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On the centenary of Abdul Monem Madbuli’s birth… The life story of the “Comedy School Principal”

On December 26, the centenary of the birth of the Principal of the comedy school, the great artist Abdel Moneim Madbouly, who was distinguished by his lightness of shadow and his many roles between comedies and tragic ones. He is the “Madbolism”, the founder of a unique acting and directing school, and “Baba Abdo”, who is known for the roles of a kind father. He left his distinctive mark in the history of Egyptian cinema, capturing the hearts of millions of viewers in Egypt and the Arab world. To remain a symbol of high-end comedy, and his immortal artwork continues to draw laughter on the faces of his fans, despite the passage of many years since his death. On the anniversary of his birth, we review with you his life story and stations from his artistic career.

His Birth & Early Life

Abdel Moneim Madbouly Hassan was born on December 28, 1921, in the Bab El Shaeria neighborhood of Cairo. His father passed away a few months after his birth, leaving his mother alone in charge of raising him and his siblings. His acting talent appeared early, as he was nominated during the primary stage to lead the school’s theater group. He graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts and worked as a professor in the Sculpture Department until the mid-seventies, before joining the Higher Institute of Arab Acting Art in 1945. After graduating in 1949, he joined the George Abyad troupe and then the Fatima Rushdie troupe. Madbouly began his artistic career in the famous radio program “An Hour for Your Heart”, and also participated in acting in children’s programs on radio within the episodes of the “Baba Sharo” program.

Theater and theater groups

Abdel Moneim Madbouly participated in his first theatrical work with the Egyptian Modern Theater Troupe, founded by Zaki Tulaimat. Then he himself began to establish several theater groups, the first of which was called the Free Theater in 1952, through which he presented plays such as: “The Rebellious Land, Hesbah Barma, I am afraid to marry, my wife Namira 11, the cocktail of wonders.” In 1963, he founded the Comedy Theater Troupe, through which he presented the most prominent theatrical performances, namely: He and she, Be patient Sheikh Allam, the inspector general, the technical secretary, Desouki Effendi, the origin and image, the singer of emotions, Julfdan Hanim.

After that, Madbouly participated in the formation of the United Artists Troupe in 1966, which performed several plays, including: Red Pajamas, Tenth Husband, Good Children. Then he separated from the troupe in 1973 to form in 1975 his own troupe under the name Al-Madbolism, through which he presented successful plays. Such as: “A man like no other, O owner of my heart, was born in the lost time, with my sincere regards, a donkey, there is no need.” The balance of his plays throughout his artistic career reached 120 plays.

Cinema and TV

Abdel Moneim Madbouly’s entry into the world of cinema came a little late, as he began his cinematic career in 1951, and his first movie was “Fel Hawa Sawa”, after which he presented a series of successful films and various roles, which have remained stuck in the audience’s memory to this day. The number of films Madbouly participated in reached 150, including: “The grandson is born, Dunya, we are on the bus, a quarter of a dozen villains, a very funny world, a love hunt, a school of rioters, between heaven and earth, a millionaire against his nose, a beach of fun, a love in a cell, a fake millionaire, the bravest man in the world.”  His last film work was the movie “I Want to Take It Off” with the artist Ashraf Abdel Baqi, in which he appeared as a guest of honor, but his role was distinguished and had a great impact on the events of the film.

As for television, Abdel Moneim Madbouly presented 30 drama series, including: “Two below zero, world uncle Amin, goodbye, spring of life, marriage is my way, no, my dear daughter, and my dear children.. Thank you.” It is the series in which he presented the character “Baba Abdo”, which became one of his titles after the series was shown and it achieved great public success. He also presented singing shows, “Grandpa Abdo planted his land.” The series “Al-Kalam Al-Mubah” (The Permissible Words) was the last television series he participated in in 2005. In addition, Madbouly presented nearly 22 radio series, including: “The Dajjal, me, her and Wes, Hiam and the dream catcher.”

A do-it-all artist

Abdel Moneim Madbouly was a comprehensive and creative artist in more than one field of art, not just acting. Among those arts are painting and sculpture, and many exhibitions of his paintings and sculptural works were held for him. Some of his paintings were placed in the Presidency of the Republic and the Ministry of Culture. He also participated in the repair of the paintings of the Mansterly Palace.In addition, Madbouly enriched cinema, television and theater with his artistic additions as an author and director, as well as composing and singing, and recording several advertisements with his voice. Madbouly has always taken pride in his all-round talent, likening himself to Charlie Chaplin, who takes on the same missions.

