Oliver Adolphus Samuels is a Jamaican comedian and actor. He is often dubbed as the Jamaican “King of Comedy”. He grew up on a banana plantation where his father worked as a casual labourer and his mother sold items on the estate. 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. Oliver Samuels, known by most through his vastly popular television series, Oliver at Large, has combined a career in marketing with life on stage, touring every year between spring and summer before returning home for his executive offices at Mack D’s the Kingston-based company where he is a director and head of marketing and public relations. With no television or radio, he entertained his mother and neighbours 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. Samuels went to the Salvation Army School, Rose Bank Primary and then attended the high school in Highgate, after which he went to the Dinthill Technical High School.
After school he worked as a storekeeper at the Orange River Agricultural Station and then moved to Kingston with the encouragement of his friends. He landed a clerical job at the Water Commission and then took a job in proof-reading at the Gleaner Company, where he stayed for only one day.
After failing in his attempt to contact well-known theatre personalities, he enrolled in the Jamaica Theatre School from 1971 to1973. Oliver is an avid reader in politics, social affairs and religion. He has appeared in no fewer than 13 pantomimes playing major roles.
He has also appeared in more than 30 other productions. Some of his pantomime appearances include “Music Boy”, “Queenie’s Daughter”, “Dickance for Fippance”, “Hail Columbus”, “The Witch”, “Johnny Reggae”, “Ginneral B”, “The Pirate Princess”, “Trash”, “The Hon. All Purpose” and “The Dancing Princess”.
Abroad, he is known as Jamaica’s Bill Cosby and is a brand name that is synonymous with Jamaica and laughter. Samuels is widely regarded as one of the funniest talents to emerge from the Caribbean. Oliver Samuels also, in recent times, piloted the launch of Oliver’s Yaad Cyaad which features Samuels giving instructions in Patois and Standard English.
The unique feature of Patois prompts is a first for the international calling-card industry. Oliver Samuels, the entertainer so loved by the general public at home and abroad, ranks among the select few in Jamaican theatre to have been decorated with the national honour of Order of Distinction for his work in theatre.
In addition to his work with the local car company, Oliver Samuels was recently selected by the wire transfer service Unitransfer to star in a series of advertisements that will market their products to Florida’s Caribbean community. He travels abroad with his team of performers, entertaining & bringing Joy, Humour & A taste of Jamaica, many of us long for and truly appreciate.