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Adel Adham




Adel Adham had a liberal and outgoing upbringing in Alexandria. He enjoyed going to the cinema, playing sports and taking dancing lessons in the styles that were then in vogue: tango, rumba and the foxtrot. His fair complexion, light brown hair and hazel eyes matched this modern spirit of song, dance and sports, and he was often taken for a foreigner in Alexandria.

One summer day in 1945, director Abdel Fattah Hassan and writer Badei Khairi saw him on the beach in Miami, and, making the mistake of others, called him khawaga. His annoyance at the appellation soon turned to delighted surprise when they offered him a part for which his features were suited. When he passed the screen test in Studio Shubra, he gave free reign to his imagination, which took him on a journey to stardom. He saw himself following in the footsteps of his movie heroes: Lee Marvin, John Wayne and Richard Wydmark. However, the death of the director and producer of the film Abdel Fattah Hassan also killed his dreams of a cinema career, which ended abruptly there.

He stayed on in Cairo – by then established as the centre of cinema – in the hope of being discovered again. Yet all he managed to land in five years were two dancing parts in Laila, Daughter of the Poor (Laila bint el foqarâ’) in 1945 with Laila Mourad and in Never Came to My Mind (Makansh ‘lbâl) in 1950 with Raqia Ibrahim. Finally he approached his favourite star Anwar Wagdi who totally demolished his aspirations by announcing, “Not all handsome boys become actors. You can only be an actor in front of your mirror.” Humiliated and defeated, he stayed on nevertheless, looking for the chance to prove Anwar Wagdi wrong. But he fell ill and his friend took him back to Alexandria where he locked himself at home and would not look at himself in the mirror, for it was his looks that had brought this doom upon him.

By chance he found Dale Carnegie’s famous book Stop Worrying and Start Living which changed his life. He accepted an offer in the Cotton Exchange and proceeded to establish a brilliant career for himself, scrutinizing in the meanwhile the faces and people that his new job put him in touch with. He later said that while acting he would recall those characters and adapt them to suit the part he was playing.

His new job brought him luxury and prestige, but no happiness. On the contrary, he felt that he was wasting his time and that there was another life out there for him. He went to Cairo to visit some friends where he could not resist the desire to pass by his friend director Ali Reda. There, he was introduced to director Ahmed Diaa el Din who was about to start his film Am I Insane? (Hal ana magnounah?). That is how his cinema career took another turn.

In 1966 he played the lead role in the play Wedad the Dancer (Widâd el ghagariyyah) with Huda Sultan, directed by Hassan Abdel Salam. As he played the part of Prince Youssef Kamal of the royal family so well, he was from then on known as The Prince.


