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Oliver Samuels: Life Beyond the Stage (Early Life, Education, and Theatre Education and Training)



Oliver Adolphus Samuels, Jamaican comedian and actor, is often described as the Jamaican "King of Comedy". He was born in St. Mary in the late 40's. He began his career at an early age. As a boy, Samuels entertained his mother and his village with mimicry and comic stints. His fascination with the theatre grew stronger and he attended The Theatre School in Kingston, Jamaica.

He started with small roles and found fame on the Jamaican Broadcasting Corporation's television series "Oliver at Large". As well as having a large following, in Jamaica, Samuels frequently tours Britain and North America.

Samuels is a tremendous ambassador to his country. He has made all Jamaicans proud. He was awarded the Order of Distinction by the Jamaican government. He intends to continue his art in his homeland for many years to come.


Early Life

Oliver Samuels has worked his way up from being a child of poverty to the undisputed 'Caribbean King of Comedy'. Samuels was born on a banana plantation called Tremolesworth, in Harmony Hall near Highgate in St. Mary. He was born on November 4, 1948 to Mabel and Hubert Samuels. His father worked on the plantation and his mother was an entrepreneur, selling food and other items on the plantation. He attended the Salvation Army Infant School, then the Rose Bank Primary School and the Dinthill Technical High School.

As a child, he would fetch water for his family and walk to and from school. He worked to help his ailing mother when he was just a young boy. He slept on people's verandahs and he suffered political victimization. Throughout it all, he laughed and triumphed.

With no television or radio, he entertained his mother and neighbors with comic stints, mimicry, stories, jokes, and songs. The stage became his second home. He enjoyed performing with the other children on the plantation in their Friday night performances.

After leaving high school, Samuels worked at the Orange Agricultural Center as a storekeeper.

After moving into Kingston, he worked as a clerk at the National Water Commission.

In addition to acting, Samuels is also currently the Director and Marketing and Public Relations Officer at Mack D’s Auto Sales and Rentals.


Oliver Samuels has five children, Delroy, Norman, Lesmore, and twin daughters Renee and Sandrene Samuels. He has also adopted a daughter, Stacy-Ann. Samuels separated from the children's mother when their twin daughters were only eleven months old. He moved the family to live with their grandmother then took up the role of a single father soon after. He is a strict and loving father and a doting grandfather. He loves reading and playing with his grandchildren.

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Theatre Education and Training

Samuels knew as a boy that he wanted a life in theatre. After school at Dinthill, he tried a few odd jobs but nothing gave him the self-fulfillment that he sought. While on the plantation one day in 1971, his friends showed him a newspaper advertisement inviting applications to the fledging Theatre School (now the School of Drama) started by Henry Fowler and his wife.

On the day he turned up for the audition, he saw faces that would become famous in his time: Fae Ellington, Ruth HoShing, Baldwin Hunter, and Claudia Robinson. The dean of the school, Sam Walters, conducted the audition

It was there that he first heard the phrase, "Don't call us, we'll call you." He left the audition disappointed, and not expecting a call. He received a letter two days later, however, stating that he had been accepted to the Theatre School.

It was to be a two-year course but Samuels remembers spending three years (1971-1973) but never getting any certification. In spite of this, he developed his art and people started noticing him on the stage.

Samuels also studied theatre in Kent, England at Rose Bruford College. After receiving a position at Mack D’s, Samuels returned to school to pursue a business course. In order to be his best as a Manager and Director of the auto business, he has completed his Masters in Business Administration at the Caribbean Institute of Business.

Want to learn more?

After meeting this living legend in high school, I could not resist doing a series of hubs on him. Series, because all the information would be too much for only one hub. Our Theatre Arts class had gone to see one of Jambiz Production's annual productions and had the opportunity to interview Oliver Samuels and Glen Campbell. Unfortunately, I have misplaced my copy of the recording of the interview.

♣ Oliver Samuels: Life Beyond the Stage (Early Life, Theatre Education, and Training)

♣ Oliver Samuels: Theatre Involvement and Experience

♣Oliver Samuels: Works and Performances

♣ Interview with Oliver Samuels

Interview with Oliver Samuels :Part1


While Samuels is well known for his comedic aura. He is serious when it comes to helping those less fortunate than he is now. After all, that is where he is coming from. He contributes to his childhood school, Rose Bank Primary School. He looks out for children with HIV/AIDS and contributes to the Purcell Boys Home in Veremont, St. Mary.

Oliver Samuels is a hero to all Jamaicans worldwide. He is a humble and charismatic human being that can effortlessly warm the hearts of everyone he meets.


Loi-Renee (author) from Jamaica on March 26, 2015:

LOL That's my favourite line too!

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on August 02, 2013:

One of my favorite actors growing up. I still remember his famous line. (Come box me nuh)

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