Egypt loses renowned actor Ezzat El-Alaili who dies at age 86

Ati Metwaly , Friday 5 Feb 2021

In a career that spanned over 50 years, he worked with the best known Egyptian directors alongside leading actors of his generation and the older giants of the industry

Ezzat El-Alaili
(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 21, 2017 Egypt's actor Ezzat al-Alayli poses for a picture at the opening ceremony of the 39th Cairo International Film Festival in the Egyptian capital. - Veteran Egyptian actor Ezzat al-Alayli has passed away at the age of 86 on February 5, 2021, according to the Egyptian Syndicate of Representative Professions. (AFP)

Renowned Egyptian actor Ezzat El-Alaili died on Friday at the age of 86.

Ezzat El-Alaili was born on 15 September, 1934 in the Bab El-Shariyah district near Old Cairo.

He was interested in acting from his early school years and enrolled at the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts where he graduated in 1960.

El-Alaili embarked on acting in theatre, film and television engraving his name strongly in the Egyptian and Arab cultural scene.

While excelling as an actor, he also shouldered a heavy family responsibility of raising four sisters after his father passed away.

Though he began working as a television presenter, he soon embarked on a film career with small roles in Cairo (1963), starring Faten Hamama and directed by Wolf Rilla; and Ressalah Min Emraa Maghoula (1963) directed by by Salah Abouseif and starring Farid El-Atrash, Lobna Abdel-Aziz and Amina Rezq, a role that garnered him critical acclaim.

In the mid 1960s, he started working with renowned filmmakers, landing important or lead roles in several of Youssef Chahine's films, such as Those People of the Nile (Al Nas Wal Nil, 1964), the Choice (Al Ikhtiyar, 1970), Alexandria...Why? (1979), and The Land (Al Ard, 1969), The Egyptian Citizen (Al-Mowaten Masry, 1991).

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 4, 1999 shows (L to R) Egyptian film stars Faruq al-Fishawi, Elham Shahine, Ezzat al-Alaili and Syrian mega-film producer Mustafa Al-Aqqad attending the awards ceremony at the 23rd Cairo international film festival. (AFP)

In a career that spanned over 50 years, he worked with the best known Egyptian directors alongside leading actors of his generation and the older giants of the industry.

He starred in several of Salah Abouseif's films including The Water Carrier is Dead (Al Saqqa Mat, 1979), Al Qadisiya (1981).

He also starred for director Mohamed Abdel-Aziz in El-Mealema Samah (1989) and Lela Assal (1990).

El-Alaili also delivered impressive performances in The Collar and the Bracelet (El Towk Wa El Eswera, 1986) by Khairy Beshara, People On the Top (Ahl El Qema, 1981) by Ali Badrakhan, among others.

He occasionally performed in theatrical plays and also wrote several plays such as The city's Revolt (Thawrat Al-Madina), The Flood (Al-Touffan).

Acting on the small screen came later in El-Alaili's career as he appeared in works such as El-Share'a El-Gedid (1997), El Mansouria (2005), Wa Adet El-Quloub (2008), El-Gamaah (2010), Qaid Aayeli (2019).

El-Alaili and Latifa
Ezzat El-Alaili and Tunisian singer Latifa

In the 1990s and 2000s he also made numerous important appearances in television programmes: History of Arab Cinema (1997), 90 Minutes (2006), Her Excellency (2014), Last Word (2020). He was a guest of numerous other programmes including Tonight With Hala Sarhan (1997), One of the People (2008), On the Announcer's Chair (2008), With You, Mona El-Shazly (2014), among dozens of others.

El-Alaili has received numerous awards in Egypt and from other Arab countries. He won a lifetime achievement award from the Dubai International Film Festival in 2015 and was also honored at the Sharjah International Book Fair "for his significant contribution to Egyptian cinema over many decades and his highly creative interpretations of the best Egyptian and Arabic novels through a huge collection of films and TV series."

(FILES) In this file photo taken on November 2, 2008 Egyptian actor Ezzat El Alaili (L) delivers South African Actress Kudzai Chimbaira the Best Actress Award during the closing ceremony of the 22nd Carthage International Film Festival. AFP

Many Egyptian cultural figures, including Minister of Culture, Ines Abdel-Dayem and the Head of Actors' Syndicate Ashraf Zaki, expressed their condolences to El-Alaili's fans and family, underscoring the loss of one of the giants of Egypt's artistic scene.

"Ezzat El-Alaili is an eternal glory in the history of Egyptian art and a legend in acting and performance. He embodied unique characters who were beloved by the viewers, leaving the unforgettable imprints in the conscience of our society. He was devoted to the homeland and art, loved and respected by the whole nation," Abdel-Dayem said.

El-Alaili was burried today after Friday prayers which took place in Al-Marwa Mosque in the Dreamland (6th of October on the Cairo outskirts).

He was honored during the 36th edition of the Alexandrian Mediterranean Film Festival in November 2020.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on May 25, 2012 Egyptian actor Ezzat al-Alaili smiles as he steps on the stage to receive his lifetime achievement award after being honoured at the 60th Catholic Centre Film Festival in Cairo. AFP

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