Faten Hamama (Faten Hamama)

Faten Hamama

Actress. A brunette beauty called “the First Lady of the Arab screen”, she is remembered for starring in roughly 100 Egyptian film features, in the process breaking stereotypes by portraying strong female characters. Raised in Cairo by a middle class family, she was to some extent pushed into show business by her father, who had given up his own theatrical ambitions to support his family, and after winning a child beauty pageant made her silver screen bow in the 1939 “A Happy Day”. Recognized for both her looks and talent, she gradually was given larger roles and had her big break as the star of 1946’s “Angel of Mercy”. Becoming quite busy, Faten amassed a steady stream of credits, earning particular praise for two 1952 features, “Your Day Will Come” and Egypt’s first mystery flick, “House No. 13”. In 1954 on the set of “Struggle in the Valley”, in which she played a rich man’s wife fighting societal expectations, she met the young actor Omar Sharif and as her teenage first marriage collapsed a romance ensued. The pair married in 1955 and both partners kept busy, sometimes together, sometimes separately, Faten’s movies including 1958’s “The Barred Road”, “The River of Love”, a 1960 film adaptation of Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” for which she and Sharif both earned praise, the 1961 “I Will Not Confess”, “The Last Night” (1963), and 1966’s “The Open Door”, another protest against standards of female subservience. Faten created problems for herself with some of her roles leading her to live in Paris and London between 1966 and 1971; by the time she returned home her marriage was long since on the rocks, though the divorce was not final until 1974, the union ruined by the money and endless supply of pretty girls available to Sharif in Hollywood. Her 1972 “Empire M” received multiple film festival awards, then in 1975 she starred in “I want a Solution”, a piece which garnered her a Best Actress Award at the Cairo International Film Festival and is credited with modernizing Egypt’s marriage and divorce laws, though with time her roles became both less frequent and substantive. She made her last big screen appearance in the 1993 “Land of Love”, was seen in the 1994 television series “The Consciousness of Teacher Hekmat”, then retired. In 2000 she was named Star of the Century by the Egyptian film critics and made a final return in the miniseries “The Face of the Moon”. Faten received numerous honors in Egypt and throughout the Arab world, lived out her days in Cairo, and died following a protracted illness. (bio by: Bob Hufford)  Family links:  Spouse:  Omar Sharif (1932 – 2015)* *Calculated relationship


  • May, 27, 1931
  • Egypt


  • January, 01, 2015
  • Egypt


  • Hamama Family Cemetery
  • Egypt

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