Family Name: Hosni Given Name: Soad Dates: 26 Jan 1942 - 21 Jun 2001 Gender: Female Country: Egypt
Selected Works: Film and Television Al-Ra'i wal Nisaa (The Shepherd and the Women) [Film, 1991] Ghurabaa (Strangers) [Film, 1973] Khalli Balak min Zouzou (Watch out for Zouzou) [Film, 1972] Laylat Al-Zifaf (Wedding Night) [Film, 1966] Gharamiyat Imraa (A Woman's Affairs) [Film, 1960] Hassan wa Na'ima (Hassan and Na'ima) [Film, 1959]
Film star Soad Hosni died on thursday, june 28th 2001 after falling from the 6th floor of a London building. She was born on January 26 th 1942. Soad was one of Egypt's best-loved actresses of the 1960s and '70s. "She was the symbol of the golden age of Egyptian cinema" said Egyptian actress, Athar Al Hakim, who only knew Hosni from her films, which also included co-productions with Iraqi, Lebanese and Soviet producers. Hosni, who starred in 75 Egyptian films through a career spanning from 1959 to 1991, lived in London for the last six years and underwent a treatment for a back problem. She was courted by Egypt's leading men, and married four of them. She first married film cameraman Salah Karim in the 1960s.
The actress began her career with the film "Hassan and Naima," an Egyptian version based on the Romeo and Juliet story of Shakespeare. Souad captured the hearts of film lovers with her dark sparkling eyes and her feminine shape and soon became a star in the Arab world, gaining the nickname of Egypt's "Cinderella." The heart-throb brought to life a wide variety of comic and serious characters as diverse as the belly-dancer in "Take care of Zouzou" which ran for more than 50 weeks in the early 1970s. Souad Hosni did a good job on the belly dancing part though. She married Zaki Fattin Abdel Wahhab in 1981 but never had any children. Linked by the press to Egypt's most famous singer of the 1960s, Abdel Halim Hafez, Hosni never married him but went on to wed film director Ali Badrakhan at the end of the decade. She later divorced Badrakhan after suffering from not been able to bear children and married Egyptian screenwriter Maher Awwad in the early 1990s. Check also: Khalli Balak min Zouzou (Watch out for Zouzou) of 1972; screenplay by Salah Jahine; directed by Hassan El-Imam; starring Hussein Fahmi and Tahiya Caryoca. Souad Hosni played the role of a belly dancer university student in Khali Balak men Zouzou [Take Care of Zouzou].
On 26th January 1942, Soad Hosni was born. Same day, in 1952, Cairo was set on fire, which was a major reason for the acceleration of the Egyptian revolution. Soad's birth was as equivalent to another revolution, but, in terms of cinematic act, she rebelled on all forms which preceded her, a revolution, but not the sort of that which started by fire, but, by a ray of light.
She rose to stardom at the beginning of a new decade when Egypt was bidding farewell to the monarchy for good. Veteran actresses like Faten Hamama and Shadia made for the sidelines when Soad Hosni emerged simultaneously with the birth of a new Egypt in the 1960s. The air was full of expectations; dreams really could come true, and Soad Hosni was one of those dreams. With her talent, good-heartedness, and dedication, she captured the hearts of virtually everyone in Egypt without even trying.
Her first steps were on the doors of "BABA SHAROW" on the radio cable. Soad had her own goal, to be like her sister Nagat, who had started singing while still very young. In this children's corner, as if reading the future days, 'I am Soad, the sister of the moon amongst the girls'. Few years later, Soad became the sister of the moon, who embraced the stars and cuddled the sun.
Followed by different roles on the big screen, she led her first steps in the cinema. She thought the star should put on plenty, glaring makeup, and wear exquisite dresses. She went totally mad when she co-starred with Sabah in 1960 film "THALATHAT REGAL WA EMRAAH"( Three Men and A Woman), the beautician used to spend two hours with Sabah, whilst spending only a couple of minutes with her. Sabah at that time, was armed by amazing beauty and exquisite dresses, whilst Soad at this time, did not realize she had her own arms which the camera explored in future films and years.
