By Wisdom Nwedene
Sam Loco Efeeimwonkiyeke, popularly known as Sam Loco Efe was a Nollywood comic actor, television personality and a Comedian. He was born on 25 December, 1945 in Enugu State.
His father, Arase Efeeimwonkiyeke hailed from Benin and worked in Eastern Nigeria while his mother was a petty trader who sold bean cakes(akara).
Sam Loco, however, spent his childhood in Abakaliki which was part of Enugu State but now the capital of Ebonyi State.
Before he died, Sam Loco had planned to retire at his farmhouse in Abakaliki but never fulfilled that dream.
During the Civil War, Efe fought on the Biafra side until he returned to Benin in 1968 when he started the Ovonranwen Theatre Group with their debut production being Ogierhiakhi’s Obaiwape.
However, his earnings from acting was meagre and thereafter, he traveled to Lagos to seek better career opportunities and to explore a career in football.
He got his first job in 1972 working for Michelin Tyres which he applied for the position without knowing how to drive and that was a requirement for the job.
He, however, learned how to drive a day before the interview. During the interview, he passed the oral interview and failed the driving test but honesty about his error in judgement won over the interviewer.
He worked for Michelin selling tyres in Lagos, Ijebu Ode and Abeokuta and left Michelin to work for Dunlop Tyres as a Senior Sales Representative in the Tyres and Allied products division.
While working for Dunlop in Benin, he was a cast member of NTA Benin’s television series, Hotel de Jordan and also performed in a rendition of Ola Rotimi’s The Gods are Not to Blame. In 1977, he left sales for a career in theatre.
He auditioned and got the lead part of Langbodo, a play by Dapo Adelugba presented during Festac.
After the end of Festac, Adelugba introduced him to a friend of his at University of Ibadan about opportunities in theatre. Adelugba’s friend was able to get Efe a position as a senior artiste in the institution.
Sam Loco Efe was one of the richest and most influential actor in Nigeria before his death with an estimated net worth of $400,000.
How He Died
Sam Loco Efe died on 7 August 2011 while sitting on his seat in a hotel room . He was found dead on Sunday morning with ventolin inhalers beside him in the hotel room where he lodged. The room was forced open after he failed to come down after retiring the previous night.
Contrary to reports that he was on location in Owerri, Imo State it was gathered that he was actually in Owerri editing a yet untitled film produced by Bayelsa State born Favour Ogosi.
He featured in over 500 movies and is survived by six children including Sandra Ebun Leonardo, Bola Adesuwa, Bismarck Nosa Efe, Julia Orobosa Omozusi, Precious Osariemen Efe and Omoruyi.
Sam Loco Efe died at the age of 72.