Bolaji Badejo

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Bolaji Badejo
Bolaji Badejo in suit, 1979 by Mike Sibthorp.png
Badejo partially in costume on the set of Alien in 1979
Bolaji Badejo

23 August 1953
Lagos, Nigeria
Died22 December 1992
(aged 39)
Lagos, Nigeria
Cause of deathSickle cell disease
OccupationActor, visual artist
Years active1979–1992
Known forAlien (1979)
Height208 cm (6 ft 10 in)

Bolaji Badejo (23 August 1953 – 22 December 1992) was a Nigerian visual artist[1] and actor. He was known for playing the Alien in Ridley Scott's 1979 film Alien.[2] He was 6 ft and 10 in tall,[2] a height which convinced Scott to cast him in the role. It is his sole acting credit.

Life and career[edit]

Born in Lagos,[3] Badejo was of Yoruba descent[4] and was the son of the director general of the Nigerian Broadcasting Corporation.[2] He first studied in Nigeria, then in the United States before finally moving to London to specialize in graphic design.[2]

Badejo was discovered in a Soho pub by a member of director Ridley Scott's casting team,[5] who had been searching for a candidate to play the titular creature in his science fiction film Alien. Standing at 6 ft 10 in tall,[2] he was chosen to play the part due to his height and "very long legs".[6][7] He was described as "mild-mannered" and "withdrawn" on set, and special effects supervisor Nick Allder said "To have been the center of attraction… it was a bit of a shock to him."[8][9] Alien was released in 1979 to significant critical and commercial success,[10][11][12][13][14] and Screen Rant wrote in a retrospective review that he "effectively brought the Xenomorph to life ... Badejo certainly helped make the creature one of the most recognizable monsters in horror."[15]

The success of Alien spawned the Alien franchise. Badejo was offered roles for future installments,[8] however he turned down the offer, and moved back to Nigeria in 1980; this led to the later sequels incorporating more puppetry and animation alongside several suit performers. Alien is his sole film credit.[16][15]

After his return to Nigeria, Badejo began running his own art gallery in 1983.[2][9] He died from sickle cell anaemia at the age of 39.[16]


List of acting credits for Bolaji Badejo
Year Title Role Notes
1979 Alien Alien / Xenomorph Feature film[17]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Staff (7 March 2016). "Bolaji Badejo, dos metros y 18 centímetros de extrema delgadez dentro de Alien". Hoy Cinema.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Page, Thomas (7 March 2016). "Bolaji Badejo: The Nigerian giant who played 'Alien'". CNN. Retrieved 28 November 2018.
  3. ^ "Top-5 Celebrities Who Were Born In Nigeria". Naij.
  4. ^ Chare, Nicholas (2017). After Francis Bacon: Synaesthesia and Sex in Paint. Oxon: Routledge. p. 164. ISBN 9781409411703.
  5. ^ Keegan, Rebecca (15 December 2009). The Futurist: The Life and Films of James Cameron. Crown/Archetype. ISBN 9780307460332.
  6. ^ "Interview with Bolaji Badejo, 1979". Strange Shapes. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  7. ^ Scanlon, Paul (1979). The Book of Alien. London: Titan Books. ISBN 1-85286-483-4.
  8. ^ a b Rennie, Daniel (19 January 2021). "Bolaji Badejo Terrified Audiences As The Xenomorph In 'Alien', And His Experience Inside The Suit Wasn't Much Better". Bold Entrance. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  9. ^ a b "How Bolaji Badejo's performance brought Alien's xenomorph to life". Little White Lies. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  10. ^ "Alien (1979) - Financial Information". The Numbers. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  11. ^ "Why Alien is one of the most influential movies ever made: Howell". The Toronto Star. 3 September 2015. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  12. ^ Edelstein, David. "Prometheus Review: More Than Just an Alien". Vulture. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  13. ^ "AFI's 10 TOP 10". American Film Institute. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  14. ^ "The 25 scariest sci-fi movies ever made, ranked from 'Aliens' to 'Invisible Man'". SYFY Official Site. 30 October 2021. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  15. ^ a b "Alien Fan Poster Honors Often Uncredited Xenomorph Actor Bolaji Badejo". ScreenRant. 16 May 2022. Retrieved 17 May 2022.
  16. ^ a b "Who played Alien's original Xenomorph? Meet the men behind film's most terrifying monsters". 2 November 2020. Archived from the original on 2 November 2020. Retrieved 4 May 2022.
  17. ^ "The Unsung Hero of the Alien Franchise: The Guy Inside the Xenomorph Suit". Vanity Fair. 18 May 2017. Retrieved 17 May 2022.

External links[edit]