On November 18, the birthday of actor Ahmed Zaki, the owner of the exceptional talent who was distinguished by his ability to impersonate the characters he presents. No matter how difficult or complex the roles were, he mastered his impersonation with unparalleled skill. He was able to transfer models of various personalities from reality to the screen, starting from the doorman and driver, to the minister and the president of the republic.
Ahmed Zaki was keen in his films to present important ideas and bold issues, leaving an immortal imprint in the history of cinema, and critics considered him one of the most prominent pioneers of Egyptian cinema. They called him several titles, including “the dark boy, the black panther, the emperor of Egyptian cinema, the Prize hunter”. On his birthday, let us highlight important stations in his life and his distinguished artistic career.
His Birth & Early Life
His full name is Ahmed Zaki Metwally Abdel Rahman Badawi. He was born on November 18, 1949, in the city of Zagazig, Sharkia Governorate. His family suffered from poverty and distress, and his father died young, and when his mother married another man, his grandfather and uncles raised him.
Ahmed Zaki studied at the Industrial School, where he exhibited his artistic talent through school parties, so the school principal advised him to join the Institute of Dramatic Arts to weigh his great talent by studying acting. A privilege, and he was the first in his class.
Ahmed Zaki’s first appearance on stage was in 1967 through a play entitled “Hamada and Maha”, and then the play “Hello Shalaby” in 1969. Then he participated in the movie “My Son” in 1972 in front of the artist Farid Shawky. The play “The School of the Rioters” with Adel Imam and Saeed Saleh in 1973.
Ahmed Zaki’s journey towards stardom began with his starring role in the comedy play “Not children anymore” in 1978, while his first leading role in the movie “Shafiqa and Metwally” opposite Soad Hosni in 1979. In the same year, he initiated his television career, playing the role of the dean of Arabic literature, Taha Hussein, in the series “Al-Ayyam”.
The dark boy presented many works of art that are still immortal in the minds of viewers, as he presented nearly 80 films, the most important of which are “The Black Panther, The Innocent, The Wife of an Important Man, The Egg and the Stone, Nasser 56, Laugh The Picture Looks Sweet, The Days of Sadat, Halim ” . On television, he participated in 19 series, most notably “The Days, He and She, Birds Without Wings, The Grove of Thorns”. On stage, he perfromed 6 plays, including “Hello Shalaby, the children have grown up”.
In addition to Ahmed Zaki’s unique talent in acting, singing had a role in his career. Where he presented many interesting songs in his films, which the audience still hears and sings until now. Despite his voice that does not resemble the voices of singers, Ahmed Zaki succeeded in performing comedic songs, the most famous of which were “I’m in the Labora” in the movie “Caporia”, and “Istakuza” in the movie of the same name. And in the movie “Mr. Karate”, he sang many songs, including “Oh, Donia, girl of the eh”, “Drum you dance” and “Oh country, why did you love you?”
During the events of the movie “The Egg and the Stone”, he performed the songs “Al-Darbandukh” and “Al-Hajays”, which strongly expressed the development of his character in the film. And we can’t forget the song “Ana Bayh” from the movie “Al-Bayh Al-Bawab”. He was also able to brilliantly embody the role of a singer in the movie “Hysteria” without using the voice of a real singer, and he himself performed two of the most difficult songs of Umm Kulthum, “I ask your soul” and “Wasfoli patience”, in addition to the song “Mal Al Qamar Malha” by Muhammad Fawzy. . The touching song “Even if you can’t laugh don’t cry”, which he sang in the same movie, remains stuck in the audience’s mind to this day. In addition, Ahmed Zaki participated in singing the titers of the series “He and She” alongside Cinderella Soad Hosni, and in one of the episodes he sang a sad song entitled “Stay Strong”.
The disagreement between the emperror and the leader
Ahmed Zaki and Adel Imam had a large audience, and their fans wished to see them in one artwork after the “Hooligans School”, but this play is the first and last work that brought together the two stars. This is due to the differences that erupted between them at the time, and the artistic career of the brown boy continued for more than 30 years, as well as after his death. The differences had begun in the scenes of the play, where Adel Imam and the rest of the artists used to ridicule and provoke Ahmed Zaki, especially as he is strongly influenced and quick to anger. Artistic jealousy was also one of the reasons for the dispute between the two stars, as Adel Imam wished to be in the same talent as Ahmed Zaki, while the emperor wished to achieve the same revenues that the leader achieves in his films.
