O. T. Fagbenle

Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun "O. T." Fagbenle, also referred to as O-T, is an English actor, writer and director. He has appeared in several films, stage and television productions.

Early life

Born in London to a Yoruba Nigerian father, journalist Tunde Fagbenle, and a British mother, Ally Bedford. Fagbenle was raised by his mother and moved to Spain as a child. He started learning the alto saxophone and within a year joined the South Coast Jazz Band, which toured the Edinburgh Festival. He moved back to the UK where he continued to perform as a musician in big bands at the Wembley Arena and the Royal Albert Hall. His name "Olatunde" means "Wealth comes again" in Yoruba. His younger brothers include actor and film producer Luti Fagbenle, and video director and producer Daps. His sister is WNBA player and Olympian Temi Fagbenle.

Acting career


He started acting at the age of 14 for the Ritual Theatre Arts and was given the lead role in an adaptation of William Shakespeare's Macbeth, performing at international venues and at central London's Bloomsbury Theatre. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts and graduated early to make his graduate debut at the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester in Les Blancs in 2001.
Fagbenle continued his Shakespearean roles performing in Romeo and Juliet as Mercutio in a national tour culminating at the Hong Kong Arts Festival in 2004. The Evening Telegraph said of his performance, "O-T Fagbenle achieves the impossible by almost overshadowing the young lovers with his inspired performance of Mercutio".
Fagbenle was soon offered his first all out lead. Outstanding reviews preceded a M.E.N. Theatre award for best actor in a leading role for his portrayal of a man claiming to be Sidney Poitier's son in John Guare's award-winning play Six Degrees of Separation.
In 2008, Fagbenle flew to Paris with world-renowned theatre director Peter Brook to help workshop and develop Brook's international production of Tierno Bokar.
Fagbenle played the role of Sportin' Life in Sir Trevor Nunn's award-winning production of Porgy and Bess at the Savoy Theatre in the West End of London. Fagbenle received outstanding reviews across the board, Variety magazine's review remarked 'There are moments everything take wing as a musical, mostly whenever Fagbenle's splendidly serpentine, easeful Sportin' Life is around. Light on his feet, his every moment is poised and polished.'
In 2012 in London, England, Fagbenle took on the role of Slupianek in The Conquest of the South Pole at the Arcola and Rose Theatres. Again Fagbenle won critical acclaim across the board for his performance, with TimeOut, The British Theatre Guide, Spoonfed, Whatsonstage.com and industry standard 'The Stage' all praising his performance. Fagbenle went on to be Panel nominated for 'Best Male Performance' at the prestigious Off West End Awards.
It was announced by The Royal National Theatre, that Fagbenle would be cast as the lead in their 2016 production of the Award New York Drama Critic Circle Award-winning play Ma Rainey's Black Bottom.
Fagbenle led his cast to win the prestigious Olivier Award for best revival. BBC's Radio 4 said of his performance "Mesmeric - almost impossible to take your eyes off him." "I wanna see him again and again and again." "Rips your guts out."


Fagbenle has also appeared in the movie Breaking and Entering with Jude Law and Juliette Binoche.
Fagbenle portrayed Sean, the American television star opposite Oscar nominated Michelle Pfeiffer, in Amy Heckerling's I Could Never Be Your Woman. Fagbenle had a lead role in both the highly successful Thorne movies Thorne, which adapted the Mark Billingham novels Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat. They were directed by 24 producer Stephen Hopkins and the second starred Emmy award nominated actress Sandra Oh. In 2019, he was cast as Mason in the Marvel Cinematic Universe film Black Widow.