1945: Laila, Daughter of the Poor (Laila bint el foqarâ’)
1950: Never Came to My Mind (Makansh ‘lbâl)
1963: The Dark Pair of Glasses (el Nadharah el sawdâ’)
1964: Am I Insane? (Hal ana magnounah?)
1964: A Weird Girl (Fatah Châzah)
1964: The Spy (el Gâsous)
1964: The Noble Family (el ‘Â’ilah el karîmah)
1965: The Technical Director (el Moudîr el fanî)
1965: The Adulteress (el Khâ’inah)
1966: Hamdan the Knight (Fâris banî Hamdân)
1965: The Three Adventurers (el Moughamiroun el thalâthah)
1966: His Excellency the Ambassador (Ganab el Safîr)
1967: The Most Dangerous Man in the World (Akhtar ragoul fel ‘âlam)
1967: The Thief of the Millions (Sâriq el malâyîn)
1967: Nora (Nourah)
1968: The Jours of Love (Ayâm el houbb)
1968: How to Steal an Atomic Bomb (Kayfa tasriq Qounboula Zareyyah)
1969: She and the Devil (Heyya wal Chayâtîn)
1969: Afrah (Afrâh)
1969: A Sweet Jour (Youm ‘asl)
1970: The Paper Thief (Haramî el waraqah)
1970: The Fox and the Chameleon (el Tha’lab wel herbâ’)
1970: The Evil Doers (el Achrâr)
1970: Noble Thieves (Losos lakn Chorafâ’)
1970: The Murderers (el Qatalah)
1971: Chatting on the Nile (Thartharah fawq el Nîl)
1971: Lady of the Black Moons (Sayedat el aqmâr el sawdâ’)
1971: The Queen of Love (Malikat el houbb)
1971: Music, Spying and Love Mousiqa wa gasousiyah wa houbb)
1972: Imtesal (Imtisâl)
1972: The Visitor (el Zâ’irah)
1973: The Woman who Defeated the Devil (el Mar’ah alati ghalabat el chaytân)
1975: Love under Rain (Houbb taht el matar)
1975: Meeting with the Past (Liqâ’ ma’a el mâdî)
1975: Lost Women (Nisâ’ dâ’i’ât)
1975: Women and Wolves (el Ounthah wel Dhi’âb)
1976: Women in Print (Nisâ’ taht el tab’)
1976: Oh Wise God (Hekmitak ya Rab)
1976: Waves without a shore (Amwâg bila chât’)
1976: I wish I did not Know Love (Laytanî ma’reft el houbb)
1976: The Guilty (el Mouzniboun)
1977: The Sad Night Bird (Ta’r el Layl el Hazîn)
1977: Barefoot on a Bridge of Gold (Hafiya ‘ala gesr el dahab)
1978: I Want Love and Tenderness (Ourid houbban wa hanânan)
1978: The Miserable (el Bou’asâ’)
1978: The Game (el Li’bah)
1978: Devil in the City (Iblîs fî el madînah)
1978: Masters and Slaves (Asyâd wa ‘abîd)
1979: Stronger than Jours (Aqwa min el Ayyâm)
1979: The Curse of Time (La’nit el Zaman)
1979: The Sin of an Angel (Khatî’t malâk)
1979: Let Me Take Revenge (Da’onî antaqim)
1979: My Life is Torture (Hayatî adhâb)
1979: Dirty Hands (el Aydî el qadhirah)
1981: Seeds of Evil (Boudhour el char)
1981: A Man in the Full Sense (Ragol be ma’na el kalimah)
1981: The Devil is Preaching (el Chaytân ya’dh)
1981: Love is not Enough (el Houbb wahdo la yakfî)
1981: I am the Insane (Ana el magnoun)
1981: The Shark (el Qirsh)
1981: Where are You Hiding the Sun ?? (Ayna tokhabi’on el Chams?)
1982: The Slaughter House (el Salakhânah)
1983: Wedad the Dancer (Widâd el ghagariyyah)
1983: Tannery Tower (Bourg el madabigh)
1983: The Addict (el Modmin)
1983: Flat Foot in Egypt
1948: The Baker’s (el Fourn)
1948: The Dancer and the Drummer (el Raqissah wal tabâl)
1984: The Swindler (el Nasâbîn)
1984: Guard Dogs (Kilâb el herâsah)
1984: Two on the Road (Ethnân ‘la el tarîq)
1984: The Unknown (el Maghoul)
1984: Thieves of the Desert (Losous el sahara’)
1985: The Doorman is in Charge (Sâhib el idârah bawab el ‘imarah)
1985: A Deal with a Woman (Safqah ma’a imra’ah)
1985: The Allowed and the Prohibited (el Halâl we el harâm)
1985: El Sayed Qeshtah (el Sayyed Qeshtah)
1986: Snakes (el Tha’abîn)
1986: The Revenge (el Intiqâm)
1986: A Man for this Time (Ragoul le hadha el dhamân)
1986: The Age of Wolves (‘Asr el dhi’ab)
1987: The Giant (el ‘Mlâq)
1989: The Garden of Blood (Boustân el dam)
1989: The Price of Estrangement (Thaman el Ghorbah)
1989: Help! (Ilhâ’ounah)
1989: Hell Under Water (Gahîm Tahta el mâ’)
1990: Supermarket (Soupermârkit)
1991: The Apple of the Eye (Nour el ‘ouyoun)
1994: The Lady’s Chauffeur (Sawâq el hânîm)
1994: The Man of his Time (‘ntâr dhamânoh)
1994: The Red Flag (el Râyyah el Hamrâh)
1996: Suspected Relations (‘Ilaqât machbouhah)