Home | Site map | Contact us

Home » Actors » Stéphane Rosti

Stéphane Rosti


Stéphane Rosti





Stéphane Rosti and Aziza Amir
in The Right Path







Stéphane de Rosti was born in Alexandria in 1891. His father, an Austrian Baron, married to an Italian, bought a palace in Shoubra and decided to live there. As the mother was about to give birth to her child, the father returned to Vienna in obedience to his aristocratic family. When Stéphane Rosti was born, she gave him his father’s name. He lived with his mother in Shoubra, and went to el Khedeweya, an Egyptian school. (Another source says that Rosti lived with his mother in Ramleh in Alexandria and went to Ras el Tin Primary School. He probably lived in Alexandria during his childhood then moved with his mother to Cairo.)

When he got his school certificate, he decided to try to meet his father. At the same time, he got in touch with an Austrian ballet dancer in Teatro Abbas with whom he travelled to Vienna. He managed to meet his father there but eventually fell from favour because of his relation with the dancer, in addition to his artistic tendencies.

Rosti decided to stay in Europe to acquire some cinema experience, and earn a living in the meanwhile. In Italy, he worked as a translator and as a worker in the port of Naples to accompany immigrants to America, a salesman, and an entertainer for aristocratic children. In France, he worked as a tour guide, and in a library and a theatrical troupe. Some critics include other jobs such as a dancer in nightclubs, an undertaker and a butcher.

It was in Europe that he met the director Mohamed Karim who was studying cinema in Germany at the time. Later, he also met the actor Serag Mounir who was there for the same purpose. In 1917, Rosti met Aziz Eid who was about to form his own theatrical group, El Comedy el Arabi. Eid was fascinated by Rosti’s French and Italian (he also spoke English and German) and decided to let him join the troupe. He also gave him the role of a Russian Prince in the play Take Care of Emily (Khali balak min Imilî) which made the critics notice him.

Later, Rosti together with Naguib el Rihani presented comic Franco-Arab one-act plays at the Epie de Rose theatre in Alfi Bey Street. It was el Rihani who created the character of el Sheikh Batshot which Rosti performed in a way that allowed him to participate in most of the operettas of the group. The most important was perhaps el ‘Ashara el Tayeba (1920), directed by Aziz Eid, in which he played “Hagy Baba Homes Akhdar” (He played this role again in 1961 when he was 70. This time the operetta was directed by Zaki Toleimat and starring Karem Mahmoud and Shahrazad). In 1922, Rosti met Youssef Wahbi and Aziz Eid in Paris at the time they were about to form Ramsis Group. He returned with them to Egypt and had such a great role to play in the group since its launching in 1923 that Wahbi considered him one of its founders. Rosti was not only an actor in Ramsis Group but he also translated and adapted several plays such as The Elixir of Love (Aksîr el houbb), Maxim’s Bar (Hanet Maxîm), The Mental Hospital (Moustachfa el magânîn), and Aunt Charlie (el ‘Ama Chârlî). In addition, he directed some plays such as The Accusation (el Itihâm).

It was his activity in Ramsis Group that made his colleague Aziza Amirdecide to let him complete what was considered the first Egyptian feature film The Call of God (Nedâ’ Allah) that eventually changed to Laila in 1927. The Turkish director Wedad Orfi was supposed to direct the film but he clashed with its producer and heroine Aziza Amir. Thus it was coincidence, or perhaps destiny, as some critics put it, which made Rosti direct this important film, and play the part of Raouf Bey.

In addition to Laila, Rosti directed five films and was co-writer of six others. However, his reputation rests heavily on his acting career. Even though he was famous for playing the villain, he used to interpret such roles with a unique sense of humour that made the audience sometimes actually like and sympathise with his character. He succeeded in combining the villain and comedian, to become a comic villain, facing competition from only Adel Adham in the seventies. He used to take part in the writing of his character and add some words that usually became a feature of his character. It is a measure of his success that some of his lines are still remembered until this very day, the most famous is perhaps “nashint ya fâlih” (good shot, dude). Rosti would always be remembered also for his unique accent and tone of voice especially when playing a foreigner .

Stéphane Rosti died on 12 May 1964, while shooting the last scenes of Midnight Story (Hikayat nous el layl).


1927: Laila (Layla) (actor and director)
1928: The Sea is Laughing (el Bahr biyidhak) (actor, director and writer of scenario)
1931: His Excellency Keshkesh Bey (Sâhib el sa’âda Kichkich bek) silent (actor and director)
1932: Song of the Heart (Ounchoudat el Fou̓âd) (co-director with Mario Volpi)
1934: His Excellency Keshkesh Bey (Sâhib el sa’âda Kichkich bek) sound (actor and director)
1935: Antar Effendi (‘Antar afandî) (actor, director, writer of scenario and co-writer of script and story with Ahmed Zaki Saleh)
1937: The Song of Hope (Nachîd el amal)
1937: The Eternal Glory (el Magd el khâlid)
1937: Salama is Fine (Salama fi khayr)
1938: That’s my Nature (Anâ tab’î kidah)
1939: A Rainy Night (Laylah moumtirah)
1940: The Workshop (el Warchah) (actor and director)
1941: Mr Omar (Si ‘Omar)
1942: The Countryman (Ibn el balad) (actor and director)

1942: The Countryman (Ibn el balad)

1943: The Right Path (el Tarîq el moustaqîm)
1944: The Martyrs of Love (Chouhadâ̓’ el gharâm)
1945: Appearances (el Mazâhir)
1945: The Prettiest (Ahlâhoum) (actor, director, writer of scenario and co-writer of story and script with Ahmed Zaki Saleh)
1945: Gamal and Dalal (Gamâl we Dalâl) (director and writer of scenario)
1946: Their Excellencies (Ashâb el sa’âdah)
1946: False Pride (el Nafkhah el kaddâbah)
1947: My Heart is my Guide (Qalbi dalîlî)
1947: Antar’s Son (Ibn ‘Antar)
1948: Love and Youth (el Hawâ wa-l-chabâb)
1948: The Adventurer (el Moughâmir)
1948: Boulboul Effendi (Boulboul afandî)
1948: Anbar (‘Anbar)
1948: The Adventures of Antar and Abla (Moughâmrât ‘Antar wa’Ablah)
1948: A Woman's Imagination (Khayâl imra̓ah)
1949: A Holiday in Hell (Agâzah fî gohannam)
1949: The Murderer (el Qâtilah)
1949: Girls' Flirtation (Ghazal el banât)
1949: Ms Ghost (‘Ifritah hânim)
1949: The Eve of the Feast (Laylat el ‘îd)
1950: Tears of Happiness (Doumou’ el farah)
1950: The Love Beach (Châti̓ el gharâm)
1950: The Hero (el Batal)
1950: Local and Cute (Baladî wa-khiffah)
1950: The Thorny Road of Dangers (Tarîq el chowk)
1950: Never Mind, Dice (Ma’lich yâ zahr)
1950: The Millionaire (el Millionnaire)
1950: The Wedding Night (Laylat el doukhlah)
1950: The Last Lie (Âkhir kidbah)
1951: Fayrouz Hanem (Fayrouz hânim)
1951: My Father Deceived Me (Khada’anî abî)
1952: Do not Tell Any One (Mât̓oulch li-hadd)
1952: Good News (Bouchret Khayr)
1952: I believe in God (Âmint billah)
1952: It's For You (Halâl ‘alayk)
1953: The Administrative Board (Maglis el idârah)
1953: The Hell of Jealousy (Gahîm el ghîrah)
1953: The Night Train (Qîtâr el-layl) (actor and co-writer of story and script with Ahmed Zaki Saleh)
1953: The Unfair Judgement (Houkm qarâqouch)
1953: The Elite (Ibn dhawât) (actor and co-writer of story and script with Ahmed Zaki Saleh)
1953: This is Unfair (Harâm ‘alayk)
1953: When it Smiles (el Douniâ limma tidhak)
1954: The Farwell Dance (Raqsat el wadâ’)
1954: Hassan, Marcos and Cohen (Hasan wa Morkqos wa Kohîn)
1954: April Fool (Kidbat abrîl)
1954: Sheikh Hassan (el Chaykh Hasan)
1954: Women Cannot Lie (el Sittât mâ ya’rafouch yikdibou)
1954: The Country Girl (Bint el balad) (actor and co-writer of story and script with Ahmed Zaki Saleh)
1955: The Lover (‘Âchiq el rouh)
1955: The Lovers (‘Ahl el hawâ)
1955: Love and Tears (Houbb wa doumou’)
1956: Wondering Souls (Qouloub hâ̓’rah)
1956: Enough Darling, No More Tears (Kefaya Ya ‘Ain)
1957: The Prisoner of Abou Zouboul (Saguîn Abou Zou’boul)
1957: Tamarind (Tamr Henna)
1957: I Claim my Heart Back (Roudda qalbî)
1958: Fierce Love (Houb min nâr)
1958: Ismail Yassin Tarazan (Ismâ’îl Yâsîn Tarazân)
1958: I Love You, Hassan (Ahibbak yâ Hasan)
1958: My Dark Lover (Habîbî el asmar)
1958: The Lady of the Palace (Sayyidat el qasr)
1958: Daring Eyes (Abou ‘ouyoun garî̓ah)
1959: Hassan and Naima (Hasan we Na’îmah)
1959: The Poor Millionaire (el Millionnaire el faqîr)
1959: The Highway Man (Qâtî’ tarîq) (actor and co-writer of story and script with Ahmed Zaki Saleh)
1960: The Hairdresser (Hallâq el sayyidât)
1960: Ismail Yassin in Prison (Ismâ’îl Yâsîn fi-l-sign)
1961: No Return (Bilâ ‘awdah)
1961: Do not Remember Me (Lâ tadhkourînî)
1961: The Crook (el Nassâb)
1961: The Interpreter (el Tourgmân)
1962: The Tyrants' Struggle (Sirâ’ el gabâbirah)
1962: The Oil King (Malik el bitroul)
1963: The Pickpocket (el Nachchâl)
1963: Crazy People are in Bliss (el Magânîn fi na’îm)
1963: The Funny Crime (el Garîmah el dâhikah)
1963: A Woman Set Aside (Imra̓ah ‘alâ el hâmich)
1964: The Black Bag (el Haqîbah el sawdaâ̓’)
1964: Very Naughty (Âkhir Chaqâwah)

1964: Very Naughty (Âkhir Chaqâwah)

1964: Midnight Story (Hikâyat nos el layl)