Popular Nollywood actor Junior Pope drowns during film shoot

Junior Pope, 39. He died on April 10, 2024.

Photo credit: Instagram

The Nigerian entertainment industry, Nollywood, has again lost another popular actor - 39-year-old Junior Pope Odonwodo, popularly called, Jnr Pope. He died with three yet-to-be identified actors.

The actor died on April 10, 2024 in a boat accident on a film shooting in Asaba, the Delta State capital in South-South Nigeria.

His body was recovered and rushed to the hospital, where he was later confirmed dead after initial reports say he had earlier been taken to the mortuary where the attendant claimed that the actor was still breathing.

The father of three young boys was thereafter taken to the hospital where he was later confirmed dead.

Shortly before the accident, Pope had posted a short video clip, where he was shouting at the driver asking him to slow down.

In the video on his Instagram page which went viral, he was excitedly cautioning the boat driver: ``I am alone with three children to take care of oooo, please slow down.’’

 “See me lamenting….The risk we take to entertain you; crossing river 9ja yesterday with no life jacket…. Na wahooooo, who does that ??” Odonwodo had captioned in the post.

Many popular actors have reacted to the news of the deaths, including

Yvonne Jegede, Ruby Ojiakor, May Yul-Edochie, the estranged wife of actor Yul Edochie; Tana Egbo-Adelana, Calista Okoronkwo, and Chizoba Nwokoye.

“I can’t believe it. I don’t want to believe it. I refuse to believe it. Who will ask me ‘Who does that’ when next they see me?”, Yvonne wrote.

Pope, a native of Enugu state in South East Nigeria but born in Cameroon, was married to Jennifer Awele and the union is blessed with three boys.

National President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, Emeka Rollas, confirmed the the death and that the remains of the actor have been deposited at the morgue.

Rollas also confirmed that three bodies of crew members were yet to be recovered in the boat which capsized after colliding with another boat around the River Niger area.

Nollywood had been hit with many deaths of prominent actors in 2024, including Mr Ibu and Sisi Quadri.

A veteran Yoruba actor Deji Aderemi, popularly known as Olofa Ina, died on January 4 at the age of 73.

According to reports, the thespian died of cancer in Lagos State.

Veteran actress, Ethel Ekpe, who adorned the Nigerian entertainment screen for years, died on, February 7, in Lagos State.

Ekpe is well known for playing the role of ‘Segi’ on the Nigerian Television Authority sitcom, ‘Basi and Company’. She died after a long battle with cancer.

Also Yoruba Nollywood actor, Tolani Quadri Oyebamiji, popularly known as Sisi Quadri died on March 1, at the age of 44.

Oyebamiji celebrated his 44th birthday on December 25, 2023.

A day after Sisi Quadri’s demise, the news of the passing of comedic actor, John Okafor, popular as Mr Ibu broke out.

The actor, renowned for his comedic roles, died at the age of 62. It plunged fans and colleagues into mourning.

Ibu was a quintessential comedic figures destined to endure as an individual. He wields large influence over the nation’s cultural and entertainment space.

Three weeks after losing one of its comic actors to the pang of death, the Nigerian movie industry lost yet another veteran actor, Amaechi Muonagor, to the cold hands of death.

Muonagor died on Sunday, March 24, after battling kidney disease for a long time.

This came a few days after a viral video in which he solicited financial assistance from Nigerians to enable him to travel abroad for a kidney transplant.

Muonagor appeared in dozens of films, including Aki and Paw Paw. It is one of his most famous roles, where he played the father of two mischief-making, exuberant teenagers.

Nollywood actress, Adejumoke Oreoluwa Aderounmu, popularly known for her role as ‘Esther’ in popular TV series Jenifa’s Diary, died on Sunday, March 7.

Adeola Aderounmu, the brother of the actress, announced her passing through his Instagram story on Sunday.

Aderounmu started her professional acting career in the movie “Arugba,” produced by Tunde Kelani in 2008, starring alongside Bukky Wright, Bukola Awoyemi, and Segun Adefila.