March 8 is the birthday of the great artist Samiha Ayoub, who is one of the prominent signs in the history of Egyptian theater. She is the owner of the longest artistic career in the history of Arab cinema, alongside the able artist Amina Rizk. She has worked in cinema and theater for more than 75 years. That is why critics and audiences called her “The Lady of Arab Theatre”. On this occasion, we bring to you in the following lines the most important information that you may not know about the artist Samiha Ayoub.
Her birth and Early Life
Her full name is Samiha Ayoub Othman Ahmed. She was born on March 8, 1932, in the Shubra district of Cairo. She studied at the Nuns’ School, which helped her to be fully committed and to master the classical Arabic language. Then she joined the Institute of Dramatic Arts, where she studied at the hands of its founder, the great artist Zaki Tulaimat, and graduated from it in 1953. As for the story of her joining the institute, it came by pure chance, as she wished to become a ballet dancer, and one day she went with a friend of hers who was taking the entrance exams to the institute. Committee members saw Samiha Ayoub standing in silence close to them. They asked her if she liked acting, and she replied that she liked acting for Youssef Wehbe and Laila Murad, without knowing that Youssef Wehbe was among the members of the committee. After she excelled in presenting a representative scene in front of the committee, Zaki Tulaimat obtained a request from the Minister of Education to join the institute, as she was only 16 years old at the time, less than the permitted age at the institute, and he also asked her to join his theater group.
Her Acting Career
Samiha Ayoub began her artistic career in conjunction with her studies at the institute. Her first work was in 1938, where she presented the character of Mary Magdalene in a movie entitled “The Life and Pain of the Lord Christ” with Ahmed Allam, Aziza Helmy, Kamal Hussein and Tawfiq Al-Daqn. Her real breakthrough came in 1947, when director Mohamed Abdel Gawad and author Abdel Aziz Salam chose her to participate in the movie “The Homeless” with Hikmat Fahmy, Mohsen Sarhan, Siraj Mounir and Mary Munib. After that, her films followed, in which she embodied many diverse roles, and her films amounted to about 40 films, the most famous of which are: The beach of love, the rose of love, my heart is on my son, a date with happiness, God is with us, the heart has provisions, the daughter of the desert, among the ruins, the flower seller, the sun does not extinguish, Adham Al-Sharqawi, the land of hypocrisy, the dawn of Islam, the big night, a terrible tita “
She also presented several television series, including: “The Virgin of Mecca, a city story, scare fantasy, escape, ladies and gentlemen, Mashrabiya, Muhammad is the Messenger of God, Al-Mahrousa, the adventures of Zakia Hanim, Saad Al-Yateem, Dhul-Nun Al-Masry, the crescentic biography, stray light, inheritance of the wind, time of roses, seizure and fetch, princess.” In Abdeen, street children, soldiers and thieves, silver with a white heart, bats, birth and absent owner, extra sugar, good mood, peacocks.
The lady of the Arab theater
Samiha Ayoub’s acting debut came on stage with the participation of the Zaki Tulaimat Troupe. Her first performance was a play entitled “In the Service of the Queen”. In addition to acting, Samiha Ayoub managed the Modern Theater between 1972 and 1975. After that, she held the position of General Director of the National Theater from 1975 to 1981. Over the course of her artistic career, her theatrical balance amounted to nearly 170 plays. Including: “Soft hands, disciple of Satan, Rabi’a al-Adawiya, the safety rail, the stairwell, the death of Cleopatra, Antonio and Cleopatra, blood on the curtains of the Kaaba, the soft hands, Agha Memnon, the Caucasian chalk circle, the Khedive, the people in the third, in the middle of the day, near and strange The network, oh we, oh she.” She has 5 experiences in theatrical direction, including the plays “Maqlab Attiyat” and “The Night of Henna”.
Awards and Honors
Samiha Ayoub has won many awards, and she was honored by giving her name to the sixth Sharm El-Sheikh International Festival for Youth Theater in 2021. Among the most important awards it received:
- The Republic Medal of the First Class for Art from President Gamal Abdel Nasser in 1966.
- Knight Medal from French President Giscard d’Estaing in 1977.
- Certificate of appreciation from President Mohamed Anwar Sadat in 1979.
- The Order of Merit, first class, from Syrian President Hafez al-Assad in 1983.
- The State Appreciation Award in Arts from the Supreme Council of Culture in 2015.
List of the 100 best films in the history of Egyptian cinema
One of the films in which Samiha Ayoub participated was selected in the list of the 100 best films in the history of Egyptian cinema, which is the movie “The Beast”, which was produced in 1954. Anwar Wajdi, Samia Jamal, Mahmoud Al-Maliji and Abbas Faris took part in the tournament. It is written by Naguib preserved, and directed by Salah Abu Seif. It ranks number 70 on the list.
Samiha Ayoub got married four times, all from within the artistic community. Her first marriage was with the artist Mohsen Sarhan, when she was still at the beginning of her artistic career. She was playing the role of his little sister in the movie “The Tramp”. They separated after a short marriage that lasted for three years, during which she gave birth to her son, “Mahmoud”, who died in 2010. As for the second marriage, she was with the artist Mahmoud Morsi, whom she met for the first time while he was teaching at the Institute of Dramatic Arts. She bore him a son, Alaa. However, she soon separated from him. Then came her third and longest marriage, with writer and playwright Saad El-Din Wahba, where a great love story arose between them during the presentation of the play “Al-Sibnsa”, and their marriage lasted for 30 years until his death in 1997. As for her last marriage, it was a customary marriage with director Ahmed Al-Nahhas, which lasted for 18 years
The crisis of customary marriage and pension
Samiha Ayoub experienced a major crisis in her personal life in 2018. As director Ahmed Al-Nahhas surprisingly published their customary marriage document, after their marriage was kept secret for 18 years. The crisis increased after Samiha Ayoub tried to deny this marriage, as he published a picture of her in home clothes, inside the marital home. Which some considered inappropriate for the great status of the lady of the Arab theater.
Ahmed Al-Nahhas tried to clarify the matter, justifying Samiha Ayoub’s position on not announcing their marriage by wanting to continue illegally obtaining the pension of her late husband Saad Eddin Wahba, in partnership with his two daughters. Noting that throughout his marriage to her, he did not know that she had obtained the pension, and that the reason for his knowledge was the complaint submitted by the daughters of Saad Al-Din Wahba, to prevent Samiha Ayoub from obtaining her share of the pension illegally, because of her remarriage. He confirmed that Samiha Ayoub asked him to deny their marriage and justify his presence with her for long periods of time as her business manager, in order to win her case. However, he refused perjury, and filed a lawsuit before the family court to prove the marriage. This was approved by the court, and the Department of Pensions informed Samiha Ayoub that Saad Eddin Wahba’s pension would be cut off after her marriage was proven. It gave her an opportunity to return the money she had received, which amounted to 517 thousand pounds.
After the disputes escalated between Samiha Ayoub and Ahmed Al-Nahhas, she filed a lawsuit accusing him of forging her signature on bank checks in order to obtain $120,000 from her money deposited in a bank. He also obtained a loan of 3 million pounds against the guarantee of her own deposit. For the Cairo Criminal Court to convict director Ahmed Al-Nahhas of forging her signature, and sentenced him to 10 years in prison.