Egypt's iconic actor Nour El-Sherif leaves legacy spanning 4 decades

Published August 13th, 2015 - 08:46 GMT
Nour el Sherif died on Wednesday but he left a legacy spanning forty years in the acting world. (
Nour el Sherif died on Wednesday but he left a legacy spanning forty years in the acting world. (

Egyptian film and television actor Nour El-Sherif died on Tuesday at the age of 70 after a long struggle with illness, his longtime friend actor Sameh El-Sereity told state news agency, MENA.

El-Sherif, who was born on 28 April 1946 starred in tens of films and TV shows over the course of more than four decades, earning numerous awards.

He was laid to rest on Wednesday in a funeral ceremony out of Masjid Al-Shorta in the 6th of October city.

El-Sherif was one of Egypt's most prominent actors, with an impressive list of cinema, television and theater productions.

He can boast about having around 200 films, 17 plays and more than 20 television series to his name.

His career spans across four decades, beginning with his first screen appearance in 1967 with Kasr El-Shawk (Palace of Desire) by Hassan Imam, and concluding in 2014 with Cairo Time directed by Amir Ramsis. 

Katebat El-Adam
Actors Mamdouh Abdel Aliem, Nour El-Sherif, Maali Zayed and Shawki Shamekh are shown in a scene from the film "Katebat El-Adam" 1989 (Photo: Al-Ahram)

Born Mohamed Gaber Abdallah in Cairo’s Sayeda Zeinab neighborhood, El-Sherif earned a diploma from the Higher Institute of Theatrical Studies.

While in rehearsals for a Romeo and Juliet production, actor Adel Imam discovered him and nominated him to Hassan Imam, who cast him in Kasr El-Shawk.

Impressing both critics and cinema lovers, El-Sherif has an oeuvre of romantic and tragic roles -- all skillfully performed -- with many of them memorable classics.

Seven of his award-winning movies are on IMDB's website list for the best 100 Arabic movies of all time.

Cairo International Film Festival
Nour El-Sherif receives an award at Cairo International Film Festival (Photo: Al-Ahram)

The list includes Said Marzouk’s Zawgaty Wal Kalb (My Wife and The Dog, 1971), Ali Bardakhan’s Al-Karnak (The Temple, 1975), Atef El-Tayeb’s Sawaa’ Al-Otobees (The Bus Driver, 1982), which earned him a recognition at New Delhi Cinema Festival, Ali Abdelkhaleq’s Al Aar (Disgrace, 1982), and Youssef Chahine’s Hadouta Masreya (Egyptian Story, 1982).

Abnaa’ El Samt (Sons of Silence) and Ahl El Qemma (People on Top) also made the list.

Some of El-Sherif’s other important works include Al-Maseer (Destiny, 1997) in which he played the 12th century Islamic philosopher Averroes, and Nagui Al-Ali, a movie based on the life of the important Palestinian cartoonist.

His notable works on television include the 1996 Ramadan series Lan A’eesh fi Gilbab Aby, the 2001 series A’elat El-Hagg Metwali, El Daly (2007- 2011) and Al Ragol Al-Akhar.

El-Sherif also took to directing for stage and screen. His debut was the play Mohakmet Al-Kahin (Trial of a Priest) that was performed at Hanager Theatre.

He also later directed Operet Kefah Teiba (The Struggle of Thebes).

In 2001 he directed his first film, Al-Asheqan (The Lovers).

Many awards adorn El-Sherif’s career.

Nour El-Sherif and actress Rojina in the movie 'El-Maseer' (Destiny) 1997 (Photo: Al-Ahram)

In 2014 at the Dubai International Film Festival (DIFF) he won a Lifetime Achievement Award, which honours the world's greatest film industry actors, writers, directors and producers. It was awarded to him for his work on more than 100 notable films.

Previous Egyptian recipients of this award include the elite of Egyptian cinema- Omar Sharif, Faten Hamamah, Adel Imam, Jameel Rateb, Sabah, Daoud Abdel Sayed, Youssef Chahine, and Mahmoud Abdel Aziz.

In 2007 El-Sherif received a lifetime achievement award from the Egyptian Writers and Critics Association at the Alexandria International Film Festival.

The 1977 film Qetta Ala Nar (adapted from Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof) and directed by Samir Seif, earned El-Sherif three best lead actor awards in the same year.

El-Sherif married the Egyptian film star Poussi in 1972. They co-starred in several movies together and became one of Egypt's most famous celebrity couples.

The couple eventually divorced in 2006 and re-married in 2015. They have two daughters together, both working in the film industry, one a film director and the other an actress.

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