Egyptian artists who passed away in 2012

Farah Montasser, Friday 28 Dec 2012

Ahram Online Arts and Culture remembers the human losses of the last year

Artists died

1 February 2012

Soheir El Barouny, age 75

Soheir El-Barouny was born on 5 December 1937. She was a noted comedian in Egyptian cinema. El-Barouny debuted as a rising young talent accompanying comedy giant Fouad El-Mohandess in theatre in the 1950s. Her career grew in El-Mohandess's theatre group and she made steady progress from the 1960s till the 1990s, appearing in Alashan Khater Eyounik (For Your Eyes) and Sharea Mohamed Ali (Mohamed Ali Street).

Aside from theatre, El-Barouny also played major roles in cinema as of the 1960s and 1970s including 30 Youm Fel Segn (30 Days in Prison), Adwaa El-Madina (The Lights of the City), and adaptations of Naguib Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy Kasr El-Shoq (Palace of Desire) and Bein El-Kasreen (Palace Walk). By the end of the 1990s and up until her death, El-Barouny focused on television. Among her famous roles are Lan Aish fil Gelbab Aby (I Will Not Live Under the Influence of My Father), Esabet Baba we Mama (Papa and Mama's Mob), Shahed Esbat (Bear Witness), and Karima Karima (The Generous Karima). Her last appearance was in Ferqet Nagi Attallah (Nagi Attallah's Gang) in 2012.

El- Barouny died on 1 February 2012 aged 75, after a long battle with illness.


9 April 2012

Fouad Khalil, age 72

Fouad Khalil was born on 19 July 1940 and debuted as a young actor, aged seven, founding his own theatre group among friends, according to Al-Arabiya. Khalil studied dentistry and graduated from Cairo University in 1961; however, his acting career debuted in 1968 joining Abdel Moneim Madbouli's theatre group.

Known for his sense of humour, Khalil was famous for highly esteemed minor roles alongside major stars in Egypt and the Middle East. Khalil is known for a number of significant comic roles including the film Saye'e Bahr (The Stud), co-starring with Ahmed Helmi in 2004, which was his last appearance in cinema due to deteriorating health. Khalil’s acting career includes over 150 films, plays and TV series.

On 9 April, Khalil lost his eight-year battle with quadriplegia aged 72. 


24 July 2012

Youssef Dawood, age 74

Youssef Guirguis Salib, known as Youssef Dawood, was born on 10 March 1938 in Alexandria and earned his degree in engineering in 1960. He worked in that field until 1985, when he became a dedicated actor.

Dawood's acting career includes over 40 plays, television series and films. Most notable are the plays El-Wad Sayed El-Shaghal (Sayed The Servant), El-Zaeem (The Leader), the films Toyour El-Zalam (Birds of the Darkness), El-Nemr Wal Ontha (The Tiger and the Female), Karakoon Fil Sharea (Caravan in the Street) and Omaret Yaqubian (Yacoubian Building) - all with comedy superstar Adel Imam; and the iconic television series Yawmeyat Wanis (Wanis' Diary) with Mohamed Sobhi. He received numerous awards in cinema and theatre, the last of which was the award of the Catholic Centre for Cinema. 

Dawood passed away on 24 July at the age of 74 after spending less than a week in hospital due to a sudden decline in health.


17 May 2012

Warda, age 72

The Algerian singer Warda was born on 22 July 1938. At an early age, in France, Warda was influenced by the iconic singers Om Kalthom, Mohamed Abdel Wahab, Abdel Halim Hafez and Asmahan. Later on, her repertoire incorporated original songs written by her mentor, Sadeq Thuraya, as well as compositions by Tunisian composer and poet, Mohamed Jamoussi (1910-1982). As a teenager, in support of her father's homeland, Warda sang patriotic songs such as Ya Habibi Ya Mudjahid (Oh Friend, Oh Fighter), Beladi Ya Beladi (Oh My Country), among others.

Her career took off after she came to Egypt in 1960 to star in a musical film. In 1961, at the peak of pan-Arabism, President Gamal Abdel Nasser  invited Warda to join Watani Al-Akbar (My Great Homeland), a production by Mohamed Abdel Wahab dedicated to the "Arab homeland."

Warda's repertoire includes over 300 songs; she sold over 100 million albums in the Arab world and beyond, Batwaness Bik (You Keep me Company) and Harramt Ahebbak (I Gave up Loving You) being the best-selling albums - with the title songs as her everlasting hits. Warda also starred in a number of Egyptian films and soap operas. Her best known soap opera is Rose Leaves and her top film was My Story with Time.

Warda died on 17 May 2012 in Cairo, aged 72, after suffering a cardiac arrest.


5 August 2012

Mohamed Nouh, age 75

Singer Mohamed Nouh was born in Tanta on 8 January 1937. He graduated from the Faculty of Commerce at the University of Alexandria. Pursuing his passion for music, Nouh received a diploma from the Institute of Arabic Music then and went on to study musical composition at Stanford University in the US.

Nouh started in the late 1960s as an actor and singer. He mastered oud, piano and violin. His music career grew largely in 1973 with his music group Al-Nahar. Nouh's most famous song of that period, especially following the Egyptian-Israeli War of 1973, is Sheddi Helek ya Balad (Pull Yourself Together, Country), a song that is constantly played at Tahrir Square during ongoing sit-ins.

Nouh worked with a number of Arab and Egyptian singers including Nagah Salam, Ali El Haggar, Mohamed Tharwat, and Afaf Radi. Together they collaborated on the soundtrack of the film The Holy Family. Nouh retired in the early 1990s but continued as a music professor at the Egyptian Cinema Institute and received many awards from the Supreme Council of Culture for his contributions.

