O-T Fagbenle

O-T Fagbenle

An award-winning stage performer in his native England, actor O.T. Fagbenle also proved to be a versatile presence in features and on television, most notably in the HBO series "Looking" (2014-16), Sky1's crime series "The Five" (2016-) and the Hulu adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel "The Handmaid's Tale" (2017-). Born Olatunde Olateju Olaolorun Fagbenle in London, England, he was the son of British and Nigerian parents and with his brother, actor and producer Luti Fagbenle, spent much of his childhood between homes in London, Spain and Nigeria. During this period, he was trained on the alto saxophone and played with a variety of groups, including the South Coast Jazz Band, at major venues like the Royal Albert Hall. Fagbenle added acting to his list of interests in his teenaged years, and landed his first stage role at 16 in a Nigerian production of Shakespeare's "Macbeth." The experienced convinced him to pursue acting as his true calling, and after training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, he made his professional debut in a 2001 production of "Les Blancs" at the Royal Exchange Theatre in Manchester, England. The stage would remain his primary showcase for the next few years, most notably productions of "Porgy and Bess" in London's west and John Guare's "Six Degrees of Separation," which earned a Best Actor Award from the Manchester Evening News in 2004. Fagbenle also appeared in guest roles on several television series before making his feature film debut in Anthony Minghella's "Breaking and Entering" (2006) opposite Jude Law and Juliette Binoche. Subsequent screen appearances included Amy Heckerling's comedy "I Could Never Be Your Woman" (2007) and the American web series "Quarterlife" (NBC, 2008), which allowed him to create original songs for his role as a professional musician; Fagbenle also played the real-life Walter Tull, the first mixed-race officer in the British Army, in the 2008 BBC production "Walter's War," and co-starred in the Lifetime feature "Double Wedding" (2010) before returning to the English stage. There, he earned an Off West End nomination for a 2012 production of "The Conquest of the South Pole, but soon returned to television and film, most notably on the HBO series "Looking," and as the star of the BBC crime drama "The Interceptor" (2015). Between these projects, Fagbenle also wrote and directed a pair of short films, "Big Bad Blood" (2013) and "MOTH (Man of the House)" (2014), then returning to television in a starring role as a detective on the trail of a long-missing friend on "The Five." In the midst of this busy schedule, Fagbenle found time to give an Olivier Award-winning performance in a production of "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom" at the Royal National Theatre in 2016. The following year, he joined Elisabeth Moss as a series regular on "The Handmaid's Tale," adapted from the novel by Margaret Atwood.