Samia Gamal

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Samia Gamal
سامية جمال
Samia Gamal.jpg
BornZeinab Ali Khalil Ibrahim Mahfouz
(1924-03-05)5 March 1924
Bani Swaif, Egypt
Died1 December 1994(1994-12-01) (aged 70)
Cairo, Egypt
Years active1942–1963
Spouse(s)Rushdy Abaza (1958-1977) (divorced)
Shepard King (1952-?) (divorced)

Samia Gamal (Arabic: سامية جمال‎, born as Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz, 5 March 1924 – 1 December 1994) was an Egyptian belly dancer and film actress.


Born in the small Egyptian town of Wana in 1924, Samia's family moved just months later to Cairo and settled near the Khan El-Khalili bazaar. It was many years later that Samia Gamal met Badia Masabni, the founder of modern Oriental dance. Badia offered Samia an invitation to join her dance company, which Samia accepted. Badia Masabni gave her the stage name Samia Gamal, and she began her dance career.

Samia Gamal and Farid Al-Attrach in the Egyptian film Afrita hanem (Genie Lady) (1949)

At first, she studied under Badia and Badia's star dancer at the time, Tahiya Karioka. However she soon became a respected soloist and brought forth her own style. Samia Gamal incorporated techniques from ballet and Latin dance into her solo performances. She was also the first to perform with high-heeled shoes on stage. She starred in dozens of Egyptian films next to the famous Farid Al Attrach. They could be thought of as the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of the Middle East. They not only played each other's love interest on the silver screen but also in real life. However, their love was not meant to be. Because of Farid's social position, he refused to marry Samia. Farid believed that marriage kills artist talent,[1] he never married. Some claim that Farid as a Druze prince, told her it would bring too much shame to his family for him to marry a belly dancer; but the claim is baseless. Farid helped placing Samia on the National Stage by risking all he owned, and managed to borrow to produce a film (Habib al omr) co-starring with her in 1947.

In 1949, Egypt's King Farouk proclaimed Samia Gamal "The National Dancer of Egypt", which brought US attention to the dancer.

In 1950, Samia came to the US and was photographed by Gjon Mili. She also performed in the Latin Quarter, New York's trendy nightclub. She later married the so-called "Texas millionaire" Shepherd King III, whom, it was later reported only had about $50,000. However, their marriage did not last long.

In 1958, Samia Gamal married Roshdy Abaza, one of the most famous Egyptian actors with whom Samia starred in a number of films. Samia Gamal stopped dancing in 1972 when she was nearly in her 50s but began again after given advice by Samir Sabri. She then danced until the early 1980s.

Samia Gamal died on 1 December 1994, at 70 years of age in Cairo. Samia's charismatic performances in Egyptian and international films gave Egypt's Oriental Dance recognition and admiration in Egypt and worldwide.


On March 5, 2017, Google dedicated a Doodle to the actress for the 93rd anniversary of her birth. The Doodle reached all the countries of the Arab World.[2]


  • Samia Forever (Documentary, 2003)
  • Fabulous Samia Gamal, The, (Documentary, 2003)
  • The Stars of Egypt: Volume 3: Samia Gamal, Part I (Film, 19??)
  • The Stars of Egypt: Volume 3: Samia Gamal, Part II (Film, 19??)
  • Tarik al shaitan aka The Way of the Devil (Film, 1963)
  • Waada el hub a.k.a. And Love Returned (Film, 1961)
  • Nagham el hazine, El a.k.a. Sad Melody (Film, 1960)
  • Rajul el thani, El a.k.a. The Second Man (Film, 1960)
  • Kull daqqa fi qalbi a.k.a. Every Beat of My Heart (Film, 1959)
  • Maweed maa maghoul a.k.a. Rendezvous with a Stranger (Film, 1959)
  • Gharam al-miliunayr a.k.a. Love of the Millionaire (Film, 1957)
  • Amanti del deserto, Gli aka Desert Warrior (Film, 1956)
  • Masque de Toutankhamon, Le aka Trésor des pharaons, Le (Film, 1955)
  • Sigarah wa kas a.k.a. A Glass and a Cigarette (Film, 1955)
  • Ali Baba et les quarante voleurs aka Ali Baba; Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1954 film) (Film, 1954)
  • Valley of the Kings (Film, 1954)
  • Nachala hanem a.k.a. The Lady Pickpocket (Film, 1954)
  • Raqsat al-wadah a.k.a. The Farewell Dance (Film, 1954)
  • El Wahsh a.k.a. The Monster (Film, 1954)
  • Ketar el lail a.k.a. The Night Train (Film, 1953)
  • Ma takulshi la hada a.k.a. Tell No-one; Don't Tell Anyone (Film, 1952)
  • Amir el antikam a.k.a. The Count of Monte Cristo (Film, 1951)
  • Taa la salim a.k.a. Come and Say Hello (Film, 1951)
  • Ahmar shafayef a.k.a. Lipstick (Film, 1950)
  • Akher kedba a.k.a. The Final Lie (Film, 1950)
  • Sakr, El a.k.a. The Falcon (Film, 1950)
  • Nuit des étoiles, La (Film, 1950)
  • Afrita hanem a.k.a. Lady Afrita; Lady Genie; Little Miss Devil; The Genie Lady (Film, 1949)
  • Agaza fel gahannam a.k.a. Holidays in Hell (Film, 1949)
  • Bahebbak inta a.k.a. I Love You Only (Film, 1949)
  • Bint haz a.k.a. The Lucky Girl (Film, 1949)
  • Sparviero del Nilo, Lo (Film, 1949)
  • Mughamer, El a.k.a. The Adventurer (Film, 1948)
  • Sahibat el amara a.k.a. The Landlady (Film, 1948)
  • Ahdab, El a.k.a. The Hunchback (Film, 1947)
  • Ersane talata, El a.k.a. The Three Suitors (Film, 1947)
  • Habib al omr a.k.a. The Love of My Life (Film, 1947)
  • Bani adam, al- a.k.a. Sons of Adam (Film, 1945)
  • Taxi hantur a.k.a. A Hansom Carriage (Film, 1945)
  • Russassa fil kalb a.k.a. A Bullet in the Heart (Film, 1944)
  • Ali Baba wa al arbain harame a.k.a. Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (Film, 1942)
  • Gawhara (Film, 1942)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Remembering Farid al-Atrash - Al Jadid".
  2. ^ "Samia Gamal's 93rd Birthday". 5 March 2017. Retrieved 27 December 2017.

External links[edit]