O-T Fagbenle plays Luke Bankole in the multi-award-winning The Handmaid's Tale. He has also been nominated multiple times by the Screen Actors Guild for his work on the series.
Fagbenle starred in a sitcom for the BBC called Grownups and appeared in the British TV series Agatha Christie's Marple. He also played 'Other Dave' in the two part Doctor Who story "Silence in the Library" and "Forest of the Dead". He starred in Little Miss Jocelyn as Mrs Omwokwopopo's dead husband and the YouTube hit Postman Black. Fagbenle starred in two dramas for the BBC, including the role of Walter Tull in Walter's War, a biopic of the first mixed-heritage officer in the British Army, in which he again garnered outstanding international reviews.
In 2009 Fagbenle played the role of Topher Kiefer in the ITV series FM.
In January 2010 Fagbenle took a leading role as Chris in the BBC One flagship show Material Girl, starring Dervla Kirwan and Lenora Crichlow. Off the back of his performance he went on to be cast in the 2011 American romantic comedy Double Wedding.
Fagbenle also appeared as 'Mark Lightfoot' in episode six of the first season of Death in Paradise in 2011.
In 2012 after taking some time to 'do some theatre and develop writing projects' Fagbenle accepted a lead role in the BBC comedy Quick Cuts alongside cult comedy actress and star of Smack the Pony Doon Mackichan.
In 2014 Fagbenle starred in the first season of HBO's original drama Looking. He played 'Frank' a sweet-hearted musician from Ohio having trouble with his live-in partner. He reprised the role in 2015 for season 2.
In 2014, BBC Drama cast Fagbenle in the lead role of their criminal drama The Interceptor. Filming began in London in April 2014. In 2015 he was nominated and awarded by the MViSA awards for best male actor for his performance in The Interceptor.
After appearing in the second season of HBO's Looking, Fagbenle was cast as the lead in American crime writer Harlan Coben's original drama series The Five which first aired in April 2016 on Sky 1 in the United Kingdom.
On 14 November 2016 he appeared in a BBC2 adaptation of Zadie Smith's novel NW. In 2017 he began the role of Luke in Hulu's screen adaption of Margaret Atwood's novel The Handmaid's Tale.


For several months in 2004 he took the part of Kwame in the BBC World Service radio soap opera Westway.
He has performed multiple times for the BBC including the lead role in Six Degrees of Separation, playing Marvin Gaye in a biopic, and two roles in the BBC Radio adaptation of The Color Purple, which went on to win the Sony Radio Academy Awards for Drama in 2009.

Writing and directing

In 2018 O-T was commissioned by Channel 4 to write, direct and star in the Sitcom Maxxx.
In 2015 O-T's debut short Moth was later made a part of the official selection at the Los Angeles Screamfest Film Festival, New York City Horror Film Festival, Austin Film Festival.
After a being awarded a fund by the Nigerian high commission/TRSE to write and direct a teaser for his movie idea, Fagbenle was commissioned by Bafta-nominated Lutimedia to develop Big Bad Blood, a teen comedy television series.


Along with a starring actor credit, Fagbenle composed the music and penned the lyrics for several songs for the NBC drama Quarterlife, created by Marshall Herskovitz and Oscar-winner Ed Zwick.
In 2011 Fagbenle co-wrote the song "Storm" for Grammy nominated artist Tyga on his Black Thoughts Vol. 2 mixtape and received over 8 million hits on worldstarhiphop.com. The song features vocalist Stefano Moses, a long-time musical collaborator with Fagbenle.

Awards and nominations

In 2019 Fagbenle was SAG award nominated for his role on The Handmaid's Tale.
In 2018 Fagbenle collected The Handmaid's Tale award for international Bafta.
In 2016 O-T Fagbenle led his cast to an Olivier Award - the most prestigious honour in British Theatre - with his portrayal of Levee in Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, at the Royal National Theatre.
After John W. Bubbles in the original opera and Sammy Davis Jr. in the film, Fagbenle played the role of Sportin' Life in the world premiere of Porgy and Bess - The Musical at the Savoy theatre in London's West End.
Fagbenle was awarded Best Actor in a Leading role at the M.E.N. awards for his performance in Six Degrees of Separation.
He was the recipient of an Outstanding Achievement Award at the 13th African Film Awards.
Fagbenle originated the role of "Perry" in the Royal Court's production of the award-winning production of Fallout.
In 2012 Fagbenle was nominated for Best Male Performance at the Off West End Awards for his 'charismatic' portrayal of Slupianek in The Conquest of the South Pole.
In 2015 Fagbenle was honoured by being nominated for "Best Male Performance on TV" by the Screen Nation Awards for his performance as Frank on HBO's Looking.
In 2015 Fagbenle was nominated and awarded by the MViSA awards for BEST MALE ACTOR for his performance in The Interceptor.