Legendary Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, known as the “Lady of the Screen”, has died at the age of 83, according to reports. Born in the delta city of Mansoura, Hamama rose to prominence during Egypt’s “Hollywood on the Nile” golden age in the 1950’s when it was the world’s third largest film industry, behind only Hollywood and Bollywood.
Having made her screen debut at the age of 7 opposite Egyptian music icon Mohamed Abdel Wahab in Happy Day, Hamama emerged to become Egypt’s most beloved leading lady with starring roles in the likes of Youssef Chahine’s 1954 classic Struggle in the Valley opposite Omar Sharif. One year later Hamama and Sharif married and cemented their position as Egyptian cinema’s golden couple. The couple had a son before divorcing almost 20 years later.
Other notable titles include Henry Barakat’s Appointment With Love and The Open Door; Kamal El-Sheikh’s Last Night ; Ezzeddine Zulficar’s The River of Love and Salah Abu Seif’s The Sun Will Never Set. In total she appeared in over 100 films. She also starred in the 1963 English film Cairo, opposite George Sanders.
In 2001 she was voted Star of the Century at the 2001 Alexandria International Film Festival.
She was well known for her support of women’s rights and became increasingly politically outspoken against what she saw as encroaching autocracy in Egyptian society.