She flourished at a time of Arab unity and power, a time when films could be made in Lebanon without fear of anything. Yes, there was war, danger, and death that hovered over everything, but there was also a deep sense of security in knowing that even in death, there would be pride and honor. Hosni lit up this era of belonging with her incomparable spirit, and stood as a pillar for the modern cinema scene.
While no one can deny that actresses like Hamama, Shadia and Mariam Fakhr Al- Din were true stars, they belonged to the past. Hosni was to them what Abdul Halim was to Abdul Wahab, a sign that the age of aristocracy and royalty had come to a close. Hosni emanated freedom, independence, and equality, a true daughter of the revolution. She was more than a mere symbol, she attested to the greatness that was unfolding.
That an actress like Hosni existed meant that good existed despite the devastating war that raged on.
At that time, Egyptians worked around the clock, and when the time came for a little entertainment, they had three choices: an Abdul Halim Hafez concert, a new song by Umm Kolthoum, or a Soad Hosni movie. Down town movie theatres like Cairo, Radio, Metro were clean and elegant.
"You could actually go to a movie and find Soad sitting next to you, and she would greet you as if you were her best friend."
Soad represented style and beauty. They all looked up to her. If she cut her hair, they all would do the same. One time in Al QAHERA TALATEEN (Cairo 1930) that came out in 1966, she plucked her eyebrows very thin.
The next day her friends ran and erased their eyebrows and then drew them with pencil so they could look like her. She lived a racy life shrouded in rumors, and never found true happiness in any of the four marriages she encountered.
In her year of glory 1966, I have to stop in front of two films "SAGHIRA ALA ALHOB"( Too Young to Love) by director Niazi Mustafa, the second "AL QAHERA 30"( Cairo 1930), by director Salah Abu Seif. In film 'SAGHIR ALA ALHOB", Soad's genius was remarkably illustrated when she played the role of the young girl and the grown up lady at the same time. The young girl who is 10 years old, not only her hair coiffure, nor her dress, nor the way of pronouncing to do this role, Soad marvelously called for the features and soul of a young girl, she actually lived this character.
Soad met with Salah Abu Seif, in film "AL QUAHERA 30"( Cairo 30), driven from a story written by Naguib Mahfouz entitled "AL QAHERA AL GADIDA"( New Cairo). Strange enough, the script was obstructed by censorship for ten years, as if waiting for Soad Hosni to flourish and become completely mature, to harvest the unattainable fruit of her acting career.
Soad Hosni excelled in every role she played, and without being typecast. This Soad Hosni legacy makes it difficult for young actresses today to follow in her footsteps. She remains untouchable.
Her success started to decline from the 1988 film Al Daraga Al Talta (The Third Class) co-starring Ahmed Zaki. This film was not attacked viciously by critics, but it also did not meet any box office success.
Shortly thereafter, she had health problems and her illness got the better of her when her role model, poet and lyric writer Salah Jahine died. Later, she headed to London for treatment. There, she lost contact with the artistic world, reappearing only briefly in 1991 when her ex-husband and director of some of her most significant films, Ali Badrakhan, brought her back in Al Rayie wa Al- Nissaa (The Shepherd and the Women) starring Youssra and Ahmed Zaki. The film essentially was the beginning of the end for Hosni.
While it neither lost money nor was attacked, in fact it was critically acclaimed it showed a tired and aging Soad Hosni, not the actress everyone remembered. Hosni didn't relish appearing as a washed up Cinderella next to the relatively young and healthy Youssra.
She fled back to London and hid from everyone until they found her dead on a pavement of a London street. Whether she jumped or fell no one yet knows. What is sure is that Soad Hosni is gone and with her any hope of pending redemption for the current bleak artistic scene.
From London to Cairo, Soad returns in a coffin. Returned from the frost of London to the warmth of the country, which she ever loved, and to the people, who ever loved her.