Nigerian professional actor and poet, Chief Lari Williams, has passed on at the age of 81 due to an illness.
The veteran actor died on Sunday, February 27, 2022, in his home in Ikom, Cross River State, Nigeria.
News of his passing was announced in a statement through the official Instagram account of the Actors Guild of Nigeria @actorsguildofnigeria by Nollywood actress Monalisa Chinda Coker.
The statement reads “With heart full of deep sorrow but total submission to the will of God, we announce the passing away of our first National President and veteran Actor, Chief Lari Williams (MFR), who passed on Sunday, 27th February 2022.”
“It was with great shock that we received the news of his death.”
“Chief Lari Williams (MFR) was a thorough bred thespian, poet, playwright, and a teacher, he stood apart from whatever vantage position we knew him, as someone special.”
“Chief Lari Williams’ death is collosal loss to Africa’s creative industry.”
“On behalf of the Actors Guild of Nigeria, the National President, Ejezie Emeka Rollas commiserate with his immediate family, friends and fans all over the world.”
“This is indeed a grieving moment for the creative industry as we mourn the passage of a creative icon.”
“May God comfort all of us at this moment of grief. Rest in peace Uncle Lari Williams.”
Chief Lari Williams studied journalism at the London School of Journalism.
He also studied the English language at Morley College, London, England.
His professional acting career began after his studies at Mountview Theatre School and the Stratford E15 Acting School, England.
After staring in a number of hit soap operas, he became the first president of the Actors’ Guild of Nigeria (AGN).
He is mostly known for his roles in soap operas like ‘Mirror in the Sun’ and ‘Village Headmaster’.
Other supporters of the actor and social media users have been saddened by the news, and on Twitter, people expressed their sadness over his death.
Before his passing, in 2019, Reno Omokri took to twitter to thank Apostle Suleiman (a Nigerian pastor) for housing the actor when the actor was apparently homeless.
He tweeted “Dear @APOSTLESULEMAN, I know you may not like me exposing it, but thank you for providing a home for the actor, Lari Williams, who had been homeless. You‘ve touched so many with your agape love. Only God can reward you!”
One twitter user mentioned the actor was also a politician at a time, as he ran against Nigerian singer ‘Fela Anikjlapoo-kuti’ for a presidential ticket within the same political party in 1983.
That tweet reads “With Gratitude to God for a life well lived , the death has been announced of Mr Lari Williams , MFR and 1st President of the Actors Guild of Nigeria. He was the running mate to Fela Anikulapo-Kuti under the Movement of the People political party Presidential ticket of 1983. RIP”
A second tweeted “Writer, essayist, drummer, method actor and performance poet Uncle Lari Williams called me on February 24th and we talked for about 30 minutes with a promise that I will get him a positive feedback on February 28th. He died last night! Good night Sir. Rest on and worry NO more”
OAP The Genie, real name ‘Bola Sonola’ refered to him as an uncle. He also added that the actor was on par with Nollywood veteran actor Olu Jacobs and Denzel Washington (Hollywood veteran actor).
His tweet reads “Uncle Lari Williams who l see as an actor’s actor has earned his wings at the age of 81. He could easily have been mentioned in the same breath as Olu Jacobs and a Denzil Washington. He surely would be missed. RIP Uncle Lari!”
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