Tribute To Actor Mamdouh Abdel-Aleem



Fri, 12 Feb 2016 - 03:24 GMT


Fri, 12 Feb 2016 - 03:24 GMT

Egyptian audiences mourn the loss of beloved actor Mamdouh Abdel-Aleem, who created many memorable characters on the screen before his sudden death.

by Sherif Awad

We all think the celebrities we love will be immortal, their onscreen characters living forever in our hearts and minds. While the international media was busy mourning the loss of rock star David Bowie, our Egyptian and Arab countries were still reeling from shock at the sudden death of TV star Mamdouh Abdel-Aleem, who collapsed after a routine workout.

Abdel-Aleem is best known for his role as Aly El-Badry in the epic TV drama Layali El-Helmeya, written by Osama Anwar Okasha and premiered some three decades ago. The Ramadan series, with its all-star cast, lavish production and signature musical score, is possibly the mostwatched Arabic television series of all time. Rapt audiences followed El-Badry’s story across four consecutive seasons as the Pasha’s poor son struggled with class issues, political movements and a complicated love story with Zohra (played first by Athar El-Hakeem and then by Elham Shahin).

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But few know that Abdel-Aleem actually started his career as a child actor early in 1969 with director Nour El-Demerdash in the TV series Virgin Paradise then going on to star in the children’s series Waleed and Randa in Space. Abdel-Aleem, who became a regular face on TV soaps and Egyptian films starting from the 1980s, did not actually study acting, deciding instead to pursue an academic degree in economics before kickstarting his career as a professional actor.

He was co-star in many TV series that had a great impact on Egyptian and Arab viewers when television in Egypt meant two VHF options: Channel 5 and Channel 9. Among them were Siam Siam along with Yehia El-Fakharany and Adeeb with Nour El-Sherif in the 1980s, two Ramadan series written and directed by the greats of that era. The usually serious actor wooed audiences with his comic turn in A Paper Hero and won critical acclaim for his performances in other films like Al-Mawardy Coffeshop, Omar’s Journey and The Maid. For the latter, he was awarded one of his first statuettes, the Best Actor from the Alexandria Film Festival for Mediterranean Countries.

But Abdel-Aleem will always be remembered as Aly El-Badry, and viewers were saddened at news of his death that he will not be returning for the followup, announced at the end of 2015. Screenwriter Ayman Bahgat Qammar was banking on Abdel-Aleem’s participation as Aly El-Badry, but the makers of the new season decided to kill his character off in tribute to the actor. The new series will be dedicated to Abdel-Aleem.



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