In addition to his distinguished performance on stage as an actor, he directed many of his famous plays, including: “With my best regards, School of Rioters, Technical Secretary, Airport of Love, Namera 2 Yissb, Locanda Al-Firdaws, singer of emotions.” He has also directed plays for fellow artists such as: “Eve at 12 o’clock, me and her and His Highness, me and him and her” by Fouad Al-Mohandes and Shweikar. And “Your dream, Sheikh Allam, is the most beautiful meeting in the world” by Amin Al-Hunaidi. and “The Bulldozer, Al-Wad Al-Nims” by Mohamed Negm. He has also authored and written many films, including: “A quarter of a dozen villains, threshold mozzar, fake millionaire, hamza’s bag, love in August, please kill me, he and she, lovers of a woman.”

Singing for kids

Abdel Moneim Madbouly was famous for his great love for children, and therefore he made sure to make them happy by participating in singing at Children’s Day parties, and presenting many children’s songs in his films and series. Which was engraved in the hearts of all Egyptian children for decades, and remained immortal in the memory of Egyptian television and cinema. He was keen to choose words that carry an important message or useful information for children. Among the most famous of these songs are “Tot Toot and Al-Shater Omar”, which he sang during the events of the series “My Dear Sons.. Thank you.” They are from the words of Sayed Hegab and composed by Ammar Al-Sharei. And the song “Helketak Birmaltak” from the movie “Al-Hafid”. 

This great success of Madbouly’s songs for children made him present a number of other songs that were very successful. In the foreground are the songs of the movie “Bold Ya Donya”, which are “Ya Sabr Tayeb” from the words of Morsi Jamil Aziz and composed by Kamal Al-Taweel, and “Zaman and Was Yama Kaan”, which are from the words of Morsi Jamil Aziz and composed by Ali Ismail. The late artist Shadia also participated in the song “Your Love Janna” from the play “Raya and Sakina”, which was written by Abdel-Wahhab Muhammad and composed by Baligh Hamdi, and the song “Shabakna Al-Hakam” was written by Baligh Hamdi and composed by Muhammad Hamza.

Multiple nicknames

Abdel Moneim Madbouly was known, since 1962, by the nickname “The Madboulyzm”, a metaphor for his distinctive style and distinctive manner of performance in acting, writing and directing theatrical performances. Where he had a special style and was the first comedian to improvise on the stage, and this method was new at this time, so it received some criticism at first, but it was a great success later, and critics called it “Madbolism”.

Madbouly was also known as the “Nazir of the Comedy School” after he presented the character of the “Nazir” in the play “The School of Rioters”, which he directed and participated in for 3 years before he withdrew from it. As for the nickname “Baba Abdo”, which is Madbouly’s favorite, he became famous after introducing that character in the famous social series “My Dear Sons.. Thank you,” which discussed the issue of family interdependence, the extent of the father’s need for his children, as well as the children’s constant need for their father, regardless of their age. And that is through the personality of the father, who is over sixty, and discovers after he was referred to the pension that his children have moved away from him a lot and he needs to get to know them again.

Awards and Honors

During his artistic career, Abdel Moneim Madbouly received many awards and honor certificates, the most important of which are: Best Actor Award in Cinema for his films “The grandson”, “Hey Captain” and “ Mawled Ya Donia”. He was also awarded the 1st Class Medal of Science and Arts in 1983. The State Appreciation Award for his overall work in 1984. In 1986, he received a tribute award at the Zaki Tulaimat Festival. The late President Mohamed Anwar El-Sadat honored him with a special certificate of appreciation at the Academy of Arts for his role in the series “My Dear Sons..Thank you.”

Marriages and children

Abdel Moneim Madbouly married Mrs. Najat, whom he had known since childhood, as she was his neighbor and a student at the College of Fine Arts. When he thought about stability and marriage, he did not find another in his imagination, and feelings of love began to fill his heart towards her, so he proposed to marry her and they had three sons, Amal, Muhammad and Mahmoud. Madbouly would listen to her opinion in all his artworks and take it into consideration, and he was afraid of her opinion because her criticism was harsh without compliment. He always described her as a guerrilla because she alone carried all the responsibilities of the house and raising children.

His Death

In the mid-1980s, Abdel Moneim Madbouly fell ill with liver cancer, so he traveled abroad and underwent surgery and was cured. But in 2006, a few months before his death, he discovered that the cancer had returned in the spleen, so he traveled to France, but doctors refused to perform surgery on him due to his age. He returned to Egypt and dealt with the disease with medication, but his health deteriorated. In his late days, he developed pneumonia and severe heart failure, and was transferred to intensive care after entering a long coma that lasted for weeks. The comedy giant passed away on July 9, 2006, at the age of 85.

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