David Oyelowo


David Oyelowo

Actor | Producer | Director

April 1st, 1976

Islington College , LAMDA

Oxford, England


David Oyelowo is an actor, producer, and director. David is popularly known for playing the roles of Louis Gaines and Dr. Martin Luther King in the movies, ‘The Butler’ and ‘Selma’ respectively.  David Oyetokunbo Oyelowo was born on April 1, 1976 in Oxford, England to Nigeran parents. Consistent with his last name ‘Oyelowo’, which translates to read, “Royalty has worth,” Oyelowo is a descendant of royalty. As a child, Oyelowo moved to Nigeria for about 7 years where he lived with his parents.  Oyelowo studied theatre studies at City and Islington College. While at this college, one of his teachers suggested that Oyelowo become an actor. Oyelowo then enrolled at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). He finished his training at LAMDA in 1998. While at LAMDA, he also spent some time with the National Youth Theatre where he met his wife, Jessica Oyelowo.

Career in Play & Film

Oyelowo’s stage career began in 1999 with the Royal Shakespeare Company where he played the character of Oroonoko in Ben Jonson’s Volpone. Oyelowo is best known for playing the character of King Henry VI in ‘This England: The histories’. This made him the first black actor to play an English king in a major production of Shakespeare. Oyelowo later won the 2001 Ian Charleson Award for best performance by an actor under 30 in a classical play.

Oyelowo has appeared in several TV series and in over 20 movie. However, he is popularly known for the following movies: Middle of nowhere (2012); The Butler (2013); and Selma (2014). Oyelowo also had a short stint in radio when he appeared as Olaudah Equiano in the radio play, ‘Grace Unshackled – The Olaudah Equiano Story’ along with his wife, who played the role of Mrs. Equiano. Oyelowo was nominated for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture at the 2015 Golden globes for the movie Selma.

He won the African-American Film Critics Association (AAFCA) award for Best Actor for the same movie in 2014. David has also produced and directed several movies, including, ‘Five Nights in Maine’, ‘Captive’ and the upcoming “The Queen of Katwe’. Oyelowo has made it clear to Hollywood that he would not play any role that he deems to be stereotypical of African-Americans in any movie. Specifically stating that he would rather work in a supermarket than play a stereotypical African-American role.


National Pride

Oyelowo is setting an example of excellence for all Nigerians, African-Americans, British and all actors in Hollywood