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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 19 September 2018

Madiha Yousri, an ambassador for Egyptian cinema, dies in Cairo 

'She represented Egyptian and Arab art and through her exceptional work we shall remember in the hearts of millions from the ocean to the Gulf'

Egyptian actress Madiha Yusri poses for a picture during a ceremony to honour her life-long achievements in Cairo, late September 25, 2008. AFP PHOTO/SAMEH SHERIF / AFP PHOTO / SAMEH SHERIF
Egyptian actress Madiha Yusri poses for a picture during a ceremony to honour her life-long achievements in Cairo, late September 25, 2008. AFP PHOTO/SAMEH SHERIF / AFP PHOTO / SAMEH SHERIF

Veteran Egyptian actress Madiha Yousri, born Hannouma Habeeb Khaleel, died Wednesday morning in a Cairo hospital. Her death follows a long illness which had kept her in hospital for several months. She was in her late nineties.

Yousri was born in Cairo to a Turkish father and a Sudanese mother, with sources claiming her birthdate ranging between 1919 and 1922. She studied fine art before landing her debut lead role in the 1940 movie Al-Hob Mamnou (Love Is Prohibited) alongside prominent Egyptian musician Mohamed Abdel–Wahab.

Yousri went on to become one of the few actresses who starred in movies with all four of Egypt’s leading musical stars of the 20th century - as well as Abdel-Wahab, she appeared in films alongside Abdel-Halim Hafez, Mohamed Fawzi and Farid Al-Atrash.

Yousri was married several times, including to the singer Muhammad Ameen, with whom she performed in Tahya al-settaat (Long Live Women). She was also married to the musician Muhammad Fawzy, with whom she formed a successful acting duet. A third husband reportedly made Yousri quit acting on religious grounds for a number of years prior to her return in the 1997 drama series Hawaanem Garden City.

She also starred in other classic Egyptian films including Al-Khataya (The Sins, 1962), Lahn El-Kholoud (Immortal Song, 1952) and Ard El-Ahlam (The Land of Dreams, 1956).

Egypt’s entertainment fans rallied on twitter to pay tribute to one of its most influential figures.

Actor Salah Abdalla tweeted: " And after death we will still see and hear them with hearts that tremble with love and esteem and respect. You are one of them my lady. In God's care, forgiveness and mercy."

Singer Shayma Helali praised her skills and class on screen. "Her work and roles will live forever in Egyptian and Arabic cinema."

The Dubai International Film Festival posted a tribute online and paid tribute to her expansive body of work. "She represented Egyptian and Arab art and through her exceptional work we shall remember in the hearts of millions from the ocean to the Gulf.”

Her funeral will be held at Al-Sayeda Nafisa Mosque in Cairo on Wednesday afternoon.

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