Jimmy Akingbola was born in London to parents who had immigrated from Nigeria. During his early years, Akingbola’s parents divorced. When he was two, his mother became extremely ill, and he was eventually sent to a children’s home. At the age of three, he was fostered by the white Crowe family, as the youngest of four children in Silvertown, East London. The family later moved to Plaistow, where Akingbola grew up.
In 1996, Akingbola started at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) in Wandsworth, London. He completed their 3-year, full-time acting diploma.
Akingbola started his career on stage at the Birmingham Repertory Theatre in The Nativity for Bill Alexander. He continued in a production of Baby Doll at the Royal National Theatre. Next he appeared in "Naked Justice" by playwright John Mortimer at the West Yorkshire Playhouse, opposite Leslie Phillips.
Akingbola played Elvis in the poignant play Behzti at the Birmingham Rep in December 2004. He worked with rapper and actor Riz Ahmed in the hit play Prayer Room. Akingbola earned four-star reviews for his performance as Bunce.
Akingbola acted in the production of Roxanne Silbert’s play People Next Door, in which he gave a memorable performance alongside actor Fraser Ayres’ character as his best friend Marco.
Akingbola won his first award (TMA Theatre Award for Best Supporting Actor) for the role of Christopher in Blue/Orange, first produced at the Sheffield Crucible Theatre; the production then went on a national tour. He played opposite Roger Lloyd-Pack and Shaun Evans in Joe Penhall's award-winning play; it was directed by Kathy Burke.
Akingbola later went on to star in The Cut at the Donmar Warehouse opposite Ian McKellen, directed by Michael Grandage. Additional roles include Akingbola playing anti-hero Jimmy Porter in the John Osborne play of Look Back in Anger at the Jermyn Street Theatre in July 2008; he was the first black actor to play the role. The same year he played the title role of Othello for the company Frantic Assembly, which received a TMA Award.
Akingbola’s television roles started with the black BBC sitcom "The Crouches" playing the witty character of Dennis Dutton where he received favourable reviews which was rumoured to lead him being listed for a possible BAFTA nomination. He has since played roles in "Stupid! The Bill, The Royal, The South Bank Show, Roger Roger, Holby City, Doctors, New Tricks, Comedy Lab and Longford. Akingbola secured his first permanent major television role appearing in BBC’s police drama series HolbyBlue, starring alongside Kacey Ainsworth and Tim Pigott-Smith, as PC Neil Parker alongside his on screen colleague PC Kelly Cooper, played by Chloe Howman. Akingbola returned to show his comedy talent in 2010, starring in the BBC2 hit series Rev. where he played the popular character "Mick", alongside Tom Hollander and Olivia Colman. For his role as Mick, Akingbola was nominated for "Best TV Comedy Performance" at the Black International Film Festival and Music Video & Screen Awards. Akingbola also played the roles of Malick in Holby City and PC Johnson in Silk, both on BBC One in 2011.
In 2014, Akingbola played blind geography teacher Dr Dalton in episode 2 of the second series of BBC One sitcom Big School.
In 2015 Akingbola plays Baron Reiter in Arrow season 4. NCIS Beastmaster 2017
Akingbola featured in the film "The Car" in addition to appearing in the international film "Anansi" as starring alongside Naomie Harris, Danny Sapani and Maynard Eziashi. He played the main lead in the film "The Dimples Cry" and in 2010 starred alongside Ray Fearon in the BBC film "Hominid" and featured in Nour Wazzi’s short film "Habibti" alongside Hiam Abbas.
Akingbola is the voice in several popular computer games for electronics game brands including EA, Disney, PlayStation and Funcom. Games titles include; Dead Space 2, Pirates of the Caribbean, Gangs of London, Age of Conan, The Secret World, Dirt 2, James Bond: Golden Eye, Brink and Dirty Bomb.
Akingbola works with BBC Radio as a regular voice over contributor to several shows including BBC World Service, BBC Radio 4 and 7.
For many years, Akingbola has been known by many to bring like minded people together within the London acting community and it is from this that his nickname "Mr Nice" was born. The love of connecting individuals within the London acting scene turned into a business venture in 2008 when Akingbola co founded the company Triforce Promotions with business partners Fraser Ayres and Jason Angol. Triforce Promotions is an organisation which hosts monthly events for acting professionals to meet, creating opportunities between actors, casting directors, producers and directors across film and TV. In 2010, Triforce Promotions and the BBC developed an initiative, calling budding writers to submit scripts in the bid to be commissioned by the BBC. The relationship between the two organisations continues to grow with future projects in development.
Akingbola maintains his passion for connecting individuals from the entertainment industry by lending his time to host the monthly London show of "Monologue Slam", an event developed by Goldrush Entertainment, known as the ultimate actor’s showcase which has seen attendance by household personalities including Lenny Henry and James Alexandrou.Best Supporting Actor, Theatrical Management Association Annual Awards ("Blue/Orange")
Best Male TV Actor, BEFFTA Awards (BBC’s "REV")
Best Male Film Actor, BEFFTA Awards ("Habibti")
Best Male TV Actor, Screen Nation (BBC's "Holby Blue")