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Zeinat Sedki


Zeinat Sedki


Zeinat Sedki and Mary Mounib

Zeinab Mohamed Mosaad was born in El Gomrok district in Alexandria to a Jewish mother. She had hardly finished primary school when her father decided that this humble education was enough and that she should now wait for a bridegroom to come along. Indeed, she married when she was 15 but eventually divorced, and started her career as a belly dancer and monologue artist in local weddings. She then joined an acting association formed by Zaki Toleimat in Alexandria, but her family did not allow her to do that either. So, she ran away with her friend Khaireya Sedki to Syria. When she returned, she worked with Badi‘a Masabni.

The turning point in her career came when she went to visit a friend of hers at the Rihani theatre, and met Naguib el Rihani there. She joined his troupe, and he changed her name to Zeinat so she would not be confused with Zeinab Sedki (she had been using Sedki as her surname since she left her family).

Her first role with the Rihani troupe was that of a maid in the play The Egyptian Pound (el Guineih el Masrî), December 1931. Zeinat Sedki is best known for this role (of a maid), and for the role of a single girl waiting for her man. Sedki also worked with the troupes of Youssef Wahbi and Fatma Rushdi, , in addition to Ismail Yassin’s troupe, with whom she formed a successful duet in cinema.

As was often the case, she later suffered from total neglect, which made Galeel el Bendari write in El Akhbar newspaper (18-November-1966):

I cannot believe that this is actually happening to a great actress, a student of Naguib el Rihani. The most comic actress is now selling her own furniture ... Zeinat Sedki, who made millions laugh, now cannot find anyone to sympathise with her in her tragedy. (Gharib pp.183-4)

She received an award from President Anwar el Sadat in 1976. Despite its moral value, the award did not help much in improving her condition, and she passed away in March 1978.

Hers was the school of spontaneous performance and farce. She hardly used excessive body language or resorted to jokes to be funny, but was known to use accessories in an extravagant and totally innovative manner. Although she never played the leading role in any of the films she featured in, she always asserted her presence even if she appeared in two or three scenes.

