It all started with Omar El Sherif, one of the most known Egyptian actors to take his talents to Hollywood. Nominated for an Academy Award, and having won three Golden Globes, he paved the way for other Egyptian actors to reach international status, including Amr Waked. Here is a list of other Egyptian actors working in Hollywood that you probably didn’t know about:
By: Reem Eid
1. Rami Malek
Currently making waves for his role in Mr. Robot, a tv series about a hacker who suffers from clinical depression, Malek has won a Critic’s Choice Award, as well as being nominated for an Emmy award. Born in Los Angeles to Egyptian parents, Rami may not have that strong of a tie to his Egyptiansorigins, but he did get his head start portraying a Pharaoh in Night At the Museum.
Fun fact: -Rami has a younger identical twin brother, Sami Malek. Rami used to impersonate his twin and sit for his exams.
Here’s a video of Malek talking about diversity in Hollywood, and his origins.
2. Sammy Sheik
Sammy is best known for portaying “Masheer” , a handler for a suicide bomber, in the hit Fox series 24. While Sheik has yet to break out of stereotypical middle eastern roles, the actor has made some impressive appearances in blockbuster films like American Sniper , Transformers, and Lone Survivor.
Fun fact: Sammy gets some extra points; he is iskandarany! The actor’s family still resides in Alexandria.
3. Amir el Masry
You may know him from Heneidy’s film Ramadan Mabrook Abu El 3alameen Hamooda, but the actor has since moved to the UK to study at the prestigious LAMDA drama school. He later appeared in Jon Stewart’s movie Rose Water, and the BBC 3 comedy “Rude Boys”.
Fun Fact: This year, the actor appeared alongside Tom Hiddleston in the miniseries The Night Manager, about a Cairo hotel manager who is recruited to an arms dealer’s inner circle.
4. Mido Hamada
A fusion of German and Egyptian origins, Hamada was first born Cairo before his family later moved to Germany. The actor has appeared in numerous Hollywood blockbusters, as well as a recurring role in the hit series, Homeland.
Fun fact: While some of the actors on this list have lost touch with their mother tongue, Mido is fluent in English, German and most importantly Arabic!
5. Sayed Badreya
One of the oldest names on this list, Sayed was born in Port Said before realizing his passion for filmmaking and acting. The actor is most known for his role as Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.)’s enemy in the 2008 block buster film. Badreya also works as a filmmaker, having created his own production company Zoom in Focus
Fun Fact: In his role as Abu Bakaar, an afghan member of a terrorist group, the actor –for some reason- has a completely Egyptian accent. I guess movie producers bet that no one would take notice of what his saying, but we certainly did! You can watch it here:
We saved the best for last! Although he isn’t an actor, this delightful man makes a recurring appearance on Jimmy Kimmel’s talk show. Jimmy first met Yehya (he pronounces it Yaya), outside of a movie theatre, where he learned that the Egyptian’s passion in life is to take photos with Hollywood celebrities. He has an impressive portfolio of selfies (almost ten thousand!). He has a spontaneous and down to earth charisma, coupled with his less than perfect English, that usually results in funny segments.
Fun Fact: What can we say? Everything about this man is FUN! He has the typical Egyptian humor, which you can watch here: