Nigerian-American actor Nyambi Nyambi Sooner born and bred

Actor Nyambi Nyambi of CBS's “Mike and Molly” says he is Sooner born, Sooner bred and when he dies, he'll be Sooner dead.
by Heather Warlick Published: May 7, 2012
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With a name like Nyambi Nyambi, you may not expect to hear that the “Mike and Molly” actor is a native Oklahoman.

“I like to say I'm Sooner-born, Sooner-bred and when I die, I'll be Sooner-dead,” Nyambi said in a recent telephone interview. The Nigerian-American actor who plays “Samuel,” a Senegalese waiter on the sitcom, lived in Norman for the first five years of his life. Both his parents, his sister and his uncle graduated from the University of Oklahoma.

Soon, Nyambi plans to add his name to the list of OU graduates in his family.

“I've always wanted to get a degree from the University of Oklahoma because it's just what we did in my family,” he said. The scholar, athlete and actor is working toward a second master's degree (his first was from New York University for acting) at OU in Leadership Administration. His coursework is through the university's online studies program.

“This is how much of an Oklahoma guy I am,” Nyambi interrupted the interview. He stood outside on a Los Angeles street, talking on his cellphone. “There is a guy wearing a Texas Longhorns hat in Los Angeles and I am fuming right now. I've just given him the Longhorns sign: the upside down horns.”

And while the “Oklahoma guy” is a huge basketball fan — he played all four years of college at Bucknell University — he admits the Thunder is not his favorite team. It's his second favorite.

“Here's the problem. I grew up an L.A. Lakers fan. Magic Johnson was the reason I played basketball,” he said.

He wasn't a SuperSonics fan at all. So when the team became the Oklahoma City Thunder, “I found it very conflicting.”

He didn't want to be a fair-weather fan of the Lakers, he said, and the fact that Kevin Durant formerly played for University of Texas helped him reconcile his allegiance.

“You know, we Sooners don't like anything that comes out of Austin,” he said. “That made it easier for me. As long as the star player's from Texas, they can be my second favorite team.”

An injury-plagued senior year at Bucknell prompted Nyambi to shift his focus from sports to acting, a hobby he'd always loved but rarely had time to pursue due to the demands of his basketball career.

A performance of Martin Luther King Jr.'s “The Eulogy for the Martyred Children” speech sealed the deal for Nyambi.

“We call it in the acting world ‘catching the bug.' This light hit me. I later found out it was the spotlight ... you know, the actual light,” he joked. “But really it was like something otherworldly was happening. It was an awesome, awesome feeling.”

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by Heather Warlick
Life & Style Editor
Since graduating from University of Central Oklahoma with a Bachelor's Degree in Journalism, Staff Writer Heather Warlick has written stories for The Oklahoman's Life section. Her beats have included science, health, home and garden, family,...
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I like to say I'm Sooner-born, Sooner-bred and when I die,

I'll be Sooner-dead.”

Nyambi Nyambi

“Mike and Molly” actor and native

Of Oklahoma

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