Saturday,22 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1279, (21 - 27 January 2016)
Saturday,22 September, 2018
Issue 1279, (21 - 27 January 2016)

Ahram Weekly

Obituary: The thespian funerals

Obituary:The thespian funerals
Obituary:The thespian funerals
Al-Ahram Weekly

Hamdi Ahmed (1933-2016)

Major actor Hamdi Ahmed passed away at the age of 82 last week. Born on 9 November 1933 in Sohag, Upper Egypt, Ahmed was one of the earliest figures to join national television following his graduation from the Theatrical Arts Institute in 1961, a year after Egyptian television was founded. It was through the television theatre troupes that he started his career in 1961-62.

In 1966 Ahmed appeared in a variety of plays and films that qualified him for acting figure of the year, which paved the way for leading filmmaker Salah Abu-Seif to cast him in his adaptation of Naguib Mahfouz’s Al-Qahira 30 (Cairo 30), Al-Qahira Al-Gedida (The New Cairo, 1967). Playing Mahgoub Abdel-Dayem, the clerk who agrees to marry a powerful man’s mistress to provide a cover for their illicit meetings – his landmark role – he received an Arab League award for it.

Ahmed collaborated with Abu-Seif again in 1986, when he played the peasant in Al-Bidaya (The Beginning). He also played rominent roles in Youssef Chahine’s The Land (1970), The Bird (1972) and The Sixth Day (1986). One of Ahmed’s best celebrated contributions to the silver screen was Mohamed Radi’s Abnaa Al-Samt (Sons of Silence, 1974), tackling the social and psychological challenges facing Egyptian soldiers after the 1967 war, during the War of Attrition. He also played the grandfather in  Radwan Al-Kashef’s Date Wine (1999).

Ahmed was a political activist, starting very early in life. He was arrested at a student protest against the British occupation in 1949. He was known for his nationalist leftist ideas, which led him to join the Socialist Labour party in opposition to President Anwar Sadat. In 1979 he joined parliament, representing Boulak. He went on writing political articles in opposition newspapers like Al-Ahali and Al-Ahrar.

Ahmed leaves behind a legacy of 35 plays, 25 films, 30 television films and 89 television series – besides his work for the radio.

Mamdouh Abdel-Alim (1956-2016)

One of Egypt’s best loved actors, Mamdouh Abdel-Alim passed away following a heart attack last week, at the age of 60. According to the statement of the head of the Actors’ Syndicate Ashraf Zaki, Abdel-Alim was at the gym when it happened.

Abdel-Alim was born on 10 June 1956 in Cairo and graduated from the Faculty of Economics and Political Science in 1980. He started his career as a child actor, participating in children’s radio and television programmes with directors Inaam Mohamed Ali and Nour Al-Demerdash and notably with actress Karima Mukhtar in the TV series Al-Ganna Al-Azraa (The Virgin Heaven).

His real start as an adult actor was his appearance in the TV series Assila with Mukhtar in 1980, followed by his remarkable cinematic debut in Hussein Kamal’s  Al-Azraa wal Shaar Al-Abyad (The Virgin and White Hair, 1983), in which he starred alongside Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz, Nabila Ebeid and Sherihan.

One of Abdel-Alim’s landmark roles was that of Ali in the popular Ramadan TV series Layali Al-Helmiya (The Nights of Helmiya: five seasons, 1987-1995), written by Osama Anwar Okasha and directed by Ismail Abdel-Hafez. Abdel-Alim had reportedly considered taking part in a sixth season being discussed only recently. Layali Al-Helmiya was a huge hit, presenting a spectrum of social types and analysing the historical psyche, with a cast that included Yehia Al-Fakharani, Mohsena Tawfik, Salah Al-Saadani, Safiya Al-Emari, Elham Shahine, Hisham Selim, Abla Kamel and many other stars.

Abdel-Alim played remarkable television roles over the years, in The Night of Fatma’s Arrest (1982), Akho Al-Banat (The Brother of the Girls, 1984), the adaptation of Bahaa Taher’s Aunt Safiya and the Monastery (1994), Zefta Republic (1998) and All White (2003). His extraordinary role as Rafie Bey in Magdi Abu-Emera’s Al-Dou Al-Sharid (The Drifting Light, 1998), in which he starred opposite Samiha Ayoub, Youssef Shaaban, Rania Farid Shawki, Mohamed Riyad and Mona Zaki. His last television appearance was in Mohamed Bakir’s Al-Sayda Al-Oula (The First Lady, 2014) opposite Ghada Abdel-Razek.

Abdel-Alim’s many film roles included Hossameddin Mustafa’s Naguib Mahfouz adaptation Al-Harafish (1986) with Mahmoud Yassin, Laila Elwi, Salah Kabil as well as Atef Al-Tayeb’s Al-Barie’ (The Innocent) with the late Ahmed Zaki, Mahmoud Abdel-Aziz, Gamil Rateb, Elham Shahine and Salah Kabil. In 1988 he was the star of Nader Galal’s Batal Men Waraa (Paper Hero) with Ahmed Bedeir and Athar Al-Hakim. He also made his mark on Samaa Hoss (Silence, 1991), Al-Hob fi Taba (Love in Taba, 1992), Romantica (1996) and many others.

Abdel-Alim was married to TV presenter Shafki Al-Monayeri.

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