CAIRO (AP) – Mahmoud Yassin, an Egyptian actor and pillar of the country’s film industry in the second half of the 20th century, has passed away. He was 79.
Yassin had been experiencing age-related health problems in recent years and was pronounced dead early in Cairo on Wednesday, according to his family. His son Amr Mahmoud Yassin, also an actor, said his father’s funeral would be on Thursday.
“He was not only a great star, but also a great father,” Amr Mahmoud wrote in an Instagram post.
Mahmoud Yassin collaborated with some of Egypt’s most acclaimed movie stars and filmmakers in a career that first started in the 1960s, including Faten Hamama, Shadia and Soad Hosni.
He went on to play leading roles in the 1970s and 80s, decades when critics said some of Egypt’s best films were produced.
Yassin had more than 150 films to his credit, with roles ranging from romantic to serious and from emotionally disturbed to cheerful and patriotic. His films were based on the stories of famous Egyptian novelists, such as Nobel laureate Naguib Mahfouz and Ihsan Abdel Quddous.
Egyptian Culture Minister Inas Abdel-Dayem mourned Yassin’s death and offered his condolences to his family and fans.
“The creative field has lost one of its icons and a gold star that genuinely articulated the issues of society in its works, which have left lasting traces in the history of acting,” she said in a statement.
Born in 1941 in the Mediterranean province of Port Said, Yassin studied law at Ain Shams University in Cairo. He embarked on an acting career on stage when he entered the country’s national theater in 1963.
He starred in several films during what has been considered the “golden age” of Egyptian cinema – a time that stretched roughly from the 1940s to the 1970s.
He is widely known for his patriotic roles in films depicting the 1967 and 1973 wars in the Middle East, such as ‘The Bullet is Still in My Pocket’ and ‘Ascent to the Abyss’, a film that portrayed Heba Selim, who worked for Mossad in 1960 and was arrested and executed by Egypt.
His famous roles include such films as “Where Is My Mind” with Soad Hosni, “We Do Not Sow Thorns” with Shadia and “Mouths and Rabbits” with Faten Hamama. He also starred in a handful of TV dramas.
Over the past two decades, he has appeared in the 2007 action film ‘The Island’ and the 2012 comedy ‘Grandpa, My Darling’. He was also an anti-hunger ambassador for the UN World Food Program and visited war-torn areas such as the Darfur region of Sudan.
Yassin is survived by his wife, the actress Shahira, their daughter Rania and son Amr.