A tall, well-built and striking performer of African descent, London-born, Nigerian-raised Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was a physically imposing presence with a booming voice, cool exterior and impossibl...
Had a supporting role in the action thriller "The Bourne Identity"
Played villainous inmate Simon Adebisi on the HBO prison-set drama "Oz"
Appeared in HBO adventure thriller "Deadly Voyage"
Cast in the sci-fi mystery feature "The Thing"
Featured in the music videos "Love No Limit" by Mary J Blige and "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" by En Vogue
Made TV debut on an episode of Showtime's "Red Shoe Diaries"
Landed a bit part opposite Dwayne Johnson in "Faster"
Co-starred in the semi-autobiographical drama about rap artist 50 Cent "Get Rich or Die Tryin,'" directed by Jim Sheridan
Featured in "Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble" on Showtime
Guest starred on an episode of "Cracker" (ABC) playing a priest who doesn't remember murders he may have committed
At six weeks old, moved from London to his parents' native Nigeria, where he was raised by a foster family while his parents established careers
Acted in the gangster-themed "Legionnaire"
Returned to London at age 15
Played a villain in the sequel "The Mummy Returns"
Cast opposite Robert De Niro, Clive Owen, and Jason Statham in the action feature "Killer Elite"
Moved to America to pursue a modeling career
Had early feature credits in the films "Congo" and "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls"
Joined the second season of the ABC drama "Lost" as Mr. Eko, a mysterious man dwelling on the island
Played Cabe Attucks in the updated ABC miniseries production of "Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea"
Had a recurring role as a Nigerian cab driver on the Showtime comedy series "Linc's"
Cast as Heavy Duty in the big-screen version of "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra"
A tall, well-built and striking performer of African descent, London-born, Nigerian-raised Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was a physically imposing presence with a booming voice, cool exterior and impossible-to-ignore onscreen charisma. Working his way through higher education as a model, Akinnuoye-Agbaje headed for the States after earning his Master's degree in law and was quickly scooped up for the 1992 hit music videos "Giving Him Something He Can Feel" by EnVogue and "Love No Limit" by Mary J Blige. Just bubbling under the surface, Akinnuoye-Agbaje did more modeling work and began to win acting roles, beginning with the 1995 releases "Congo" and "Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls". His unique look, compelling accent and penetrating stare would separate him from fellow performers, and he landed significant roles in the HBO thriller "Deadly Voyage" in 1996 as well ABC's updated take on "Jules Verne's 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" in 1997. A guest role in a memorable if little-seen episode of the ABC mystery series "Cracker" featured Akinnuoye-Agbaje as a young priest who is the suspect in a series of grisly murders and to his own horror has no recollection of the events at the time of the killings.<p>While he was an innocent in the "Cracker" appearance, he was far from holy as Simon Adebisi on the edgy HBO prison drama "Oz" (a role he played from 1997 to 2000). A drug dealer with a resume of horrific violence and murder, Adebisi was the villain viewers had to love, even when he was wiping out enemies via injections of AIDS-infected blood and force-feedings of glass or committing brutal rapes. Constantly clad in a child-size brown woolen cap perched most precariously on the corner of his skull, Adebisi bore the marks of a hard man and was prone to frequent and terrifying flashes of violence but his charm, wit and intelligence won over many viewers while his might won him respect in the Oswald Penitentiary. After rediscovering his African spirituality and losing his mentor to senseless violence, Adebisi went over the edge and descended into a pit of drugs and debauchery. Maintaining his overwhelming power through shows of force both physical and mental, the inmate even had the prison's warden under his thumb for a while, but his life nonetheless came to a shocking and violent end at the close of the fourth season.<p>While appearing on "Oz", Akinnuoye-Agbaje essayed the kinder, gentler cabbie Winston in a recurring 1998 role on the Showtime comedy series "Linc's". Working with Tom Fontana and Tim Reid, some of television's finest talents, proved a great training ground for the actor, who would go on to significant roles in the Showtime original biopic "Enslavement: The True Story of Fanny Kemble" (2000) and the direct-to-video comedy "Kat & Allison" (2001). The over-the-top sequel "The Mummy Returns" (2001) offered Akinnuoye-Agbaje the opportunity to wow his largest audience yet. The special effects-heavy blockbuster featured him as the bloodthirsty Lock-Nah, a mastermind behind the scheme to reincarnate the mighty Imhotep. Flanked by an army of henchmen, Lock-Nah displayed a combination of allure and brutality that made him a highly watchable villain, not unlike Adebisi. A supporting role in the action adaptation "The Bourne Identity" (also 2001) starring Matt Damon bolstered the success of his leap to feature film, as did a turn opposite 50 Cent in "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" (2005), but the actor also made a highly anticipated return to television in 2005, joining the cast of the hit ABC drama "Lost" in its second season, playing a mysterious man named Emeka who suddenly appears on the island. He then gave a magnetic performance as the drug kingpin-father figure Majestic in director Jim Sheridan's "Get Rich Or Die Tryin'" (2005) opposite 50 Cent.
King's College London
The name Adewale meant "the crown has arrived."
"I think, essentially, they're the same. But it's just that, in society, you learn to curb your natural instincts when they go too far. In terms of the drive, the determination, the conviction, it's the same. It's just that I don't go killing people, I don't rape people. You curb yourself outside." – Akinnuoye-Agbaje on his brutal "Oz" character Adebisi, from a 1999 interview on the "Oz" homepage at HBO.com.
"Being a black man in Europe and then an Afro-European in Africa, you have your foot in both places but don't really belong in any of them and you're trying to find your voice. In Europe, we were very familiar with the black American experience, but [in America] they're not that familiar with the Afro-European generation that existed." – Akinnuoye-Agbaje to the Daily News, April 15, 2001
Akinnuoye-Agbaje was arrested in Honolulu, HI on Sept. 2, 2006 for disobeying a police officer and operating a motor vehicle without a license. He was released after six hours on $500 bail. On Sept. 26, 2006, he was cleared of all charges after providing proof that he had a license.