Egyptian veteran actor and director Adel Hashim dies at 81

Eslam Omar , Tuesday 16 Mar 2021

'The applause of the great Egyptian audiences is enough of an honour for me,' the late artist stated a month before his death

Adel Hashim

Egyptian veteran actor and director Adel Hashim, who performed in dozens of important films, theatre plays, and TV series passed away late Monday at the age of 81.

Alongside many celebrities and artistic bodies, the Actors Syndicate has shared their condolences “for the loss of the great artist” whose funeral ceremony will be held Tuesday afternoon from Al-Sayeda Zainab, where he was born.

Tens of the artist’s fans have mourned the passing of the actor on social media.

“I am proud of what I introduced, although it was a few. The applause of the great Egyptian audiences is enough of an honour for me,” the multi-skilled example of an intellectual artist stated last month in a long interview with a local TV channel that was probably his last.

Adel Hashim
Ra'afat El-Haggan is among Adel Hashim's important TV roles

Roles in classics

The deep-voiced standard-Arabic fluent actor was a favorite choice for the 80s and 90s TV crews in historic and Islamic TV drama like Mohamed Rasoul Allah, Bawabet Al-Halawani, Al-Qada’a Fil Islam, Qesset Madina, Al-Abtaal, Al-Arraf, Al-Mar’ah Fil Islam, Ibh Hazm, Al-Tha’lab, and his unforgettable role in Ra’fat El-Haggan.

He directed a large number of theatre plays, including Yusuf Idris’ El-Bahlawan (1988)

Al-Rajel Elle Ba’aa Al-Shams (1983), Nasser 56 (1996), Afreet Al-Nahar (1997), 131 Ashghal (1993), Harb Atalia (2005), and Vertigo (2012) were among his cinema roles, alongside theater plays like El-Sebensa, Al-Fata Mahran, El-Mahrousa, Al-Farafir, Magnoun Laila, and the private sector’s classic musical Mohamed Ali Street with Farid Shawky and Sharihan, to name but a few.

The multi-awarded artist was among the early generations of Arabic language presenters of the France and Monte Carlo radio stations.

Adel Hashim
Adel Hashim in the opening of Yusuf Idris' classic 'Al-Farafir', directed by Karam Motawie in the early 60s

Early Life and Inspiration

Born on 7 October 1940 in Al-Nasereya St, Al-Sayeda Zainab, Adel Hashem is the oldest son of an art loving family. His father, an employee in the culture ministry, loved music and poetry, while his mother was a good reader and appreciator to Arabic literature.

Some of the most iconic musicians of the time used to rehearse at his family house, including Karim Mahmoud, Mohamed Qandil, and Abdel-Ghany El-Sayed.

At Qasr Al-Dobara Middle School and Al-Saideya Secondary School, his talents crystallised early after interacting with artists like Mohamed El-Dafrawy.

He joined the faculty of law at Ain Shams University for two years where he spent most of his time in the university’s theatre, meeting legends like Sa’ad Ardash, Abdel-Rehim El-Zorqani, and Hamdi Gheith, before switching to the High Institution of Social Work and graduated in 1962, the same year he joined the Higher Institute of Theatre.

Adel Hashim
Adel Hashim in the final scene of 2000's cinema hit Belia W-Demagho El-Alia, starring Mohamed Henidy

National Theater since the 60s

He then joined the National Theatre, assisting iconic directors of the 60s era, acting beside the masters of the time. In one of his very early roles, he shared the stage with Hussein Reyad in Shakespeare’s Macbeth, directed by Nabil El-Alfy, who inspired generations of Egyptian theatre makers.

At the National Theatre, Hashim formed an avant-garde troupe alongside veterans Abdel-Ghaffar Auda and Nabil Mohieb, gaining much applause for his debut one-act play ‘Al-Danas’, translated by Professor Rashad Rushdi, featuring prominent actor Mahmoud Yassin and Hala Fakher.

As an actor in the 60s, he took part in TV series of the early days of Egyptian TV, such as Nour El-Demerdash’s Hareb Men El-Ayam, and Al-Dhaheya Wal Raheil —which is part of Abdel-Moneim El-Sawy’s saga ‘El-Sakia’.

13 years abroad in Algeria and France

Years later, Hashim replaced Karam Motawie in teaching theatre in Algeria when the latter returned to direct his masterpiece Che Guevara, starring Yassin after Hashim’s endorsement.

In Algeria, Adel Hashim supervised Arabic language training to a generation of the North African country’s radio and TV presenters.

Obsessed with Paris since boyhood and inspired by the path of great authors Taha Hussein and Tawfik El-Hakim, he studied the French language on his own in Algeria before moving to France and taking his PhD in dramaturgy before finally returning to Egypt.

Some of Adel Hashim Quotes

“Arts without culture value nothing.”

“My life dream was to present the role of Omar Ibn El-Khattab. I was lucky to fulfill this once on the radio. He was such a phenomenon, not like any other human being.”

“The artist’s message is to change the painful reality. Art is the only way capable of changing, or at least reducing, this pain. Real art, I mean, not commercial art”

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