Gulder Ultimate Search 2 in Jos.
The actor revealed that he has been queried for leaving his duty post to act but he was able to defend himself by stating that acting is a way of adding more to his repository of knowledge which he uses to teach his students.
He was able to prevent further controversies till he retired by always informing the university anytime he need to travel to a location and they usually approves it.
Fatomilola revealed that he practises all religion so he’s a born again Christian, an Ifa descendant and practitioner. Also, he has a good knowledge of the Quran.
According to him, all religion worship the same God but in different ways. He worships Ifa, goes to church and prays in Arabic
Fatomilola disclosed that only legacy he intends to leave behind is professionalism as relating to work and prayer.