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22 December 1910
|Died||6 June 1983
|Spouse(s)||Alwiya Gamil (1939 – 1983)|
Mahmoud el-Meliguy (Arabic: محمود المليجي, Maḥmoūd al-Meleygī; 22 December 1910 – 6 June 1983) was an Egyptian screenwriter and an actor of film, theatre, and television. He started his career playing minor roles, but achieved stardom in the late 1930s. A popular and award-winning actor, he has acted in hundreds of films and was famous for his evil, villain roles. Because of his resemblance to Marlon Brando, he is nicknamed “Marlon Brando of the East”.
Early life and career
Mahmoud el-Meliguy was born to a Muslim family in the Megharbleen district in Cairo from a family of Kurdish origins. His father, Hussein el-Meliguy, was a well-known trader in the area. He traded in cars and race horses. He had a great desire to become a singer and was taking lessons from a professional trainer, but his father opposed him and convinced him to quit and focus on his studies. He turned to boxing, a sport he always loved, but eventually quit after being injured. In his school, el-Meliguy was the leader of the acting group. In one of the school group's performances, he was noticed by Fatma Roushdi, the founder of the Fatma Roushdi acting group, who convinced him to join her group.
Mahmoud started his acting career in the early 1930s as a member of Fatma Roushdi's group. His first role was in the play 667 Zeitoun (667 Olive). He played minor roles, like the role of a butler or a servant, and was paid a small fee of four Egyptian pounds. Roushdi, who had noticed his acting skills and potentials, offered him his first major role, a leading role in the 1933 comedy film directed by the Italian film director Mario Folby, El-Zawag (The Marriage). The film was a failure, which made el-Meliguy leave Roushdi's group. In 1936, he joined the famous Ramses group, which was founded and headed by Youssef Wahbi, and again played minor roles. He received a stipend of nine Egyptian pounds for his work with the group. He left the group and moved to several other groups before being chosen for his first villain role.
El-Meliguy's breakthrough role came when Mohamed Abdel Wahab chose him to star in the film Lastu Malakan (I'm Not an Angel). He was paid 900 Egyptian pounds and quickly achieved stardom. People praised him for the villain role he played in that film, and film critics described him as “the wickedness of cinema”.
Mahmoud el-Meliguy met the Egyptian actress Olwiyya Gamil in 1938 and married her in 1939. He acted in several films with her. The couple had a happy and strong relationship. They did not have children together but raised two sons, Gamal El-Din and Morsi, and a daughter, Isis, from Olwiyya's previous marriage. In 1963, after 24 years of his marriage to Olwiyya Gamil, he married another woman, a young actress named Fawziyah al-Ansari, but their marriage lasted no longer than three days. Olwiyya had allegedly compelled him to divorce her. His marriage with Olwiyya Gamil ended in 1983, with his death.