Sunday, January 18, 2015

'Lady of the Arab screen' dies at age 83

Faten Hamama tribute Dhahran Saudi Arabia blog
Yet another* icon of the Arab stage and screen has passed away. Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, who was well known for her film work in the 1940s and 1950s, died yesterday reports her son Tarek Sharif. Hamama had been hospitalized a few weeks earlier due to an illness.
Hamama started working in the movie industry before the age of 10, acting in romantic films as well as in those that advocated for women's rights and highlighted social injustices. She also acted alongside other Arab greats such as Youssef Chahine, Abdel Halim Hafez and her former husband, my mom's first crush, Omar Sharif.

Faten Hamama Omar Sharif Dhahran Saudi Arabia blog
Do you see the way that he's looking at her? I'm dying.

Born a Christian, Sharif converted to Islam just to be with her. Together they starred in the film River of Love, based on Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Unfortunately they divorced when he decided to launch his film career in Hollywood. Hamama went on to marry a doctor, Mohamed Abdel Wahab. She is also survived by her daughter Nadia, from a first marriage.

*I should really devote a whole post to how awesome Lebanese singer Sabah was. She died last November from an unspecified illness. I swear she was like the Arab Dolly Parton. In her words she said that she was "proud that I'm a village girl but I had a lot of ambition." She underwent plastic surgery, wore outrageous outfits and her signature blond wig well into her 80s, and she married nine times! She also starred in many Egyptian films.

Sabah tribute Dhahran Saudi Arabia blog

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