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Samia Gamal

 Samia Gamal.jpg

Born Zeinab Ali Khalil Ibrahim Mahfouz
27 May 1924
Bani Swaif, Egypt
Died 1 December 1994 (aged 70)
Cairo, Egypt
Years active 1942–1963
Spouse(s) Rushdy Abaza (1958-1977) (divorced)
Shepard King (1952-?) (divorced)




Samia Gamal (Arabic: سامية جمال‎‎, born as Zaynab Ibrahim Mahfuz, 27 May 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 Oriental Dance recognition and admiration in Egypt and worldwide.



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


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