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Renowned Egyptian actress Amal Farid dies at 80 in Cairo

Iconic Egyptian actress Amal Farid died in a hospital in Cairo on Tuesday morning.

Farid was born on 12 February 1938 in Cairo’s Abbassiya district, and was a graduate of sociology.

Farid’s career was launched at the hands of Baba Sharo (Mohamed Mahmoud Shaaban) in the early 1950s, when she was hired to work on his children’s radio show.

Farid tried her luck in acting through a competition organised by Al-Geel (The Generation) magazine in the early 1950s.

She was recommended by writers Mostafa Amin and Anis Mansour to appear in her first movie Mawed Maa El-Saada (A Date with Happiness), with mega star Faten Hamama in 1954.

This was followed by many iconic roles in cinema alongside huge names including Abdel-Halim Hafez and Ahmed Ramzi.

Over her nearly two-decade career, Farid appeared in over 30 films including Layali El-Hob with Abdel-Halim. Her role was that of a romantic aristocratic girl, which fit her beautiful features and style.

The starlets for whom Abdel-Halim sang in movies were very few. Amal was among them, however, and she was envied by almost every girl in the Arab world for decades after Abdel-Halim sang Kefaya Norak Alaya in the film, where he and Farid danced in an iconic romantic scene.

Farid said in interviews that it was Abdel-Halim who asked for her by name to star alongside him in the movie.

Farid, who was known for her elegant and convincing acting style, worked most frequently alongside Ahmed Ramzy and the famous comedian Ismail Yassin.

She was fortunate to find directors who were able to utilise her talent in various roles. Such directors include Fateen Abdel-Wahab, Salah Abou Seif, Kamal El-Sheikh and Hussein Helmy El-Mohandes.

Farid was not always the main starlet in movies, but her presence was always felt and she always made her mark with her convincing performance.

Director Henry Barakat brought Farid out of the pure girl role in Banat El-Yom, where she embodied the personality of a spoiled, selfish girl. In the film, she provokes the hatred of the audience when she tries to spoil her sister’s love affair a nobleman played by Abdel-Halim, whom she accuses of trying to rape her out of jealousy.

The role was a surprise when the movie came out in 1957, but critics appreciated her performance and recognised the talented, capable and credible actress.

Farid’s filmography includes Banat El-Yom (1957), Seraa Maal Hayat (1957), Min Agl Emraa (1959), Ismail Yassin Fil Tayaran (1959), Banat Bahri (1961), Zekrayat El-Talmaza (1965), and Geziret El-Oshak (1968).

Farid gave up on her acting career in the late 1960s and moved to live with her husband in Moscow. She returned to Egypt a decade later and received a number of smaller roles, but her film career never picked up with the same strength.

Farid spent her final years in a home for the elderly in Cairo, and went through surgery earlier this year. Despite a reported improvement in health, her condition began to deteriorate over the past weeks and she passed away early on Tuesday in a Cairo hospital.