El Hedi ben Salem

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El Hedi ben Salem
Born Morocco
Died 1976
Nîmes, France

El Hedi ben Salem (El Hedi ben Salem m'Barek Mohammed Mustafa) (c. 1935[1] – 1976[2]), was a Moroccan actor best known for his work with German film director Rainer Werner Fassbinder.


El Hedi ben Salem was Rainer Werner Fassbinder's boyfriend from 1971 to 1974, though he also had a wife and five children in Morocco. During this period, he played several roles in Fassbinder's films. He is best known for his role of Ali in Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. While intoxicated, Salem seriously injured three people by stabbing.[3] He flew to France, where he robbed a jewelry store. He was arrested and convicted. In 1976 he died in prison after a soccer game from cardiac arrest.[3]

Fassbinder dedicated his last film Querelle (1982) to him. Some publications erroneously report 1982 as the year of El Hedi ben Salem's death.



  1. ^ Juliane Lorenz interview in Lorenz (ed) Chaos as Usual: Conversations about Rainer Werner Fassbinder, 1997, Applause, p241
  2. ^ Kurt Raab und Karsten Peters: Die Sehnsucht des Rainer Werner Fassbinder. Bertelsmann Verlag, München, 1983, ISBN 3-570-03117-9
  3. ^ a b Documentary film My Name is Not Ali (Jannat Ali), Viola Shafik, 2011

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