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Thursday, 28 June, 2001, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
Egyptians mourn screen Cinderella
Funeral of Souad Hosni in Cairo
Hosni was among the most beloved film stars in the Arab world
Thousands of mourners have paid tribute to Egyptian actress Souad Hosni at her funeral in Cairo on Thursday.

The Egyptian actress, beloved throughout the Arab world, died in London after a fall from a sixth-story window on 22 June.

Souad Hosni on a visit to Beirut in 1973
Hosni was the symbol of an age for many Egyptians
She was 58, and had been suffering from a serious illness for several years.

There have been suggestions in the Egyptian press that her death was suicide, and an inquest has been opened in London. A report is expected by 15 August.

Egyptian television interrupted its programming to announce the death of the actress, who starred in some 75 films.

National mourning

President Hosni Mubarak was reported to have been involved in plans to repatriate her body.


She is a symbol of days of vigour and liveliness, and now these days are over

Egyptian novelist
Gamal al-Gheitany
"Souad Hosni was unique. There was only one and there will never be another," actress Athar el-Hakim told the news agency AFP at the funeral.

"She is a symbol of days of vigour and liveliness, and now these days are over," said Egyptian novelist Gamal al-Gheitany.

Hosni was born in Cairo on 26 January 1943 - one of a family of 17 children.

Her career began at the age of three when she sang on the popular children's radio programme Papa Sharo.

'Cinderella'

She was known as the Cinderella of Egyptian cinema.

A brother of Souad Hosni grieving as her body arrives at the airport in Cairo
One of Hosni's brothers is comforted
When she took to the screen, her skill in roles such as Hassam and Naima - based on the Romeo and Juliet story - captured the hearts of film lovers instantly.

Her most famous role was that of a college student who falls in love with her teacher in the 1974 film Khali Balak min Zouzou - Take Care of Zouzou.

But Hosni was also capable of hard-hitting roles such as that of a student tortured in Egyptian prisons in Al-Karnak - an adaptation of a novel by Nobel prize winner Naguib Mahfouz.

Her prolonged illness led her to stop making films in the early 1990s.

Hosni was married four times but had no children.

Her final screen appearance was in 1991 in a film directed by her ex-husband Ali Badakhan.

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See also:

22 Jun 01 | Film
Egyptian screen star dies
18 Jun 01 | Country profiles
Country Profile: Egypt
12 Jun 01 | Middle East
Timeline: Egypt
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