O. T. Fagbenle

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O-T Fagbenle
MEN awards.jpg
Born Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun
(1981-01-22) 22 January 1981 (age 34)
London, England
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor, songwriter, director
Years active 2002–present

O. T. (Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun)[1] Fagbenle (also known as O-T and OT) is a British actor, writer, and director. He has appeared in several films, stage, and television productions.

Early life[edit]

Born in London to a Nigerian journalist father and a British mother, Fagbenle moved to Spain as a child and started learning the alto saxophone. Within a year he was playing for the South Coast Jazz Band and toured the Edinburgh Festival.[2][3] He moved back to England where he continued to perform as a musician in big bands at the Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall.[2] His name "Olatunde" means "Wealth comes again" in Yoruba.[4] His younger brother is actor Luti Fagbenle[5]

Acting career[edit]


He started acting at the age of 14 for the Ritual Theatre Arts and was given the lead role in an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, performing at international venues and at central London's Bloomsbury Theatre. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts[2] and graduated early to make his graduate debut at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in Les Blancs in 2001.

Fagbenle continued his Shakespearean roles performing in Romeo and Juliet as Mercutio in a national tour culminating at the Hong Kong Arts Festival 2004 the evening telegraph said of his performance "O-T Fagbenle achieves the impossible by almost overshadowing the young lovers with his inspired performance of Mercutio".[6]

Fagbenle was soon offered his first all out lead. Outstanding reviews[7][8][9][10] preceded a M.E.N. Theatre award for best actor in a leading role[11] for his portrayal of a man claiming to be Sidney Poitier's son in John Guare's award-winning play Six Degrees of Separation.

In 2008, Fagbenle flew to Paris for world-renowned theatre director Peter Brook, to help workshop and develop Brook's international production of Tierno Bokar.

Fagbenle played the role of Sportin' Life, in Sir Trevor Nunn's award winning production of Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre in the West End of London (a part played by Cab Calloway in the opera and Sammy Davis Jr. in the feature film).[12] Fagbenle received outstanding reviews across the board,[13][14][15][16][17] Variety magazine's review remarked 'There are moments everything take wing as a musical, mostly whenever Fagbenle's splendidly serpentine, easeful Sportin' Life is around. Light on his feet, his every moment is poised and polished.'[18]

In 2012, London England, O-T took on the role of Slupianek, (originated by Alan Cumming) in 'The Conquest of the Sout Pole', at the Arcola and Rose Theatres. Again Fagbenle won critical acclaim across the board for his performance, with TimeOut, The British Theatre Guide, Spoonfed, Whatsonstage.com and industry standard 'The Stage' all exclaiming his performance as 'Charismatic'.[19][20][21] [22][23] Fagbenle went on to be Panel nominated for 'Best Male Performance' at the prestigious Off West End Awards.[24]


Fagbenle has also appeared in Academy award-winning director Anthony Minghella's movie Breaking and Entering[25] with Jude Law and Juliette Binoche.

Fagbenle portrayed Sean, an American television star opposite Oscar nominated Michelle Pfeiffer, in Amy Heckerling's I Could Never Be Your Woman. [26]


Fagbenle starred in a sitcom for the BBC called Grownups and appeared in the British TV series Agatha Christie's Marple. He also played 'Other Dave' in the two part Doctor Who story Silence in the Library and Forest of the Dead.[27] He starred in Little Miss Jocelyn as Mrs Omwokwopopo's dead husband (number 2) and the hilarious YouTube hit 'Postman Black'(2004–06) in Little Miss Jocelyn BBC. Fagbenle starred in two dramas for the BBC,[25] including the role of Walter Tull in Walter's War, a biopic of the first mixed-heritage officer in the British Army in which he again garnered outstanding international reviews[28][29][30][31]

In January 2010 Fagbenle took a leading role as Chris in the BBC One flagship show Material Girl,[25] starring Dervla Kirwan (Doctor Who) and Lenora Crichlow (Being Human, Sugar Rush). Off the back of his performance he went on to be cast in the 2011 American romantic comedy 'Double Wedding'.

