TV star Faten Hamama passed away on January 17, 2015 at the age of 84. Hamama was a film icon, known throughout the region, and was very popular for two decades, between the 1950s and 1970s. She was considered the major figure in Egypt’s golden age of cinema.
She starred in a number of films and TV shows which made her a celebrated pioneer in the Egyptian film industry, both as a woman and an indisputable talent who maintained her poise throughout her career.
Born in 1931 in the Egyptian delta city of Mansoura, she went on to star in nearly 100 films, and a number of popular TV shows. Due to her stardom, she was honored with the nickname “Lady of the Screen”.
“Hamama made a comeback during the 1990s with the TV show “Dameer Abla Hekmat” (The Conscience of Ms. Hekmat) and at the start of the millennium, when she starred in the television mini-series Wajh al-Qamar (Face of the Moon).
She was also well known for her marriage with another famous Egyptian movie star, the internationally renowned Omar Sharif. Sharif and Hamama married in 1955 and divorced in 1974. Sharif was her second marriage as she had wed Ezzeldine Zulficar in 1947 in a marriage that ended in 1954.
The cause of death has not yet been announced, but Hamama’s son Tarek Sharif has confirmed that his mother had passed away as a result of health problems. Hamama is survived by her son Tarek Sharif, daughter Nadia Zulficar, and third husband Mohammad Abdel Wahab Mahmoud.
We commemorate the death anniversary of Faten Hamama by presenting six facts you may not know about the late great actress:
1- Faten Hamama made her debut as an actress at the young age of seven, when she starred in “Youm Saeed” (Happy Day) alongside legendary singer Mohamed Abdel Wehab. She was named at that time “Egypt’s own Shirley Temple”.
2- The Top 100 Egyptian Films list compiled by the Supreme Council of Culture in Cairo’s cinema committee contains 8 movies of Faten Hamama.
3- Faten Hamama’s artistic career reached its peak in the 1950s that is why she was chosen to participate in an American movie called “Cairo” in 1963.
4- The love story of Faten Hamama and Omar Sharif started when they worked together in Youssef Chahine’s movie “Sra’a fe El Wady” (Struggle in the Valley). He converted to Islam to marry her but they divorced 20 years later.
5-She strongly supported the 1952 Revolution. Between 1966 and 1971, Faten Hamama lived outside of Egypt and when she moved back, she often selected roles that delivered a pro-democracy message.
6- She was named “Star of the Century” by the Egyptian Writers and Critics organization at the Alexandria International Film Festival in 2001.