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Madiha Yousri, iconic Egyptian actress, dies at 97

CAIRO — Madiha Yousri, an Egyptian actress known for her iconic, classical romance roles in the heyday of Egypt’s cinema in the second half of the 20th century, has died. She was 97.

Yousri suffered age-related health problems and was taken to a Cairo military hospital, where she died late on Tuesday of complications, the state MENA news agency reported.

Hundreds of mourners, including prominent film figures, attended Yousri’s funeral on Wednesday at a historic mosque in Cairo’s Sayedah Nafeesa district.

Prime Minister Sherif Ismail mourned Yousri’s passing and offered condolences to her fans. He lauded the late actress’ artistic work, describing her performances as “easy, honest and perfect,” according to a statement issued by his office.

Yousri had more than 90 films to her name, dating back to the 1940s. Her film roles were diverse and engaging, ranging from romantic portrayals in her earlier years to mature roles depicting motherhood.

Some of her famous roles were in films such as “Rassaassa fel kalb,” or “A Bullet in the Heart”; “Ahlaam al-shabaab” or “Youth Dreams”; “Amir Al- Intikam” or “Prince of Revenge” and “Inni Rahela,” or “I Am Leaving.”

She belonged to an era in the Egyptian cinema that critics and entertainers have dubbed its “golden age” — a time roughly stretching from the 1940s to the 1970s.

Yousri also starred in musicals featuring iconic Egyptian singers of the 20th century: Mohamed Abdel-Wahab, Abdel-Halim Hafez, Farid Al-Atrash and Mohamed Fawzy.

Born Hannouma Khalil in 1921, Yousri was married four times. Three of her marriages were to film stars Ahmed Salem, Mohamed Amin and Fawzy. She partnered with both Amin and Fawzy in several movies.

Her fourth husband was Sheikh Salama el-Radi, a Sufi who followed traditions of an ancient form of Islamic mysticism.

Yousri outlived all her husbands. She had two children with Fawzy but they also died years ago.

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