Veteran Egyptian actress Ragaa El-Gedawy passed away early on Sunday following a lengthy 43-day battle with the novel coronavirus (COVID-19). She was 81.
The acting legend tested positive for the virus on 24 May, days after finishing filming for television series Le’bet El-Nesyan (“Game of Oblivion”), which was screened during the holy month of Ramadan.
Following her diagnosis, she was transferred to an isolation hospital in Ismailia governorate, where she was largely remained in the intensive care unit.
El-Gedawy was one of Egypt’s most beloved and prolific actresses, with a career spanning over six decades.
Born on 6 December 1938, in the north-eastern city of Ismailia, El-Gedawy moved to Cairo as a child following the divorce of her parents. She was enrolled in a Franciscan boarding school, where she learnt French and Italian.
Those language skills led her to finding work as a translator in a Cairo advertising agency in the mid 1950s. That planned career in marketing, however, fell by the wayside after she won the 1958 Miss Egypt beauty pageant which, at the time, was a natural precursor to a career on the silver screen.
The veteran actress made her debut in popular Egyptian film Douaa Al-kawrawan (“The Nightingale’s Prayer”) in 1959.
El-Gedawy went on to appear in hundreds of films, theatre plays and television shows throughout her fruitful six-decade career. She also collaborated with almost all of the country’s best writers, directors and actors of successive generations.