Egyptian veteran actor Youssef Shaaban, 90, succumbed to coronavirus and died in a hospital in Giza on Sunday, according to local reports.
Born in Cairo on July 16, 1931, Shaaban graduated from the Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts, where he studied acting.
He began his career on the stages of theatre before attracting the attention of directors of films and television series, who cast him in important roles starting the 1960s. Meanwhile, he also worked in numerous radio programmes and series.
Though he was more present in theatre at the beginning of his career, Shaaban kept returning to stages throughout the decades, starring in plays such as The Bride is Getting Mad (1980) by Samir El-Asfory, One Hundred Good Evenings (1989) by El-Said Radi, Conquest Gate (2014) by Fahmi El-Kholi, etc.
His major breakthrough in film came with There is a Man in Our House (1961), a classic film directed by Henry Barakat and starring the best known actors at the time: Omar Sharif, Rushdy Abaza, Zahret El-Ola, Hussein Riad, Zubaida Tharwat, and Hassan Youssef.
The following years and decades were marked by a collection of roles, as he was cast in numerous well known films, working with renowned Egyptian directors and sharing the screen with prominent stars.
His roles in the 1960s included films such as The Miracle (1962), Cairo (1963), Mother of the Bride (1963), For Men Only (1964), The Three Love Her (1965), My Wife, the Director General (1966), The Second Groom (1967), The Idol of the People (1967) starring Abdel-Halim Hafez and Shadia.
In the 1970s, Shaaban joined many other renowned actors on the screen in films such as An Incident of Honour (1971), starring Zubaida Tharwat and Shoukry Sarhan; and Guys in Storm with Nelly and Nour El-Sherif.
In the 1970s, he acted in Moments of Fear (1972), starring Farid Shawqi and Mervat Amin, as well as in other well-known films such as Sun and Fog (1973), A Woman With a Bad Reputation (1973) with Shams El-Baroudi and Mahmoud Yacine, Malatily Bathhouse (1973), The Bullet is Still in My Pocket (1974), to name but a few.
Shaaban started being more present in television series in the early 1970s, appearing in Wadha and Ibn Aglan (1975), Al-Zeer Salem (1977), Antara (1978), The Doughry Family (1980), Raafat Al-Haggan (1988), among numerous others.
It was in the 1990s and 2000s that his appearances increased in TV series, as he acted in Ahwal Shakhsiya (1992), Al-Hilali Biography (1997), A Woman from the Time of Love (1998), The Night They Killed the Mayor (2000), Al-Hakika w Al-Sarab (2003), Asmahan (2008), Heaven and Hell (2009)
His most recent roles include films Al-Haram Al-Rabea (2016) and Bard Al-Shatta (2015), both written and directed by Peter Mimi; and TV series, such as Illegitimate Child (2012), Mulberry Leaves (2015), etc.
In 2017, Shaaban announced his retirement.
Earlier this month the actor contracted COVID-19 and was hospitalised. Last week he was admitted to the intensive care unit at Al-Agouza hospital, however, his condition was deteriorating. He passed away on Sunday at the age of 89.
The artistic community expressed their great sorrow for losing one of the big icons of Egyptian theatre, cinema, and art in general.
Ashraf Zaki, the head of the actors syndicate and president of the Arts Academy wrote on his Instagram account: “Farewell my teacher, my friend, and my beloved.”
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