Nouh died on 5 August at the age of 75 after years of ill health.


22 August 2012

Amal Kenawy, age 38

The young visual artist Amal Kenawy created bold and controversial works tackling political and societal issues using installation art, sculpture and video. Kenawy tackled themes of conformity, liberation and identity. She recreated universal truths through a visual language transcending physical and cultural barriers.

The artist was born in Cairo in 1974, and stumbled on her passion for art in childhood. She studied fashion design, film and fine art, and displayed her work across the globe at exhibitions and film festivals. Kenawy was previously married to artist Shady El-Noshokaty; she leaves behind their 11-year-old son Yassin.

Kenawy lost her battle with cancer, leaving her peers in shock and sadness with a portfolio of groundbreaking art.


13 September 2012

Ismail Abdel Hafez, age 71

Director Ismail Abdel Hafez is widely considered one of the most iconic directors of the Egyptian television drama, especially in his collaborations with the late screenwriter Osama Anwar Okasha as of the late 1960s. Abdel Hafez was born on 15 March 1941 in Kafr El-Sheikh and graduated from Ein Shams University in 1963 with a bachelor in Eastern literature. He worked as assistant director in a children's television programme in 1963, on the founding of the Radio and Television Union.

Abdel Hafez's legacy boasts over 25 television series, including Layali El-Helmeya (Helmeya Nights), Ahalina (Our Families), Gomhoreyet Zefta (The Republic of Zefta), El-Ayla (The Family), El-Bar El-Gharbi (The West Bank), Khalti Safia wel Deir (Aunt Safia and The Monestery), to name but a few.

Abel Hafez died on 13 September 2012 in Paris after a brief struggle with illness; he was buried in Cairo.


28 September 2012

Ahmed Ramzi, age 82

Ahmed Ramzy was born on 23 March 1930 in Alexandria. He graduated from the Faculty of Commerce and was introduced to cinema by his dear friend the international actor Omar Sharif. Director Youssef Chahine cast Ramzy in his film Seraa Fel Wadi (Struggle in the Valley) in 1954, starring Sharif. In 1955, director Helmi Halim gave him the lead role in Ayamna El Helwa (Our Happy Days), co-starring Sharif and Abdel Halim Hafez. Ramzy became one of Egypt’s most prominent actors in the 1950s through the early 70s.

Ramzy was known for his womaniser and playboy roles. His last acting appearance came in 2007 when he featured in a television series called Hanan Wa Hanin (Tenderness and Nostalgia), together with Omar Sharif again. His most famous movies are Sira’ Al-Mina (Dark Waters) in 1956 and Thartharah fawqa al-Nil (Adrift on the Nile) in 1971, which he described as his favourite film.

 Ramzy also starred in several comedies, including two famous ones with Ismail Yassine in the late 1950s. He took part in a dozen films with legendary actresses Soad Hosny and Faten Hamama.

Ramzy lost his balance and fell in his home on the North Coast in Alexandria and shortly afterwards was pronounced dead on 28 September at age 82.


19 October 2012

Hanaa Abdel Fattah, age 68

Born in December 1944, Hanaa Metwaly – better known as Hanaa Abdel-Fattah – began acting at the age of eight, landing a number of roles in both radio and film. In 1958, at the age of 14, he played a prominent part in Youssef Chahine's celebrated Bab Al-Hadid ('The Iron Gate').

Following his studies in Egypt in the early 1970s, Metwaly went on to earn his PhD in theatre theory from Warsaw University, along with studies at the Theatre Academy in Warsaw, in the theatre direction department. He was actively involved in Polish theatrical and intellectual circles, directing a number of plays in Warsaw and other European capitals. In 1986, in Poland, his production of Carlo Goldoni's The Servant of Two Masters received the audience’s first prize.

He returned to Egypt in the 1990s, where he began teaching at Cairo's Higher Institute of Theatrical Arts. In the early 2000s, he became head of the institute's acting and directing department. Meanwhile, he continued to regularly direct theatre productions in both Egypt and Poland.

In 2009, his adaptation of a work by Egyptian playwright Alfred Farag at the Dramatic Theatre in Bialystok was very well received. He was awarded the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Culture Award for his work "promoting Polish culture internationally". Metwaly's other awards include the Polish Literary Syndicate Prize, the International Theatre Institute Award, and the Gloria Artis by the Polish Ministry of Culture in 2012.

Metwaly lost his long battle with cancer on19 October at the age of 68.


8 December 2012

Ammar El-Sherei, age 64

El-Sherei was born blind on 16 April 1948 in the village of Samalot, Upper Egypt. He studied music at school and attended a special-needs programme for the blind. He graduated from the University of Ain Shams's English department in 1970.

As composer, songwriter and performer, El-Sherei played the piano, harp, accordion and oud, focusing on the latter in recent years. He composed over 150 pieces for television and radio, including the soundtrack to the famous TV series Raafat El-Hagan, starring Mahmoud Abdel Aziz. He also composed music for the theatre during the 1980s. In 1975, during a casual event, Maha Sabry, actress and singer, heard Al-Sherei sing Emsek Al-Khashab (Touch Wood) and immediately grew interested in the song. In no time the song, popularised by Sabry, brought Al-Sherei into the limelight. In the following decades, he wrote music for over 50 films and 120 television series, working with many renowned Egyptian directors. His scores were awarded numerous prestigious Arab and international awards. He also composed over 150 songs for most of the major music stars of the Arab world, including Warda, Latifa and Ali El-Haggar.

He was due to complete sound tracks for a number of television series when his health deteriorated and was he pronounced dead of heart failure on 8 December after a long battle with illness.

Short link: