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AM BACK------- LIZ BENSON

Source: nigeriafilms.com

Since late 2002, screen diva, Liz Benson, has virtually been on sabbatical from the movie industry. Her appearances in films, at that time, were in movies done by her very close friends, especially Rosemary Ingbi's movie. In the year 2000, she moved up the ladder as a film producer in a job she co-produced with veteran film maker, Tunji Bamishigbin. The film titled Eku Ida, was not only an impressive outing for Liz Benson as a debutante producer , it actually brought her back on the scene, just when people were beginning to ask where the Akwa Ibom State-born movie star had been all the while. But after Eku Ida, Liz literally faded out from the movie scene, as her appearances in movies became very rare.

Throughout 2003, Liz Benson's public image was only sustained via her alleged romantic escapades with Lagos Big Boy, Lanre Nzeribe. It was also the romance with Lanre and Liz's 40th birthday a few months back, that has kept the momentum for Liz, who was considered semi-retired from the movie scene with the advent of Genevieve Nnaji, Stella Damasus- Aboderin, Omotola Jolade-Ekehinde, Rita Dominic and Stephanie Okereke.

But the story now is that Liz Benson is back to the movie industry. Presently, she has done three big jobs, including Jumai Joseph 's second production,Turntable, which was shot at various locations in Abuja. According to sources, Liz was so outstanding in her performance that all the artists on location gave her a standing ovation for her interpretation of her role.

Incidentally, Liz is not coming back to movies solely on her own choice. The decision has been forced on her, owing to the ban handed down on Genevieve Nnaji, Omotola Ekeinde and Stella Damasus. Before now, marketers and producers were selling their movies on the strength of the faces of the Group of Five (G5), Omotola, Rita, Stephanie, Genevieve and Stella. With the recent ban on three of them and the changing marital status of Stephanie Okereke, marketers are now scouting for big names to complement Rita Dominic and the new girls on the block, and the obvious choice is Liz, who still holds sway as the most celebrated actress in Nigeria in recent times.

Liz became an instant hit and national audience television favourite when she starred in the soap opera, Fortunes, in 1996. The programme created by Charles Owoyemi and Ralph Nwadike, also starred Regina Askia and Segun Arinze, among others. From Fortunes, Liz became Nigerian home video 's most favourite actress and between 1998 and 1999, she featured in over 20 movies.

Within the same time too, Liz set multiple records as the most sought after actress, and also the most expensive. By the time she was grossing N250,000 per movie, the supporting actresses and even the lead males were receiving a distant N100,000 or less. Then, there was only Liz Benzon and the others.

In the wake of Regina Askia who was the first actress to live in the highbrow Victoria Garden City, Liz not only moved into the palatial estate, but she also acquired a Jeep and Honda cars to compliment her new status.

Ironically, Liz is returning at a. time when producers and marketers are kicking against high fees. Since two years ago when she quit active acting, the Group of 5 led by Genevieve have since jerked up their fees. Only recently, Genevieve pocketed N3 million as her fee for her role in a movie where some scenes include that she appeared semi-nude.