June 2010

Shadia (1931 – )

By |June 26th, 2010|

Fatma Ahmed Kamal Shaker was given the stage- name “Shadia” by director Helmi Rafla. In her heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, she avoided being typecast by working with a number of different directors and in different genres—melo­drama, romance, and comedy. It was, however, […]

Abdel Halim Hafez

By |June 26th, 2010|

For thirty years, Muhammad Abdel Wahab dominated Arabic song. Then suddenly a sickly young man called Abdel Halim Hafez appeared, and earned for himself the name al-Andalib al-Asmar, The Dark Nightingale.

The upstart’s sudden rise to fame took the Singer of Kings and Princes by […]

Naima Akef

By |June 26th, 2010|

Naima Akef’s father owned the Akef Circus and at the age of four, she began her training as a trapeze artist. Growing into a beautiful young woman, she became an oriental dancer at Casino Badia Masabni. She made a brief dancing appearance in Sit […]

Samia Gamal (1924 – 1994)

By |June 25th, 2010|

Born in Wana, Egypt, and raised near the Khan El Khalil bazaar in Cairo, this world-renowned belly dancer began her performance career in a 1940s Cairo nightclub owned by Badia Masabni, a highly influential Syrian-born dancer, who also discovered Tahiyya Carioca. During the late […]

Hind Rustom (1931 – )

By |June 25th, 2010|

Born in Alexandria, Egypt, Rustom was a sex symbol of 1950s Egyptian cinema who starred in more than 60 films—largely comedies, melodramas, and crime genre vehicles—from that period through the early 1970s. Although not a formally trained belly dancer, Rustom did perform as such […]

April 2010

Fatin Hamama (1931— )

By |April 26th, 2010|

Fatin Hamama discovered the cinema when she was young, living with her family in the eastern Delta, where her father worked as a primary school secre­tary. Her father took her to see her first film in the provincial town of Mansura. The actress Asya […]

Yusef Wahbi (1897-1982)

By |April 26th, 2010|

Born the son of a pasha, Yusef Wahbi was expected to become an engineer like his father. But a passion for acting drove him along an unforeseen path. To his father’s astonishment and rage, Yusef joined the circus. In so doing he became a […]

Amina Rizq (1910 – )

By |April 26th, 2010|

Amina Rizq’s acting career has spanned seven decades. In 1924, she and her aunt Amina Muhammad, also an actress, left Tanta, their provincial hometown. Rizq settled in Cairo, joined the Ramses Troupe and has since continued her acting career uninterrupted. Her first appearance in […]

December 2009

Omar Sharif (1931 – )

By |December 12th, 2009|

Omar al-Sharif was born Michel Dimitri Shalhoub, to an Alexandrian family of Lebanese descent. He was discovered by director Yusef Chahine, who cast him in three films: Sira’afil-Wadi (Feud in the Valley, 1953), Shaytan al-Sahara (The Desert Devil, 1954), and Sira’a fil-Mina (Feud in […]

Rushdi Abaza (1927 – 1982)

By |December 12th, 2009|

Born of an Italian mother and an Egyptian father, Rushdi Abaza was the scion of a respectable old family whose members held high posts in the state. As a stu­dent at St. Mark’s College in Alexandria, Rushdi was fonder of body building and athletics […]