Article by Zeinat Sedki


1934: The Accusation (el Ittihâm)
1936: He Wants to Get Married! (Bisalamtouh ‘awiz yitgawwiz)
1937: Behind the Curtain (Warâ’ el sitâr)
1939: The Price of Happiness (Thaman el sa‘âdah)
1940: Under Fire (Tahtâ el silâh)
1942: Love is Forbidden (Mamnou‘ el houbb)
1943: Long Live Women (Tahyâ el sittât)
1943: The Call of the Heart (Nidâ’ el qalb)
1944: What a Wonder (Imma guinân)
1944: Berlanti (Berlanti)
1944: The Son of the Blacksmith (Ibn el haddâd)
1945: City of Gypsies (Madinet el ghagar)
1945: First Love (el Houbb el awwal)
1945: The Prettiest (Ahlâhoum)
1945: The Honeymoon (Chahr el ‘assal)
1945: El Latafa Casino (Casino el latâfah)
1945: Bleeding Hearts (Qouloub dâmiyah)
1945: The Mother (el Oumm)
1946: A Bride for Rent (‘Arousah li-l-îgâr)
1946: I Destroyed My House (Hadmt baytî)
1947: The Ghost of Midnight (Chabeh nisf el layl)
1948: Love and Madness (Houb wa gounoun)
1948: Playing with Fire (el Li ‘b bi-l-nâr)
1948: A Girl from Palestine (Fatât min Filastîn)
1948: Women are Devils (el Setat ‘afarît)
1948: The Landlady (Sâhibat el ‘imârah)
1948: The Lucky Girl (Bint hazz)
1948: Anbar (‘Anbar)
1949: I Love You (Ahibbak inta)
1949: The Madwoman (el Magnounah)
1949: Girls' Flirtation (Ghazal el banât)
1949: Congratulations (‘Oqbâl el bakârî)
1949: Afrita Hanem (‘Ifritah hânim)
1949: Hoda (Houda)
1949: Captive of Love (Asîr el ‘Ouyoun)
1949: El Bahlwan Street (Châri‘ el bahlawân)
1949: The Eve of the Feast (Laylat el ‘eid)
1950: You and I (Anâ wa anta) 
1950: The Tears of Happiness (Doumou‘ el farah)
1950: Beware of Men (Âh min el rigâlah)
1950: Reason is a Blessing (el ‘Aql zînah)
1950: The Hero (el Batal)
1950: Local and Cute (Balady we Khefa)
1950: The Family Elder (Mahsoub el ‘â’lah)
1950: Miss Mum (el Ânisah Mâmâ)
1950: The Millionaire (el Millionnaire) 
1950: The Love of a Belly Dancer (Gharâm râqisah)
1951: My Sweetheart’s Country (Balad el Mahboob)
1951: Girls are so Sweet (el Banât charbât)
1951: The End of a Story (Nihâyat qissah)
1951: Fayeq and Rayeq (Fâyeq wa râyeq)
1951: Patience is a Virtue (el Sabr gamîl)
1951: Without Farewells (Min ghayr wada‘)
1951: Qatr el Nada (Qatr el nadâ)
1952: The House of el Natash (Bayt el nattâch)
1952: Where’s That Money From? (Min ayna laka hâdhâ)
1952: Belly Dancing (‘Achrah baladî)
1952: I Want to Marry (‘Ayza atgawwiz)
1952: Love is so Sweet (Yâ halâwat el houbb)
1952: The Spring Festival (Chamm el nasîm)
1952: The Victorious (el Montaser)
1953: Ms Snatcher (Nachâlah hânim)
1953: Daughter of Fortune (Bint el hawâ)
1953: Women without Men (Nisâ’ bilâ rigâl)
1953: Girl from the Higher Class (Bint el akâbir)
1953: Uncle Abdou's Ghost (‘ifrît ‘amm ‘abdou)
1953: Dahab (Dahab) 
1953: After Goodbye (Ba‘da el wada‘)
1953: Me and My Lover (Anâ we habîbî)
1953: My Lovers Wronged Me (Zalamouni el habâyib)
1953: The Last Encounter (el liqâ’ el akhîr)
1953: Watch Your Tongue (Lesank hosanak)
1953: Between Us (Baynî wa baynak)
1953: Deprivation (el Hirmân)
1953: No One Is Beside Me (Mâlîsh had)
1953: Son of the Alley (Ibn el hârah)
1953: An Appointment with Life (Maw‘id ma‘ el hayâh)
1953: When it Smiles (el Douniâ limma tidhak)
1953: A Million Pounds (Million guineih)
1954: Love Cab (Taxi el gharâm)
1954: Almost wresked my Marriege (Kidtou ahdoumou baytî)
1954: The Hearts of People (Qouloub el nâs)
1954: Stronger than Love (Aqwâ min al houbb)
1954: I am Love (Anâ el houbb)
1954: The Daughters of Eve (Banât hawwâ’)
1954: Miss Hanafi (al ‘anissah hanafi)
1954: It is only one Life (el ‘Oumr wâhid)
1954: Four Girls and an Officer (Arba‘ Banât wa dâbit)
1954: The Apple of My Eye (Nour ‘ouyounî)
1954: A Girl's Honour (Charaf el bint)
1953: The Ghost of Ismail Yassin (‘Ifrîtat Ismâ’îl Yâsîn)
1954: Hassan, Marcos and Cohen (Hasan wa Morqos wa Kohîn)
1954: The Unjust Angel (el Malâk el zâlim)
1954: Be with God (Khalik ma‘Allah)
1954: Faleh and Mehtas (Faleh we Mehtas)
1954: I want to Get Married Now (Ilhaqouni bel ma’dhoun)
1954: Women Cannot Lie (el Sittât mâya’rafoush yikdibou)
1954: Long Live Men (Tahyâ el riggâlah)
1954: Aziza (Azizah)
1954: A Night in the Life (Layla min ‘oumrî)
1955: Good Morning (Nahârak sa‘îd)
1955: I am Leaving (Innî râhilah)
1955: Fagr (Fagr)
1955: Brides in The Auction (‘Arâyis fi-l-mazâd)
1955: The Kingdom Of Women (Mamlakat el nisâ)
1955: The Girls' School (Madrasat el banât)
1955: The Captain of Egypt (kabtin Misr)
1955: Our Good Days (Ayyâmounâ el houlwah)
1955: We Promise Happiness (el Sa‘d wa‘d)
1955: The Victims of Feudatory (Dahâyâ al iqtâ‘)
1956: The Merry Widow (el Armalah el taroub)
1956: Ismail Yassin in the Police (Ismâ‘îl Yasîn fi-l-bolîs)
1956: Her Right to Divorce (Sâhibat el ‘ismah) 
1956: Enough (Kifayah yâ ‘ayn)
1956: The Heart has its Own Rules (el Qalb louh ahkâm)
1957: The Attractive Conductors (el Koumsariyyât el fâtinât)
1957: Ibn Hamidou (Ibn Hamido)
1957: Ismail Yassin at  the Zoo (Ismâ‘îl Yasîn fi guininet el haywân)
1957: Ismail Yassin in the Navy (Ismâ‘îl Yasînfi-l-ostoul)
1957: The Little Devil (el Chaytânah el saghîrah)
1958: Say Hello to the Dear Ones (Sallim ‘ala el habâyib)
1958: Ismail Yassin in the Mental Hospital (Ismâ‘îl Yasînfi moustachfa el magânîn)
1958: Ismail Yassin Tarazan (Ismâ‘îl Yasîn Tarazân)
1958: Ms Nawaem (el Sitt Nawâ‘m)
1958: The Love of my Life (Habîb hayâtî)
1958: The Street of Love (Châri‘ el houbb)

1958: The Street of Love (Châri‘ el houbb)

1958: The One with Daring Eyes (Abou ‘ouyoun garîah)
1959: Coming back to Life (‘Awdat el hayât)
1959: My Wife's Bridgroom (‘Arîs mirâtî)
1959: The Poor Millionaire (el Millionaire el faqîr)
1959: Ismail Yassin in the Secret Police (Ismâ‘îl Yasîn bolis sirî)
196o: In Your Hands (Bein îdek)
1960: Love and More Love (Houbb fi houbb)
1960: The Hairdresser (Hallâq el sayyidât)
1962: The Association of the Killing of Wives (Gam’iyyat qatl el zawgât)
1962: The Judge of Love (Qâdî el gharâm)
1962: The World of Women (Doniâ el sittât)
1962: Not Object to Discussion (Mafîsh tafahom)
1963: A Marriage in Danger (Gawaz fi khatar)
1967: The People's Sweetheart (Ma‘boudat el gamhîr)
1968: The Circus (el Sîrk)
1968: The Most Courageous Man in the World (Ashgaâ‘ ragoul fi-l-‘âlam)
1970: The Mirage (el Sarâb)
1975: A Girl Called Mahmoud (Bint ismouhâ Mahmoud)