A former President of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria, Segun Arinze, and film director, Fidelis Duker, have urged their colleagues in Nollywood to celebrate Justus Esiri, rather than feel sad about his death.
Esiri died on Monday night at the age of 71 after a brief battle with an illness said to be related to diabetes.
In separate interviews with the PUNCH on Thursday, both of them described the late actor as a role model to younger artists, especially those who were opportune to work with him at different times.
“Those who have worked with Esiri were always surprised to learn that he was warm and fun to be with. He did a lot to bring honour and prestige to Nollywood. Apart from that, he was a polished and likeable actor.
Such a man should be celebrated and not just mourned. We will surely miss him. But then, we have to celebrate him because he has left a legacy behind,” Arinze said.
Recalling his experience with the departed actor, Duker said, “Esiri was a very brilliant Thespian. Although he did not study drama in the university, he was very active as an actor and gave his entire life to creative production. He was so professional that he never really bothered about financial reward.
“When he was given the Best Supporting Actor award during the 2007 edition of AMAA, he didn’t even know that the award came with a cash prize of N1m. I had to take the cheque to him in Lagos and he was shocked to learn that all that money belonged to him. His humility touched me and I have never forgotten that moment.”
Duker described Esiri as disciplined, straight-forward, self-effacing and very humble. “Rather than feel sad about his death, I think we should celebrate him. He deserves it,” he said.
In a similar development, one of the sons of the late actor, Afro pop star Onoriode, aka Dr. Sid, reportedly told NET on Thursday there was no point feeling said about his father’s death.
“He lived well. His life is being studied in universities in the UK. He lived to be 70, and anything else after 70 is a gift. So there’s really nothing to be sad about,” he was quoted as saying.
When our correspondent contacted Dr. Sid on the telephone for his reaction to his father’s death, he declined to comment on it till burial arrangements had been concluded.
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