Middle East

Egypt film icon Faten Hamama dies, aged 83

Egyptian actress Faten Hamama posing for a picture in Beirut Image copyright AFP
Image caption Faten Hamama starred in almost 100 films from the 1940s to the 1970s

Faten Hamama, one of Egypt's best-known actresses, has died, aged 83.

An Arab film icon, she was only a child when she made her screen debut. She went on to appear in almost 100 films.

Ms Hamama was the former wife of Egyptian actor Omar Sharif. They were married for nearly 20 years and appeared in many films together in the 1950s.

She died on Saturday after health problems, according to Egypt's official news agency Mena.

Her son Tarek Sharif confirmed that she had passed away but did not give a cause of death.

Born in 1931, Ms Hamama was known as the "Lady of the Arabic Screen" and was a star of the golden age of Egyptian cinema.

Her career was at its peak in the 1950s when she met fellow actor Omar Sharif.

Born a Christian, he converted to Islam to marry Ms Hamama and described her as the only love of his life, reports the AFP news agency.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Ms Hamama was a star of Egypt's golden age of cinema in the 1950s
Image copyright AFP/Getty
Image caption She was married to Omar Sharif for nearly 20 years

After their marriage they went on to star in many films together, including the 1961 film River of Love which was based on the Russian classic Anna Karenina.

The couple divorced in 1974.

Ms Hamama also starred in romantic films with the Arab singer Abdel Halim Hafez.

She appeared in films advocating women's rights and condemning social injustices, reported AFP.

Ms Hamama is survived by her son Tarek Sharif, her daughter Nadia Zulficar, and third husband Mohammad Abdel Wahab Mahmoud.

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