The Golden Age of Egyptian and Arab Cinema saw a number of love stories of epic proportions; some stood the test of time, others ended in tragedy, but almost all had one thing in common, passion.
Many of these stories started on-screen and carried on into real life, and the audience just loved it. Throughout time, fans of these couples followed their news, circulated gossip, celebrated their happiness, and wept for their tragedies.
So for Valentine’s Day this year, here are the sweethearts of the Golden Age of Arab cinema.
Omar Al-Sheriff and Faten Hamama
No one ever thought that a love story would bring together these two. When Omar Al-Sheriff and Faten Hamama first met on the set of ‘Sira’ Fel Wady’, the latter was married at the time. Yet, after their on-screen kiss, Hamama and her first husband, director Ezzeldin Zu Al-Faqar, divorced, and soon afterward she married Omar Al-Sheriff.
They stayed together for 15 years and remained the sweethearts of Egyptian cinema, yet all good things come to an end, and when Al-Sheriff remained in Hollywood to pursue an international career, Hamama, who was in Egypt, asked for a divorce. Years later, Al-Sheriff maintained that she was the love of his life.
Fouad Al-Mohandis and Shwikar
The dynamic duo of Shwikar and Fouad Al-Mohandes produced a number of timeless works in both cinema and theater as fellow actors, but during one play, Al-Mohandes went off script and asked Shwikar to marry him.
They remained together for 20 years, and even though their relationship ended in divorce, the two remained good friends and partners through a number of projects.
Farid Shawky and Huda Sultan
This couple met during the filming of ‘Sit Al-Hosn’, an Egyptian classic, and even though things between them were bitter at first, they soon fell in love and married shortly thereafter.
Huda Sultan and Farid Shawky remained together for 15 years, but the relationship deteriorated when Sultan found out about her husband’s many affairs, and despite Shawky’s many attempts to get back to her, the couple never reunited.
Anwar Wagdy and Laila Mourad
Shortly after their heartwarming waltz in ‘Ana Alby Daleely’, Laila Mourad and Anwar Wagdy got married and remained together for seven years until their separation.
The two superstars worked together on a number of projects including ‘Ghazl Al-Banat’, ‘Anbar’, and ‘Habeeb Al-Rouh’.
Ehab Nafe’ and Magda
At the time when they met, Magda was a household name in Egyptian cinema and she was ahead of her time, refusing to get engaged or married until she finds someone who deserves her.
In a party at the Russian embassy in Cairo, she met with young pilot Ehab Nafe’, and later on, the two fell in love; they remained together for 12 years, during which Magda introduced Nafe’ to acting and the couple worked together on a number of films including ‘Al-Haqiqa Al-Ariya’ and ‘Al-Nadaha’.
Hussein Fahmy and Mervat Amin
Soon after they met, Hussein Fahmy and Mervat Amin were married in one of the most awe-inspiring love stories of Egyptian cinema, so it was understandable when, at the turn of the century they got divorced, leaving everyone was surprised. The two remained close after their separation raising their only daughter, Menna.
Salah Zu Al-Faqar and Shadiah
After their on-screen romance transcended cinema into real life, Shadiah and Salah Zu Al-Faqar celebrated their love with marriage. Yet, only after one year, tragedy struck when Shadiah miscarried. The weight of the bereavement was too much for any of them to handle, and they soon divorced.
Roshdy Abaza and Samiah Gamal
Nobody believed it when it was said that Egypt’s most eligible bachelors, Roshdy Abaza had finally fallen in love. He was married four times, and he was infamous for his elusiveness, yet, for 18 years he remained in love with Samia Gamal, a talented actress, pioneering belly-dancer, and an all-Egyptian diva.
Years later, he would say that of all his five wives, Samia Gamal was the closest to his heart.