In addition, Ahmed Zaki, in his press interviews, attacked Adel Imam, accusing him of spoiling the public’s taste because of the quality of the films he presents. On the other hand, Adel Imam takes advantage of Ahmed Zaki’s fear of illness and death, so he keeps talking about them whenever chance brings them together, until it causes him tension and annoyance. Even after the death of the Black Panther, the impact of these disagreements continued. During Haitham Ahmed Zaki’s participation with Adel Imam in the series “Professor and Head of Department,” Adel Imam mocked late Ahmed Zaki several times, which Haitham did not accept, so the leader apologized to him and kissed his head in front of everyone. .
Destiny played a strange coincidence between Ahmed Zaki and Adel Imam, as many of the roles that Adel Imam played, Ahmed Zaki had been nominated first and vice versa. Including the movie “Birds of Darkness”, which the writer Waheed Hamed presented to Ahmed Zaki first, so he asked him to embody the character “Fatehi Nofal”, but Waheed Hamed nominated Adel Imam for this character, and Ahmed Zaki for the character of “Ali Al-Zanati”, the emperor refused to complete the film. As well as the movie “Al-Bayah Al-Bawab”, in which Adel Imam filmed some of its scenes, then disagreed with the producer, so that the film went to Ahmed Zaki. Ahmed Zaki also recorded the introduction to the movie “The Professional”, but due to his dispute with director Muhammad Khan, the role went to Adel Imam. As for the movie “Love in the Dungeon”, Ahmed Zaki contracted to star in it in front of Ferdous Abdel Hamid. One day, the two were surprised that the film was being filmed by the artists Adel Imam and Soad Hosni.
Awards and Honors
Ahmed Zaki has received many awards, most notably a prize for the movie “Bird on the Road” from the Cairo International Film Festival, an award for the movie “Eyes That Never Sleeps” from the Film Association, and an award for the movie “One Woman is Not Enough” from the Alexandria Festival And an award for the film “Caporia” from the Cairo International Film Festival. In the list of the 100 best Egyptian films, he has 6 films, which are “The Innocent, The Wife of an Important Man, Love Over the Pyramid Hill, Alexandria Les, Hind’s Dreams, Camelia and Sons of Silence”, making him the third most artist with artworks on the list.
His Personal life
Ahmed Zaki married the artist Hala Fouad in 1983, after a great love story, and he had his only son, Haitham. But their marriage did not last long because of Hala Fouad’s desire to continue working in art, which was rejected by Ahmed Zaki, who wanted his wife to retire from acting and devote herself to raising their son, and establishing a large stable family. Where Ahmed Zaki suffered in his childhood from the feeling of being an orphan and loneliness, and deprivation of the warmth of home and family, and he did not want his son to suffer from the same feeling.
The Makeup artist Mohamed Ashoub stated that Ahmed Zaki tried to commit suicide when he received the news of Hala Fouad’s death, and he fell into a state of hysteria because of his grief over her passing, and he kept repeating: “I am the one who killed her.” On more than one occasion, Ahmed Zaki confirmed that Hala Fouad was the love of his life, which he lost because of stubbornness. Therefore, he did not marry after their separation, despite her marriage to businessman Ezz El-Din Barakat
Illness Cancer and vision loss
Ahmed Zaki was a heavy smoker, which made him develop lung cancer, and he lived through a harsh struggle with the disease that lasted nearly a year before his death. The doctor treating him revealed that he had lost his sight before his death, because his cancer had caused pressure on the optic nerve and left him blind. However, Ahmed Zaki resorted to a trick so that no one would know about his loss of sight, as he was dealing normally as if he saw, and he was holding newspapers and pretending to read. Some of his fellow artists knew about this but did not tell him out of respect for his wish.
The giant Ahmed Zaki passed away on March 27, 2005 at the age of 55, after a long struggle with cancer that had spread to the lung and liver. This is after an artistic career full of valuable cinematic works, which remained stuck in the conscience of the Egyptians.