Faten Hamama, known as the "Lady of the Arab Screen", died on 17 January, 2015 at the age of 83 due to health problems. She leaves behind a legacy of almost 100 films. Amassing great acclaim during her long acting career, Faten Hamama led an eventful life.

Here are 8 interesting facts about this iconic star:

Young Talent

Faten Hamama first appeared on the silver screen when she was 7 years old.


8 Appearances on the Top 100

Eight of the films she starred in are on the Top 100 Egyptian Films list compiled by the Supreme Council of Culture in Cairo’s cinema committee.

Eat Your Heart Out Shirley Temple

After acting in Happy Day (Yawm Said, 1939) directed by Mohammed Karim, she was lovingly named “Egypt’s own Shirley Temple”.

From Cairo to Hollywood

Faten Hamama’s career truly blossomed in the 1950s and she was a major figure in Egypt’s golden age of cinema. Her fame reached international heights and she appeared in a Hollywood production called Cairo in 1963.

The Power of Love

Omar Sharif was so smitten by her when they acted together in Youssef Chahine’s Struggle in the Valley that he converted to Islam to marry her. They divorced 20 years later, but during their marriage, their romantic passion can be seen in the numerous films they co-starred in. She had three marriages.

Star of the Century

At the 2001 Alexandria International Film Festival, the Egyptian Writers and Critics organization named her “Star of the Century”.

Socially Engaged and Outspoken

Faten Hamama was more than a charismatic actress. She was driven by causes. She supported the 1952 Revolution (which later prompted her to leave Egypt from 1966 to 1971). When she moved back, she often selected roles that delivered a political message or criticized Egypt's laws or had a pro-democracy edge.

An Unexpected Return

Her career seemingly came to an end in 1993. But in 2000 she returned to star in a mini-series and won the hearts of many yet again.