Remembering Abdel-Moneim Madbouly on his 18th death anniversary

Ashraf Gharib, Tuesday 9 Jul 2024

Egypt's iconic actor and "the knight of comedy", Abdel-Moneim Madbouly died on 9 July 2006, leaving a legacy of over 30 films and a distinct style of theatrical acting

Abdel-Moneim Madbouly

Abdel-Moneim Madbouly was born in Bab El-Shereya, a popular quarter in the heart of Cairo, on 21 December 1921.

Since preparatory school, the young boy began to sing on festive occasions for both his family and neighbourhood and act in school activities to the extent that it harmed his progress as a student. Soon, his family decided to enrol him in the School of Applied Arts to study sculpture and decor.

Madbouly remained a teacher in the establishment, even after graduating from the Higher Institute for Acting and becoming a well-known actor joining a number of theatre companies, such as the Free Theatre, the Modern Theatre, and the Television Theatre Company in the 1960s.

Although he has spent his entire life in the theatre as an actor, playwright, translator, director and owner of many theatre companies, his popularity and artistic stardom, especially among modern generations, was due to the roles he played in cinema and television.

He became a luminary in Egyptian theatre in the second half of the 20th century and had a unique comedy style that was rendered a school for generations to come. Most people only called him "Baba Abdou," a famous character he played in the television series My Dear Sons, Thank You.

Madbouly began his cinematic career as a non-speaking extra. Then he began to play a speaking extra in a number of roles, the most prominent of which was Mutual Love (1951) directed by Youssef Maalouf.

He acted in more than 70 films, the last of which was I Want to Divorce My Husband (2005), released a year before his death on 9 July 2006. He was 85 years old.

Among hia known roles are those in films such as A Little Bit of Torment (1969) directed by Salah Abu-Seif, The Mirror (1970) by Ahmed Diaeddin, Some live Twice (1971) by Kamal Attia, What Chaos (1975) in which he sang his famous song titled When Time was Humane, Legs in the Mud (1976) by Atef Salem,  A Smile of Sad Eyes (1987) by Nasser Hussein, Love in the Prison Cell (1983) directed by Mohammed Fadel, In We are the Bus People (1979), by Hussein Kamal, 

He also played in some important TV series, such as My Dear Sons, Thank You, Goodbye Prime of Life, The Family, and No, My Dear Daughter.

Although his final roles were more like guest appearances, they were very influential in their dramatic context for exuding noble human emotion in films such as The Woman and the Cleaver (1996) directed by Saeed Marzouk, the Lovers (2001) by Nour El-Sherif, I Want My Share (2003) by Ahmed Nader Galal, and his last film, I Want to Divorce My Husband (2005) by Ahmed Awwad.

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