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PHOTO CREDIT: Above photo by John Rickman Photography, San Jose, California.

Rushdy Abaza: The Don Juan of Egyptian Cinema


By Priscilla Adum




The Wives

Rushdy Abaza, a prominent Egyptian actor known as "the Don Juan of Egyptian cinema", was married to five women over the years, including three fabulous celebrities. Among his wives were Taheya Carioca, Samia Gamal, and Lebanese singer Sabah.

Taheya Carioca was his second wife. This photo shows the two of them together while they were married. The marriage lasted three years.

Click on this and the other photos on this page to see more detail.

Taheya Carioca and Rushdie Abaza

Abaza's third wife was an American named Barbara. She gave birth to a daughter, Qesmat, sometimes spelled Kismet. Their marriage lasted four years.

Abaza married Samia Gamal in 1962 (some sources say 1958), after her marriage to Shepard King, the American from Texas, ended in divorce. Samia was Abaza's fourth wife.

In this photo, Rushdy Abaza hugs his sister at her wedding. Samia Gamal looks on from behind them.

Rushdie Abaza at sister's wedding

This photo shows Rushdy Abaza with his wife Samia Gamal, his three sisters, and his young daughter Qesmat from his earller marriage to Barbara the American.

[Editor's Note: At age 50, Samia Gamal did a television interview with Tarik Habib, and made some comments about her marriage to Rushdy Abaza in the interview. Click here for the English translation of the interview.]

Rushdie Abaza with the women in his life

Abaza married Sabah in 1977 in Lebanon while filming there. At the time, he was still married to Samia Gamal! Apparently, he failed to inform Sabah that he and Samia were not divorced.

However, some reports say that Sabah was well aware of the fact that he and Samia were still married. The story goes that she agreed to marry him under the condition that their marriage remain a secret until he could inform Samia about it. When the news leaked to the press a couple of days later, Sabah asked for a divorce. The marriage to Sabah lasted only three days.

There is a famous quote from Sabah who said, "Whoever hasn't been married to Rushdy Abaza, hasn't been married." (Her words are always repeated with a broad wink.)

Samia decided to look the other way. When she heard about her husband's marriage to Sabah in Lebanon, she told friends that she was just going to act like it never happened, and she wasn't going to question her husband about it or act angry. And that's exactly what she did.

When Abaza came home from his filming in Lebanon (newly divorced from Sabah) the first thing he did was to ask if there was a Sabah record in the house because he wanted to listen to her sing. Samia went and fetched it for him.

It's been said that the only woman who ever put up with Rushdy Abaza and his womanizing ways was Samia Gamal. She was the wife who remained married to him the longest.

Rushdy Abaza's fifth and final wife was Nabila Abaza, a cousin.




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About the Translator

Priscilla is a dancer of Lebanese heritage who enjoys researching the Golden Era of Egyptian dance. She owns a collection of more than one hundred classic black and white Egyptian films which is continually expanding.

Priscilla has also gathered a large library of dance related articles and clippings from Middle Eastern magazines and newspapers, many of which she has translated from the original Arabic to both English and Spanish.

Priscilla currently resides in Central America where she is a dance instructor. 




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