Garlands for stage, screen queen Clarion Chukwurah at 59
Garlands flowed freely on Monday, July 24 for world class and multiple award-winning stage and screen actress Clarion Clara Nneka Oluwatoyin Chukwurah as she turned 59. The social media space buzzed as soon as the actress and mother, who holds the traditional title of Ada Eji Eje Mba 1 of Onitsha in Anambra State, South East Nigeria shared a photo on her social media platforms to announce that she was on her last leg on the fifth floor of life.
The actress captioned the post thus: “Today, as I begin my last year on the 5th floor, I look back and say thank you Father for victory. Happy 59th birthday to me.”
Within seconds of her stepping on the sent button, her friends, fans and colleagues, both young and old took turns to celebrate her attaining 59. Filmmaker, Femi Odugbemi, joined hordes of her colleagues to congratulate the actress of vast credit. “Happy birthday Legend. You are an awesome professional and it was delightful to work with you. Have a brilliant and blissful day.”
Another colleague, Ronnie Dikko wrote: “Happy birthday to a beautiful woman. Welcome to a new season of an uncommon dimension of glory. You will shine forever. Grace upon grace Sis.”
Born to a well-known socialite father and an industrious mother, Chukwurah, the only daughter in a family of four and an old girl of Queen of the Rosary College, studied acting and speech at the Department of Dramatic Arts, University of Ife, Ile-Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife) before proceeding to train in Speech at Leeds (North England) in 1997 in a programme sponsored by The West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds.
A philanthropist, Clarion began acting as a keenly interested teenager in 1979 having played Lady Macbeth in William Shakespeare’s Macbeth and Mary Magdalene in Jesus Christ, both school plays. She became a semi-professional actress with the University of Ibadan Performing Company and also joined Tunji Oyelana’s band ‘The Kenneries’ as a back-up vocalist before she went to further her professional training at the University of Ife.
An actress of vast credits, Chukwurah went professional in 1984 with Lola Fani-Kayode’s soap opera; ‘Mirror In the Sun’ and has in the 26-year span of her career attended several theatre workshops, theatre business seminars, script conferences and refresher courses. A deeply talented actress, she acquired requisite skills with training and experience to emerge as one of the best at character and method acting in Africa.
A student of history and literature; she is a tenacious fan of writers such as Robert Ludlum, Leon Uris and John Grisham and got her foundational inspiration at age six from Michael Jackson and at eight from King Sunday Adeniyi Adegeye aka Sunny Ade, respectively.
Her most interesting past-times are long countryside drives, sailing, fooling around with her family, reading historical or covert books, watching historical films and listening to R&Bs, Orlando Owoh and King Sunny Ade’s oldies.
Mother of the fast rising musical video director, Clarence Peters, Clarion, who believes in discipline, loyalty and hard work, is recorded in the history of the Nigerian film industry as the first Nigerian actress to win the prestigious continental FESPACO best actress award in 1982 for her role in Money Power, directed by Ola Balogun.
An undisputable cross over queen, the accomplished actress acts in both English, Igbo and Yoruba movies. Though originally from Anambra State, Clarion speaks Yoruba fluently that most people often assume that she is an actress of that stock. In her filmography are Yoruba movies such as ‘Yemoja,’ ‘Owo Lagba,’ ‘Ogidan,’ ‘O Koja Bee,’ ‘Sunmibare,’ ‘Abela Pupa’ and ‘Lagidigba.’
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