Joseph Olita was born on March 31, 1944, in South East Alego within Siaya County to Regina Oduma.
Olita was famed for playing Idi Amin in blockbuster movie Rise and Fall of Idi Amin which first premiered in 1981 and Mississippi Masala in 1991, that featured legendary American actor Denzel Washington.
Olita portrayed the role of Idi Amin to near perfection, earning himself international recognition and in 1981, the Kenyan actor was crowned as the best actor at the Las Vegas International Film Festival Awards in Las Vegas.
The Rise and Fall of Idi Amin movie won five awards at the festival.
Despite being feted best actor, Olita was snubbed for the Oscars. This was considered one of the worst acting snubs in the history of the awards.
“You see these wazungu are so selfish. They just wanted to make one of their own a star. Forest Whitaker’s performance and role in The Last King of Scotland is nowhere close to what I did and still able to do,” Olite was quoted by NTV Uganda.
Away from the Idi Amin centred movie, Olite featured in other films. He played the minor role of a policeman in a 1984 fantasy adventure flick, Sheena, and portrayed an army general in a German medical drama TV series, The Black Forest Clinic.
The movie was produced between 1984 and 1988 with an original airing from October 2, 1985, to March 25, 1989, on West Germany’s 1985 ZDF television channel.
His final role on TV was an appearance in the 2011 Kenyan romantic comedy, The Captain of Nakara.
Olita founded a tour company in 2008, following the election of Barack Obama as the first African-American president of the United States. The company took the opportunity of the foreign visitors who flocked Kogelo, Siaya County to view Obama’s ancestral home.
In July 2013, Olita was spotted on the streets of Nairobi hawking unlicensed copies of the movies he did. Other reports revealed that Olita lived in Uganda where he sold electrical appliances.
The award-winning actor passed on at his rural home in Pap Oring’, South East Alego within Siaya County on June 1, 2014.
According to his brother, Mathews Ogola, Olita was suffering from arthritis, diabetes and high blood pressure at the time of his death.
Despite his stardom from the Rise and Fall of Idi Amin, Olita died a poor man.