Whenever we talk of Kenyan actors in Hollywood, the first name that pops up in many people’s minds is renowned actress Lupita Nyong’o. Lupita was born in Mexico on 1st March, 1983 and raised in Kenya. Lupita has won more than 10 awards thus far and has featured in different movies, including Black Panther (2018), Star Wars: The Last Jedi (2017), Queen of Katwe (2017), The Jungle Book (2016), Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015), Non-Stop (2014), 12 Years a Slave (2013), In My Genes (2009) and East River (2008).
Kenyan Actors in Hollywood
Since you already know about the infamous Lupita Nyong’o, below are some of the famous Kenyan actors who have made it big in Hollywood.
1. Edi Gathegi
Edi Gathegi is arguably the most famous Kenyan actor in Hollywood. Born in Eastlands, Nairobi, Edi Gathegi has managed to carve a name for himself in Hollywood’s hall of fame through his starring roles in multiple blockbuster movies and TV shows. Among them include X-Men First Class (2011), The Blacklist: Redemption (2017), Proof (2015), Twilight (2008), The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009), Gone Baby Gone (2007), My Bloody Valentine (2009), Justified (2015), Red Widow (2013), Start Up (2017) and Into The Badlands (2015) among others.
2. Benjamin Alfred Onyango
He is an actor cum producer born in Kenya and raised in Nairobi’s Jericho Estate. Benjamin Onyango is known for his roles in Tears of the Sun (2003), God’s Not Dead (2014) and Beautifully Broken (2017). With more than 20 titles to his filmography, including a voice actor in Resident Evil: The Mercenaries 3D, Ochieng has become a key figure in Swahili-based Hollywood roles. Ochieng directed short films including Mr. Brewers Difficult Day (2011) and MISSInformed (2013).
3. Lenny Juma
Lenny Juma is a renowned actor and casting director who became famous after his roles in movies such as Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life (2003), Mountains of the Moon (199, Arthur and the Invisibles (2006) and The Constant Gardener (2005).
4. Raymond Ofula
Raymond Ofula is a Kenyan-born Hollywood actor. Although he’s famous for his roles in local films, Ofula has managed to make a name for himself internationally through movies such as The Cradle of Life (2003), To Walk with Lions (1990) and Kaleidoscope (2009).
5. Oliver Litondo
Oliver is one of the renowned Kenyan actors who made it in Hollywood. Born in Kakamega, Oliver studied in the United States and later became a TV presenter with VOK (currently KBC) and KTN. Some of the key movies Litondo has starred in include Wilby Conspiracy (1974), The Search for the Nile (1971), The Bush Trackers (1978), Sheena: Queen of the Jungle (1984), The Lion of Africa (1988) and The First Grader (2010).
Oliver Litondo has won two awards: Best Actor (BFCC Award – 2011) and Best Actor (Movies for Grownups Award – 2012).
6. Mary Oyaya
Mary Oyaya was bown in Mombasa, Kenya and has lived in different countries, including Canada, Sweden and Australia. Mary has been an extra for film productions, including Lost Souls, Down and Under and Farscape. Mary’s most popular role to date is Jedi Luminara Unduli in Star Wars (2002).
7. Kipsang Rotich
Kipsang Rotich is a Kenyan actor known for his roles in Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2016). Rotich plays the character Nen Nunb in the Star Wars, and uses a few Kikuyu and Haya phrases.
These aren’t the only Kenyan actors in Hollywood, but they are the notable ones. Hopefully Kenyans will continue to fly our flag high in the film industry.