Fagbenle had a lead role in the TV series Thorne, which adapted the Mark Billingham novels 'Sleepyhead' and 'Scaredy Cat'.[32] They were directed by 24 producer Stephen Hopkins and the second starred Emmy award winning actress Sandra Oh. Fagbenle also appeared as 'Mark Lightfoot' in episode six of the first season of Death in Paradise in 2011.

In 2012 after taking some time out to 'do some theatre and develop [his] writing projects' O-T accepted a lead role in the BBC comedy 'Quick Cuts' alongside cult comedy actress and star of Smack the Pony Doon Mackichan.

In 2014 O-T starred in the first series of HBO's original drama Looking. He played 'Frank' a sweet hearted musician from Ohio having trouble with his live in partner.

In 2015 post production finished on "The Interceptor". O-T plays the titular role in this big budget BBC crime drama due to air worldwide. In 2015 O-T also appears in season 2 of "Looking" for HBO.


For several months in 2004 he took the part of Kwame in the BBC World Service radio soap opera Westway.

He has performed multiple times for the BBC including the lead role in Six Degrees of Separation, playing Marvin Gaye in a biopic, and two roles in the BBC Radio adaptation of The Color Purple, which went on to win the Sony Radio Academy Awards for Drama in 2009.[33]

Writing and directing[edit]

In 2008 he authored an article which appeared in a double page spread in the national Nigerian newspaper The Guardian about the life and times of Walter Tull.

In 2011 O-T wrote and directed the cult black comedy 'Kandi and the Jinn' [34]

In 2012 O-T was commissioned by the BBC to help develop the comedy 'Quick Cuts'. Later that same year O-T was commissioned by the Theatre Royal Stratford East to develop and write his one man play 'Synthesis'.

After a being awarded a fund by the Nigerian high commission/TRSE to write and direct a teaser for his movie idea, O-T was commissioned by Bafta-nominated Lutimedia to develop Big Bad Blood a teen comedy T.V series. [35]

In 2014 O-T wrote, directed and executive produced the 'Remarkable' short film, MOTH, starring Tamzin Outhwaite. MOTH was later made an part of the official selection at the Los Angeles SreamFest Film Festival, New York Horror festival, Austin film festival and in 2015 won best Horror/Sci fi at the London short film festival.


Along with a starring actor credit, Fagbenle composed the music and penned the lyrics for several songs for the NBC drama Quarterlife, created by Marshall Herskovitz and Oscar©-winner Ed Zwick.[36]

In 2011 O-T Co-wrote the song "Storm" for Grammy nominated artist Tyga on his Black Thoughts Vol. 2 mixtape and received over 8 million hits on worldstarhiphop.com.[37] The song features vocalist Stefano Moses, a long-time musical collaborator with Fagbenle.

Awards and history[edit]

Fagbenle has been honoured by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (of which Queen Elizabeth II is patron) by being included in the 100 faces of RADA along with Sir Anthony Hopkins, Clive Owen and Sir John Gielgud.[3]

O-T is the first British actor of mixed race heritage to play a lead in a period drama in the history of UK television (Walters War). He is also the first to play a leading role in an HBO series (Looking) and to win a best actor award at the M.E.N.

After John W Bubbles in the Opera and Sammy Davis Jr in the film O-T originated the role of Sportin' Life in the world premiere of Porgy and Bess - The Musical at the Savoy theatre in London's West End. [38]

Fagbenle was awarded Best Actor in a Leading role at the M.E.N. awards for his performance in Six Degrees of Separation.[39]

He was the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 13th African Film Awards.[40]

O-T originated the role of "Perry" in the Royal Court's production of the award winning production of Fallout. [41]

In 2012 O-T was nominated for Best Male Performance at the Off West End Awards for his 'charismatic' [19][20][21] portrayal of Slupianek in The Conquest of the South Pole [24]

In 2015 O-T was honoured by being nominated for "Best Male Performance on TV" by the Screen Nation Awards for his performance as Frank on HBO's Looking.[42]

In 2015 O-T was nominated and won the award for Best SciFi/Horror for the short film he wrote and directed, MOTH at the London Short Film Festival.

