Egyptian actor Sayed Zayan in a scene from a TV serial.

Cairo: Prominent Egyptian actor Sayed Zayan, best known for roles in popular stage and TV comedies, died on Wednesday after long illness, the Actors’ Union said. He was 73.

Zayan passed away at his family’s house in the Shaikh Zayed quarter outside Cairo.

Having launched an acting career in the 1960s, Zayan became a big name when he performed in ‘My Fair Lady’, a 1969 comedy adopted from George Bernard Shaw classic ‘Pygmalion’.

Zayan has since acted in around 170 works including stage shows, films and TV serials. He is remembered for his roles in stage comedies including ‘The Green Soldier’, ‘The Cabbie’ and ‘The Stupid and I’.

He also appeared in several critically acclaimed films including ‘Excuse Me, Law’ and ‘I want a Solution’ both tackling women’s problems in Egypt.

He was also famed for one liners mainly in his hit stage comedies. In 2003, Zayan suffered a stroke which he survived with a paralysis. His last work was ‘White and White’, a TV drama screened in 2003. Since then, he has rarely been seen in public

Zayan belonged to Egypt’s golden era of comedians, including Fouad Al Mohandess, Shewikar Abdul Moneim Madbuli and Adel Emam.

Egyptian Culture Minister Helmi Al Namnam eulogised Zayan, calling him “a great value in the art of comedy”.

“He has etched his name on the hearts of admirers with his many roles,” the minister said in a statement on Wednesday.

Zayan’s funeral was expected to be held later on Wednesday.