Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Benson Listen, born on April 5, 1966, stands as an iconic figure in Nigeria’s entertainment industry, leaving an indelible mark as an actress, television personality, and philanthropist. Hailing from Etinan, Akwa Ibom State in southern Nigeria, Benson’s journey to success and prominence is marked by her early start in acting, her breakthrough roles, her hiatus from the film industry, and her inspiring return as a born-again Christian.
Liz Benson’s trajectory toward stardom began at an early age. From the tender age of 5, she showcased her acting talents, setting the stage for a remarkable career. Her educational pursuits led her to Sylvania State College in the United States, where she honed her skills and graduated with a degree in Dramatic Arts. This foundation in dramatic arts would become the cornerstone of her successful acting journey.
Benson’s ascent to stardom took a definitive turn when she starred in the television soap opera “Fortunes” in 1993. In the role of Mrs. Agnes Johnson, Benson captivated audiences with her compelling portrayal. The soap opera’s success only foreshadowed her meteoric rise as an actress. However, it was her role in the home video film “Glamour Girls” (1994) that solidified her status as a notable figure in the Nigerian film industry. Her powerful performance in a film that delved into the sensitive theme of prostitution showcased her versatility and depth as an actress.
Despite her remarkable success, Benson made a surprising decision to step away from acting in 1996. This hiatus was not just a pause in her career; it marked a pivotal moment of transformation in her life. During her time away from the spotlight, she underwent a profound spiritual journey that led her to embrace Christianity fervently. Her newfound faith became the guiding force in her life, influencing not only her personal choices but also her professional path.
Liz Benson’s return to the Nigerian film industry was marked by a resounding transformation. Embracing her role as a born-again Christian, she returned with a renewed sense of purpose. She made it clear that her acting choices would be aligned with her faith and values, a decision that showcased her unwavering commitment to her beliefs. Benson’s return to Nollywood was not just a resurgence of her acting career; it was a proclamation of her identity and a testament to her resilience.
Liz Benson’s personal life has been marked by both triumphs and challenges. Her early loss of her first husband, Samuel Gabriel Etim, was a defining moment that fueled her strength and determination. Her ability to overcome adversity and continue raising her children served as a testament to her character.
In 2009, Benson embarked on a new chapter by marrying Bishop Great Ameye of Freedom Family Assembly. Their union not only solidified a personal relationship but also marked the convergence of their shared Christian values. Together, they established Freedom Family Assembly, a Christian Evangelical Ministry dedicated to spreading the gospel and impacting lives.
Liz Benson’s legacy and influence extends far beyond her on-screen performances. Her journey from a young girl with a passion for acting to a prominent actress and philanthropist has left an permanent impact on Nigeria’s entertainment landscape. Her bold decision to prioritize her faith and values in her acting choices exemplifies her unwavering commitment to principles that extend beyond fame and success.
Benson’s story serves as an inspiration to aspiring actors, reminding them that success need not come at the expense of one’s identity and beliefs. Her ability to seamlessly transition from a successful acting career to a full-time advocate of her faith demonstrates her multifaceted nature and her capacity to evolve.
Her contributions to the Nigerian film industry have garnered recognition and honors. Notable among these are the Best Actress in a Leading Role award at the Africa Movie Academy Awards (AMAA) for her role in “Izinza.” She also won the Best Supporting Actress award at the inaugural Africa Magic Viewers’ Choice Awards (AMVCA) for her performance in “Confusion Na Wa.” The industry further acknowledged her with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the AMVCA in 2017.
Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Benson Listen’s journey from a young talent to an accomplished actress and philanthropist is a testament to her resilience, versatility, and unwavering commitment to her faith. Her early successes, transformative journey, and impactful return to Nollywood showcase her ability to adapt, evolve, and leave an enduring legacy. As she continues to inspire through her acting choices and humanitarian endeavors, Liz Benson remains a trailblazer whose influence extends far beyond the silver screen.