Selected filmography[edit]


  1. ^ "O-T Fagbenle…One of Many". ivymunro.com. 31 October 2010. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  2. ^ a b c [1] ashbee.net, 15 March 2001.
  3. ^ a b [2] imdb.com, 11 November 2004.
  4. ^ "Olatunde". Online Nigeria: Nigerian Names and Meanings. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  5. ^ "O-T Fagbenle…One of Many". ivymunro.com. 31 October 2010. 
  6. ^ [3] findarticles.com, 13 November 2003.
  7. ^ [4] thestage.com, 10 May 2004.
  8. ^ Lynne Walker (27 April 2004). "Six Degrees of Separation, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester". independent.com. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  9. ^ [5] guardian.co.uk, 27 April 2004.
  10. ^ [6] reviewsgate.com, 26 April 2004.
  11. ^ [7] britishtheatreguide.com, 9 December 2004.
  12. ^ O-T Fagbenle London.Broadway.com, 7 February 2007.
  13. ^ [8] africanmoviestar.com, 10 March 2010.
  14. ^ [9] reviewsgate.com, 22 November 2006.
  15. ^ [10] guardian.co.uk, 10 November 2006.
  16. ^ [11] indielondon.com, 10 November 2006.
  17. ^ [12] British theatre guide.com, 10 November 2006.
  18. ^ [13] Variety.com, 12 November 2006.
  19. ^ a b "The Conquest of the South Pole". onestopparts.co.uk. 1 May 2012. Retrieved 5 October 2014. 
  20. ^ a b [14] timeout.co.uk, 2 May 2012.
  21. ^ a b [15] britishtheatreguidet.co.uk, 2 May 2012.
  22. ^ [16] Thestage.com, 25 May 2012.
  23. ^ [17] whatsonstage.co.uk, 2 May 2012.
  24. ^ a b [18] offwestend.com, 25 May 2012.
  25. ^ a b c [19] imdb.com, 15 March 2001.
  26. ^ "I Could Never Be Your Woman (2007)". IMDb. 11 May 2007. 
  27. ^ Kevin Wicks (March 3, 2014). "‘Looking’ for ‘Doctor Who': Russell Tovey, O.T. Fagbenle’s Whovian". BBC America. Retrieved March 2, 2015. 
  28. ^ [20] torontoist.com, 23 November 2009.
  29. ^ [21] thescotsman.com, 8 November 2008.
  30. ^ [22] telegraph.co.uk, 8 November 2008.
  31. ^ [23] thecustardtv.com, 11 November 2008.
  32. ^ russellty300 (25 August 2011). "Thorne: Scaredycat (2010)". IMDb. 
  33. ^ [24] bbc.co.uk, 24 October 2009.
  34. ^ [25] imbd.com, 24 May 2012.
  35. ^ "BIG BAD BLOOD TRAILER". Vimeo. 
  36. ^ [26] quarterlife.com, 18 September 2008.
  37. ^ [27] worldstarhiphop.com, 25 May 2012.
  38. ^ "The Gershwins' Porgy and Bess - West End - Tickets, Reviews, Info and More". theatermania. 
  39. ^ [28] citylife.co.uk, 16 March 2010.
  40. ^ Gbenga-Ogundare, Yejide (27 November 2008). "Night of glitz, as African Movie Award holds in London". modernghana.com. Retrieved 31 December 2010. 
  41. ^ "Fallout at The Royal Court Theatre". royalcourttheatre.com. 
  42. ^ "Screen Nation Awards". Doowebdev. Retrieved 1 February 2015. 

External links[edit]