A-List Nollywood actress Stephanie Linus's tenacity, wit, intelligence, grace and natural acting abilities has earned her a reputation as Africa's foremost actress, especially in Nollywood, now reputed as being the second largest film industry in the world. The sixth child of eight children, Stephanie was born in 1980 in Benin City. She started her acting career while a student studying English and Literacy Studies at the University of Calabar (UNICAL), acting in two Nollywood films Compromise 2 and Waterloo, followed by her role in director Teco Benson's blockbuster film Terror. In 2002, she became a household name in Nigeria for her sterling performance in the movie Emotional Crack, which earned eight awards and was screened in 2004 at the African Film Festival in New York. Linus went on to win the 2003 Reel Awards for Best Actress English and the Best Actress of the Year. Since Emotional Crack, Stephanie has never looked back, starring in over 100 films. In 2006, she won the Afro-Hollywood Award, and the Film Makers USA Award For Excellence, followed by the Miriam Makeba Award for Excellence in 2007, and the Beyond The Tears Humanitarian Award 2008 for her work against rape and vesico vaginal fistula (VVF).
Standing out among the internationally acclaimed cast of the spring’s blockbuster miniseries “the Bible” is Darwin Shaw, the British actor whose moving performance brings to life the disciple Peter, who grew to be a brother of Jesus and the first Pope of the Christian church. Cast by Executive Producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey in their production for a History Channel, Shaw perhaps understood the metamorphosis of the simple fishermen Simeon into the apostle Peter because he experienced his own metamorphosis from accomplished Emergency Medicine specialist to actor, starring in stage and screen. Born in Brampton Cumbria Shaw is the grandson of a vicar and son of a social worker/nurse and special needs teacher and race relations advisor for the BBC. He attended King’s College in London, graduating in medicine and moving on to specialities in orthopaedics, general surgery and respiratory medicine. The focus and dedication required by the studies would serve him well when he was inspired to change the course of his life. During a professional hiatus into New York, Shaw read The Artists Way, Julia Cameron’s book on the creative process and inspired him to attend an acting class. The die was cast. For a time he juggled his medical career and his classes, but when his first professional audition won him the role of Adam in the Story of Creation shot in Cape Town, the decision was finally made between art and science. Back in England is accepted by the oldest drama school in the world, the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. Shaw’s first role after graduating from LAMDA was in Deborah Warner’s production of Julius Caesar at the Barbican theatre with a cast which included Ralph Fiennes, Fiona Shaw and Simon Russell Beale. His first feature film was Casino Royale (2006), directed by Martin Campbell and introducing Daniel Craig as the new 007, and he has since worked with award-winning directors Mike Newall, Andrew Stanton and Ridley Scott. A passionate explorer, Shaw has travelled through Africa, the Middle East, South America and – on a classic 1957 motorcycle – across India. For his portrayal of St. Peter, he steeped himself in the history of the Church, and spending time at The Vatican, at the saint’s tomb and in a monastery, silently observing the lives of orthodox monks. He resides between Los Angeles and London
Elizabeth Benson Liz, popularly known as Liz Benson, began acting when she was just a kid. Her journey to stardom began when she appeared on the set of the popular television soap opera, Fortunes in 1993. Liz Benson played the part of Mrs. Agnes Johnson in the soap, which ran for about two years on the Nigerian Television Authority network.In 1994, her role in Glamour Girls, a very successful home video film that focused on the theme of prostitution, literally changed her fortune after Fortunes. The movie shot her into prominence and gradually she warmed her way into the minds of millions of Nigerian movie fans. Surprisingly, just when her rating as a leading actress had begun to rise even higher than expected, Benson suddenly quit acting in 1996. She became a born-again Christian and started preaching the gospel. The Efik-born actress, took another shot at marriage after her conversion. In a quiet court ceremony in Abuja, She got married to Bishop Great Emeya in 2009 at the Rainbow Christian Assembly in Warri, Delta State. The couple are deeply involved in a Christian evangelical ministry. While Benson is an evangelist, her husband, Emeya, is a pastor in Warri, Delta State. Liz lost her husband (Samuel Gabriel Etim) while around her mid-twenties. Liz said that she actually gained strength from his character and that made her be able to carry her and her kids through the loss. She started acting when she was five years old. She is loved by most movie watchers in Nigeria and is seen as one of the first ladies of Nollywood Some of her more popular roles include her role as Titubi in Femi Osofisan's Morountodun and as Mrs. Agnes Johnson in Fortunes, a soap opera that ran for about two years on Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) Channel 10. She acted in a number of Nollywood video-films such as Evil Men 1 and 2, Shame, Conspiracy, Izaga, Burden, Stolen Child, Faces, Dead End, Tycoon, Glamour Girls, Body of Vengeance and a horde of other movies. Liz Benson currently is an evangelist and lives in Delta State with her husband. Together they run a ministry, Freedom Family Assembly.
BILL McNAMARA- ACTOR, USA, DRY William McNamara studied at the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute and has since notched up over sixty-five film and TV appearances. One of his first roles was that of Joel in the teen movie Dream a Little Dream (1989) with Corey Feldman and Corey Haim. He followed this up with the Bette Midler film Stella (1990). It was during the nineties, however, that William turned out some of his best performances. He gave a great performance as Derek Wolfe Jr in the Ernest R. Dickerson manhunt thriller Surviving the Game (1994), in which he worked with a cast of talented veteran actors including F. Murray Abraham, Gary Busey, Rutger Hauer, and John C. McGinley. That same year he was again teamed with Gary Busey - and Tom Berenger - in the Navy comedy Chasers (1994), directed by Dennis Hopper. His most prized - and chilling - role, though, is that of Peter Foley the copycat serial killer in the psychological thriller Copycat (1995). The film also starred Sigourney Weaver, Dermot Mulroney, and jazz musician Harry Connick Jr.. He appeared with Andrew McCarthy and John Stockwell in Stag (1997), and made his way towards the millennium opposite Gabriel Byrne in the World War II drama The Brylcreem Boys (1998). William's first feature film role was in acclaimed cult horror director Dario Argento's slasher classic, Opera (1987). But don't fear: the actor is actually a kind spiritualist and an avid animal rights activist, putting much time, energy, and money into the plight of the dolphins and small whales off the shores of Japan. William involves himself in animal rescue in general, Kundalini, and Yoga! Though known prominently for his animal rights work, William is no stranger to also campaigning for human rights. It therefore comes as no surprise that Billy was so keen to be involved with DRY and speak against the practice of Child Brides.