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Who was Mary Mounib? Legendary Egyptian actress honoured with a Google Doodle

'Egypt's funniest mother-in-law' is celebrated on her 114th birthday

Mary Mounib was a legendary actress in the Egyptian cinema scene. Google Doodle
Mary Mounib was a legendary actress in the Egyptian cinema scene. Google Doodle

Mary Mounib was known for many things – her lengthy career as an actress, breaking into a male-dominated industry, her comedy, playing the hilarious mother-in-law, and those dangly earrings. That's why, today, Google paid homage to the star with a doodle on what would have been her 114th birthday.

Mary Mounib in 'Hamati Malaak'.
Mary Mounib in 'Hamati Malaak'.

Mary Mounib's life

Mounib, whose real name was Marie Salim Habib Nasrallah, was born near Damascus to a Lebanese family on February 11, 1905. Soon after, she and her family moved to Cairo where she was educated and began her illustrious career in the city's thriving film industry.

To provide for her family, after they learnt of her father's death, Mounib started working as a dancer at the Rawd Al Faraj amusement park. She then got involved in local productions, as a young girl.

It wasn't until 1934 that she got her big break, when she joined the prominent Rihani Ensemble, founded by Egypt's top comedian, Naguib el-Rihani (who has also been the subject of a Google Doodle in the past).

While she worked on many plays, her debut on the silver screen came soon after when she was cast in a small role in Ibn El Shaab (Son of the People).

From bit parts to leading lady roles, Mounib achieved much success as an actress, particularly in comedy films such as Inshudat El Radio (Song of the Radio) in 1936 and Nashid Al Amal (The Chant of Hope) in 1937.

Mounib played the mother-in-law in many comedic films. 
Mounib played the mother-in-law in many comedic films. 

Her breakthrough role, however was in Determination (1939) by director Kamal Selim, in which she played a mother. She often played a mother's role, or more commonly the role of mother-in-law (she became known as the "funniest mother-in-law in Egypt"), as well as a sharp-tongued spinster. No matter what she turned her hand to, in the almost 200 roles she played throughout her five-decade career Mounib always commanded respect.

The Google Doodle

Today's Google Doodle was created by Cairo-based artist Shennawy and can be seen across Google in North Africa, the Levant and the Gulf.

The Google Doodle of Mary Mounib can be seen in North Africa, the Levant and the Gulf.
The Google Doodle of Mary Mounib can be seen in North Africa, the Levant and the Gulf.

People on Twitter were happy to see the tribute. "Google placed a smile on my face with this lovely #GoogleDoodle," wrote one user.

Elsewhere, Lyubov Orlova, a Russian movie star, is being celebrated on what would have been her 117th birthday.

February 11 also marks Russian movie star Lyubov Orlova's 117th birthday. Google Doodle
February 11 also marks Russian movie star Lyubov Orlova's 117th birthday. Google Doodle

Updated: February 11, 2019 11:23 AM

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