Damascus: Prominent Syrian actress, May Scaff, was found dead at her apartment in Paris. She was 49, and is survived by her son. A short and solemn statement released by her family said she had died in “mysterious circumstances”, adding that investigations were underway by French police. “It certainly wasn’t suicide,” one family member told Gulf News.
Tributes have been coming in from Syrian actors and television personalities, especially those who have joined the Syrian opposition, where Scaff had been a prominent figure since she left Syria for France in 2013. Cairo-based Jamal Sulaiman wrote: “Farewell May. Never in my life did I met anybody who is more honest or noble than you are. When we were filming together once, you asked me: When are we going to return to Syria? Every time I used to lie and say: Soon. I was certain that this is the answer you wanted to hear, even if you doubted it.”
Scaff was born and raised in Damascus to a mixed Muslim-Christian family. She studied French literature at Damascus University and began acting while still a student, influenced by her uncle Saadallah Wannus, a legendary playwright. She starred in her first film, Echoes of Slides, in 1993 and then performed in television and cinema with prominent directors like Abdul Latif Abdul Hamid, Najdat Anzour, and Nabil Al Maleh.
In 1992, she co-starred in a Syrian television adaptation of Agatha Christie’s 1976 novel Sleeping Murder and in 1996, in Al Ababeed a historical epic co-produced by Syrian Television and Dubai TV, playing what critics described as the “role of her lifetime”. Her latest appearance was in the 2017 epic Orchidia, directed by Hatem Ali. In the late 1990s Scaff founded Teatro, a theatre group that offered a wide range of acting classes and staged performances at an old Damascene home in the Al Qanawat neighbourhood of the Old City. In 2006, she set up the Children of Teatro for kids.