O. T. Fagbenle
Fagbenle at the 2019 San Diego Comic-Con
Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun Fagbenle
22 January 1980
London, England, United Kingdom
|Alma mater||Royal Academy of Dramatic Art|
|Occupation||Actor, songwriter, director|
Born in London to a Yoruba Nigerian father, journalist Tunde Fagbenle, and a British mother, Ally Bedford. Fagbenle was raised by his mother and moved to Spain as a child. He started learning the alto saxophone and within a year joined the South Coast Jazz Band, which toured the Edinburgh Festival. He moved back to the UK where he continued to perform as a musician in big bands at the Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall. His name "Olatunde" means "Wealth comes again" in Yoruba. His younger brothers include actor and film producer Luti Fagbenle, and video director and producer Daps. His sister is WNBA player and Olympian Temi Fagbenle.
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 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 in 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".
Fagbenle was soon offered his first all out lead. Outstanding reviews preceded a M.E.N. Theatre award for best actor in a leading role for his portrayal of a man claiming to be Sidney Poitier's son in John Guare's award-winning play Six Degrees of Separation.
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). Fagbenle received outstanding reviews across the board, 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.'
In 2012 in London, England, Fagbenle took on the role of Slupianek (originated by Alan Cumming) in The Conquest of the South 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 praising his performance. Fagbenle went on to be Panel nominated for 'Best Male Performance' at the prestigious Off West End Awards.
It was announced by The Royal National Theatre, that Fagbenle would be cast as the lead in their 2016 production of the Award New York Drama Critic Circle Award-winning play Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Fagbenle led his cast to win the prestigious Olivier Award for best revival. BBC's Radio 4 said of his performance "Mesmeric - almost impossible to take your eyes off him." "I wanna see him again and again and again." "Rips your guts out."
Fagbenle portrayed Sean, the American television star opposite Oscar nominated Michelle Pfeiffer, in Amy Heckerling's I Could Never Be Your Woman. Fagbenle had a lead role in both the highly successful Thorne movies Thorne, which adapted the Mark Billingham novels Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat. They were directed by 24 producer Stephen Hopkins and the second starred Emmy award nominated actress Sandra Oh. In 2019, he was cast as Mason in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Widow.
O-T Fagbenle plays Luke Bankole in the multi-award-winning The Handmaid's Tale. He has also been nominated multiple times by the Screen Actors Guild for his work on the series.
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". He starred in Little Miss Jocelyn as Mrs Omwokwopopo's dead husband (number 2) and the YouTube hit Postman Black (2004–06). Fagbenle starred in two dramas for the BBC, 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.
In January 2010 Fagbenle took a leading role as Chris in the BBC One flagship show Material Girl, starring Dervla Kirwan and Lenora Crichlow. Off the back of his performance he went on to be cast in the 2011 American romantic comedy Double Wedding.
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 to 'do some theatre and develop [his] writing projects' Fagbenle accepted a lead role in the BBC comedy Quick Cuts alongside cult comedy actress and star of Smack the Pony Doon Mackichan.
In 2014 Fagbenle starred in the first season of HBO's original drama Looking. He played 'Frank' a sweet-hearted musician from Ohio having trouble with his live-in partner. He reprised the role in 2015 for season 2.
In 2014, BBC Drama cast Fagbenle in the lead role of their criminal drama The Interceptor. Filming began in London in April 2014. In 2015 he was nominated and awarded by the MViSA awards for best male actor for his performance in The Interceptor.
After appearing in the second season of HBO's Looking, Fagbenle was cast as the lead in American crime writer Harlan Coben's original drama series The Five which first aired in April 2016 on Sky 1 in the United Kingdom.
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.
Writing and directing
In 2018 O-T was commissioned by Channel 4 to write, direct and star in the Sitcom Maxxx.
After a being awarded a fund by the Nigerian high commission/TRSE[clarification needed] to write and direct a teaser for his movie idea, Fagbenle was commissioned by Bafta-nominated Lutimedia to develop Big Bad Blood, a teen comedy television series.
In 2011 Fagbenle 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. The song features vocalist Stefano Moses, a long-time musical collaborator with Fagbenle.
Awards and nominations
In 2019 Fagbenle was SAG award nominated for his role on The Handmaid's Tale.
In 2018 Fagbenle collected The Handmaid's Tale award for international Bafta.
In 2016 O-T Fagbenle led his cast to an Olivier Award - the most prestigious honour in British Theatre - with his portrayal of Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, at the Royal National Theatre.
After John W. Bubbles in the original opera and Sammy Davis Jr. in the film, Fagbenle played the role of Sportin' Life in the world premiere of Porgy and Bess - The Musical at the Savoy theatre in London's West End.
Fagbenle was awarded Best Actor in a Leading role at the M.E.N. awards for his performance in Six Degrees of Separation.
He was the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 13th African Film Awards.
Fagbenle originated the role of "Perry" in the Royal Court's production of the award-winning production of Fallout.
In 2015 Fagbenle 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.
In 2015 Fagbenle was nominated and awarded by the MViSA awards for BEST MALE ACTOR for his performance in The Interceptor.
|2002||420 Seconds of Love||Ben||Short film|
|2006||Breaking and Entering||Joe|
|Killing Me Softly||Jez O'Connell||Short film|
|2007||Weekends in Brooklyn||Philip||Short film|
|I Could Never Be Your Woman||Sean|
|2008||Radio Cape Cod||Sunday Umankwe|
|2009||All My Dreams on VHS||James||Short film; collected on Capture Anthologies: Love, Lust and Tragedy|
|2014||Non-Stop||Jack Rabbitte (voice)||Uncredited|
|2020||Black Widow||Rick Mason||Post-production|
|2002||EastEnders||Angel Heavy||2 episodes|
|2004||Casualty||Terry O'Brien||Episode: "Lock Down"|
|2004||Hollyoaks||James Walker||1 episode|
|2005||Doctors||Todd Dexter||Episode: "Between the Lines"|
|2006||Agatha Christie's Marple||Chris Murphy||Episode: "By the Pricking of My Thumbs"|
|2006||Grownups||Dean||Main (Series 1)|
|2006-2008||Little Miss Jocelyn||Various||4 episodes|
|2007||The Last Detective||Gary Green||Episode: "Once Upon a Time on the Westway"|
|2008||Dirt||O-T||Episode: "Ties That (Don't) Bind"|
|2008||Doctor Who||Other Dave||2 episodes|
|2008||My Boys||Dez||Episode: "The Shirt Contest"|
|2008||Consuming Passion||Jake||TV Movie|
|2008||Walter's War||Walter Tull||TV Movie|
|2009||FM||Topher Kiefer||Main cast|
|2009||Monday Monday||Mark||1 episode|
|2009||Brothers||Walter||Episode: "Snoop Returns"|
|2010||Material Girl||Chris||Main cast|
|2010||Double Wedding||Tate||TV Movie|
|2010||Thorne||Dave Holland||Main cast|
|2011||Happy Endings||Adrian||Episode: "The Girl with the David Tattoo"|
|2011||Death in Paradise||Mark Lightfoot||Episode: "An Unhelpful Aid"|
|2012||Secrets and Words||Eddie||Episode: "A Study in Time"|
|2013||Quick Cuts||Gavin||Main cast|
|2013||Pat & Cabbage||Steve||1 episode|
|2015||The Interceptor||Marcus "Ash" Ashton||Main cast|
|2016||The Five||D.S. Danny Kenwood||Miniseries|
|2017–present||The Handmaid's Tale||Luke Bankole||Main cast|
|2013||Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag||Calico Jack Rackham|
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- The Handmaid's Tale
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