CAIRO: Egyptians bid farewell Sunday to cinema icon Faten Hamama, who died at 84 Saturday after a sudden ailment, recalling her unforgettable films in which she often presented an oppressed Egyptian woman who broke society taboos.
Hamama was hospitalized three weeks ago and transported to Dar al-Fouad hospital in 6th of October hospital, and was accompanied by her third husband Abdel-Wahab. She was released soon after, and seemed to recover, but she fell ill suddenly Saturday and passed away in her house.
Hamama was born on May 27, 1931 in the Delta governorate of Mansoura and married Egyptian director Izz al-Din Zulfikar in 1947, with whom she had her daughter Nadia. In 1954 she and Zulfikar were divorced. She married Omar Sherif in 1955, and they had a son, Tariq. She and Sherif divorced in 1974.
(Scene of Al-Nahr al-Khaled film (1960) with her husband Omar Sherif)
Hamama starred in more than 100 films, starting her cinema career when she was 9 years old in “Happy Day” film with famous singer and actor Mohamed Abdel Wahab in 1940. After that, she took small roles in several movies and graduated from the Acting Institute in 1947, a year after she played a main character in a movie with the well-known actor Youssef Wahbi in “Mercy Angel” film (1946).
(The 9-year-old Hamama in her first film with the famous singer Mohamed Abdel-Wahab)
She worked on her last film, “Land of Dreams,” in 1993. She continued acting in three television series including: Damir Abla Hekmat (Mrs. Hekmat’s conscience), “I Want That Man,” and “Face of The Moon.” Her last work was in 2000.
Hamama received her first award in 1951, for her role in the film “I’m The Past” (Ana al-Madi); the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) awarded Hamama with their Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009. She was chosen also as the Star of the Century by the Egyptian Writers and Critics Organization in 2001. Over the course of her career, Hamama received more than 20 International, Arab and Egyptian awards.
Former interim President Adly Mansour honored her in the Actors’ Day in March 2014. President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi also honored her during his meeting with the Egyptian actors and actresses in May 2014.
Seven films of her works were chosen by the High Council of the Culture in Cairo among the top 100 Egyptian movies, al-Masry al-Youm reported. The films include: “The Nightingale’s Prayer,” “I Want A Solution,” “Conflict In The Valley,” and “Our Beautiful Days.”
(A theme scene of The Nightingale’s Prayer)
“Egypt and the Arab world lost a creative artistic value… the deceased (actress) who added happiness to the hearts of the masses of Egyptians and Arabs citizens, through her creative works, will be an icon an authentic symbol of Egyptian art and its morals,” the Egyptian Presidential office announced following news of her passing.
Egyptian and Arab celebrities also mourned her death on their social media accounts; Lebanese singer Ragheb Alama tweeted “It’s actually very sad news about the death of the great Faten Hamama, the actress whom I adored since junior high. Rest in Peace.”
“Farewell Lady of the Arab Screen, Faten Hamama…career enriched with modesty, respect and giving… Rest in Peace,” posted the Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram. Egyptian singer and actor Samo Zein posted a photo of her saying “farewell, the most beautiful lady.”
Actress Nadia Lotfy wrote “the princess of the heart has gone.”
The Egyptian Minister of Culture announced a two-day mourning period in the ministry for her death.
Arab League Secretary General Nabil Al-Araby offered condolences to Hamama’s family and all Egyptians , saying “she participating in upgrading the Arab awareness.”
(The last public appearance of Hamama when President Sisi welcomed her during his meeting with the Egyptian actors and actress)
The funeral will be held at al-Hosary Mosque in 6th of October city after noon prayers, said Hamama’s family in a statement.
Hamama’s son, Tareq Omal al-Sherif, arrives in Cairo from Paris Sunday to attend the funeral ceremony of his mother. While her daughter, Nadia Zulfikar, is scheduled to come from London for the funeral.
Moroccan ambassador to Egypt Mohamed Saad al-Alamy arrived in Cairo Sunday to participate in the funeral, offering condolences over her death, a Moroccan diplomat who was receiving the ambassador in Cairo International Airport told Youm7.
(Hamama’s coffin arrives at al-Hosray mosque)