Dubai: Award winning Egyptian actor, Ezzat Abou Aouf, died on Monday morning in a hospital in Cairo. The beloved entertainer had been suffering from heart and liver problems over the last few years, for which he was receiving treatment. In his last few weeks alive, he had been staying in a hospital at the Mohandesin suburb of Cairo.
The late artist acted in over 100 works of art, including cinema, television and theatre. He also loved music and developed soundtracks for many productions. He was also the director of the Cairo International Film Festival for seven years, pioneering the movie industry in Egypt.
A son of well-known musician Ahmad Shafiq Abu Ouf, Ezzat studied medicine and practised it for years before he launched a career in music. Originally an obstetrician, he decided to leave the medical field behind to start a band with his four sisters, Mona, Maha, Manal and Mervat. The band was called 4M. They were active for several years. As they started becoming more prominent on the scene, the actor’s goofy looks and charming ways were noticed by many in the Egyptian cinema industry, and he started receiving offers to act on the big screen.
Successful acting career
He made his debut in the 1992 musical “Ice Cream in Gleem” featuring mega-pop singer Amr Diab.
He also performed in about 100 other films and TV soap operas that brought him together with Egypt’s lead actors. His roles varied from light comedy to melodrama.
Abu Ouf appeared in “Birds of the Dark”, a 1995 political film exposing the now-outlawed Muslim Brotherhood. He also acted in the 2005 political satire “The Embassy in the Building” that tackles Egypt’s links with Israel after their 1979 peace treaty. Both popular films star super-comedian Adel Imam.
He portrayed Egypt’s legendary musician Mohammad Abdul Wahab in “Halim”, a 3006 bio-pic on the life of Egyptian iconic singer Abdul Halim Hafez.
In 2006, Abu Ouf became the head of the Cairo Film Festival and steered its helm for seven years.
He also hosted several talk shows and composed scores of several Egyptian films. His last screen appearance was in May in a TV commercial promoting a mobile phone company.
Tributes pour in
Abu Ouf’s death triggered an outpouring of tributes. “Egypt today lost one of its artistic landmarks,” said Ashraf Zaki, the head of the Egyptian Actors’ Union.
“My deep condolences over the death of dear Dr Ezzat Abu Ouf. May God have mercy upon him,” said pop icon Amr Diab.
“He was known in Egypt to be a very generous person. His home was always open to everyone. He would take the shirt off his back. He spoke to fans all the time and would buy lunch for people who were sitting around him at any restaurant,” Mona Helmy, an Egyptian expat living in Dubai told Gulf News.
In the words of another Egyptian expat, Riham Hammad, “He lit up the screen with an impressive presence and outstanding performances. He will remain in the hearts of millions.”
His funeral will take place on Monday, at the Sayeda Nafisa Mosque shortly after the noon prayers Cairo time.
Abu Ouf will be buried in the family’s cemetery in suburban Cairo, according to media reports. He is survived by daughter Mariam, who is a film director and a son, Kamal.