From stardom to retirement: The fading glory of Egypt’s top actors

Kadry Al-Haggar
9 Min Read

Stardom is not eternal. Some stars were adored by the fans who cheered their names in theaters and awarded them many prizes. They enjoyed the spotlight, the cameras, and the attention of the writers. But as time goes by and our stars age, producers lose interest in casting them, and the situation changes. They become relics of a past era. The spotlight fades away, the cameras turn elsewhere, and producers, directors, and even writers abandon them, who once were eager to work with them. Flattery and praise vanish, hypocrisy is exposed, and the artist finds himself alone, without lovers or admirers. This is the fate of some artists who have retired from the limelight and fame. Some stars have chosen to retire from art voluntarily, and this may be the reason for the lack of writers who create works for these ages. This contrasts with what happens abroad: the older the artist, the more valuable they become. In the following lines, we will learn about who retired and who is facing retirement.

Big names, not long ago, are now closer to retirement than to continuation. At the top of them is actress Nadia El-Gendy, dubbed “Star of the Masses”, who failed to find a producer to produce her works after her separation from Mohamed Mokhtar. Her latest work is the series “Sukar Ziyada”, which was shown as part of the Ramadan 2020 series, and co-starred Nabila Obaid, Hala Fakher, Samiha Ayoub, Tariq Abdel Aziz, and others. It was written by Amin Gamal, and directed by Wael Ihsan. The events of the series revolve around a comedic plot involving Esmat, Karima, and Jamila, three women who fall victim to a scam because of a villa they decided to buy, and they must now cope with the situation of living in the same villa or one of them will have the right to own the villa without the others.

Next on the list is Nabila Ebeid, dubbed Egypt’s Actress Number One, who was at the top of the box office stars for long periods. She also did not find anyone to support her, so we see her from time to time announcing the publication of her memoirs, as happened on television or radio, hoping that any producer who was chasing her would remember her and have a pen ready for her to sign the contracts. Nabila Obaid’s latest work was her role in the series “Sukar Ziyada”, which was shown in the Ramadan race for the year 2020, and featured a large number of artistic stars, the most prominent of whom are: Nadia El-Gendy, Samiha Ayoub, Hala Fakher, Mai El-Ghaity, Tariq Abdel Aziz, Hanadi Muhanna, and others. It was written by Amin Jamal and Ibrahim Mohsen, and directed by Wael Ihsan.

They were followed by the belly dancer and actress Fifi Abdo, whose latest work was the series “Shoghil Aali”, which was shown in 2022 and several actors participated in it, most notably: Sherine Reda, Mohamed Radwan, Farid Al-Nakrashi, Tamer Habib, and guests of honor such as: Bayoumi Fouad, Ahmed Hossam Mido, Sandra Hassanein, and Suleiman Eid. There were many problems between them, in addition to Fifi Abdo’s constant insistence on setting conditions for the producers and directors working with her, which made them distance themselves from her and refrain from offering her new works.

Some stars were in the limelight and announced their retirement from art, and at their forefront is actor Abdel Rahman Abu Zahra, who suddenly decided to withdraw from art permanently. He said: “I have completely retired from art, hoping that those responsible for art and culture will wake up from their slumber. Art these days does not suit me or resemble me. I do not chase it, and my archive saves me from worrying about the artistic chaos that we are living in now. Art today has become like the pages of events, and there are no writers or authors capable of presenting topics with distinctive content. I have peace of mind and conscience after this decision. Art, unfortunately, is no longer what it used to be, and the actors we see do not respect anyone and do not know the meaning of art and its value.” Abdel Rahman Abu Zahra’s latest work was the first part of “Mawdoo’ A’ili”, starring Majed El-Kedwany, Rana Rais, Mohamed Shaheen, Sama Ibrahim, Enas Kamel, Taha El-Desouki, Mohamed Radwan, Mohamed Al-Qass, Hossam Dagher, Dalia El-Khouly, and Maryam El-Gendy.

As for actor Tawfiq Abdel Hamid, who performed many influential roles, such as Hazrat Elmutahim Abi with Nour Al-Sharif, and Teor Al-Zalam with the star Adel Imam, among others. He explained that he decided to retire for the first time as he suffered from a herniated disc, which made him apologize for the roles offered to him because he would not be able to exert the great effort that acting requires.

Then, Tawfiq Abdel Hamid decided to retire from acting for the second time in April 2022, permanently after he finished filming the series “Utern”. Tawfiq confirmed that “my decision is due to my health condition and no one has anything to do with it, and I hope you respect my wish not to talk.” In his latest series, Tawfiq Abdel Hamid played the role of a successful doctor who owns a private hospital and considers the medical profession as humanitarian work and a mission.

Also, Tayseer Fahmy retired from art in 2012 when she presented her last work in the series “Feel Fa’el” and then moved to political life and was one of the candidates for the House of Representatives.

Before her, there was Athar al-Hakim, who turned down many roles and preferred to maintain the transparent and meaningful roles she presented, especially since her children had grown up.

Actor Nabil El-Halafawi also revealed the reason for his absence from the artistic scene for a long time, noting that the works presented to him do not suit him, in addition to that he is going through several family circumstances. His last work in Ramadan 2021 was his participation in the series “Cairo Kabul”, alongside the artist Fathi Abdel Wahab, Khaled Al-Sawy, Hanan Mutawa, and several others. It was written by Abdel Rahim Kamal and directed by Hossam Ali. The series dealt with three thrilling stories about conspiracies being plotted against the Arab region, especially Egypt recently, highlighting the terrorist acts that occur in this region.

Last but not least, the megastar Adel Imam is unexpected to resume artistic work again due to his health condition, which prevents him from going out or engaging in social or artistic activities. Imam is about 85 years old, and during his acting career, he presented hundreds of works that varied between theatre, cinema, and TV drama, such as “The School of the Troublemakers”, “The Children Have Grown Up”, “The Witness Who Saw Nothing”, “The Bus Driver”, “Terrorism and Kebab”, “Birds of Darkness”, “The Terrorist”, and “Halfout”, in addition to the TV series “Tears in Shameless Eyes”, “The Fortune Teller”, “Hidden Worlds”, and his latest work was “Valentino” series.

Finally, a large number of singers and actors may join this list in the coming period due to their inability to keep up with the changes brought about by modern technology.

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