Vo. 1, No. 2 (December 1995).

Golden Voice of over 1,200 songs and 28 films

By Al Jadid Staff Writers

One of the few remaining Egyptian stars from the interwar period between World War I and World War II, Layla Murad, died at the age of 77 on November 21, due to heart problems. Murad is vividly remembered by Egyptian and Arab audiences for her singing of over 1,200 songs and acting in 28 films, many considered to be classics.

Born in Cairo on February 17, 1918 to a Moroccan Jewish family, she converted to Islam in 1946. The Egyptian star came from a family with a background in entertainment . Her father, Zzaki Murad, was a singer in the early 1920's and is said to have encouraged her to sing. She was also inspired by her brother, Munir Murad, a composer who was well known during the 1940's. She married twice during her life.

Choosing singing as her profession in 1933, Murad's career was boosted by the introduction of the radio in 1943. Her acting and singing career came to an end during the later part of the 1950's, and she also ended her public life by refusing to give press interviews. This attitude lasted until her death.

When the Cairo Cinema festival wanted to honor her in 1991, she declined the invitation due to health reasons. Arab press reports state that she lived her final days in severe financial conditions, which prompted a prominent Egyptian actor to ask the Egyptian Information Minister to allocate financial assistance in return for showing any of her films.

During her career, she was the victim of several malicious rumors, including her supposed marriage to the late corrupt King of Egypt, Farouk. But more damaging and painful were the accusations that she donated money to the Israeli Defense Forces, a rumor her first husband, film director Anwar Wajdi, is said to be responsible for spreading. This scandal caused the Arab Boycott Committee in Damascus, which boycotted any companies or individuals who had connections with Israel, to place Murad on its Black List. However, eventually the efforts of the late President Nasser following the Syrian-Egyptian Unity in 1958 were successful and Murad's name was taken off the List.

Copyright (c) 1995 by Al Jadid

(See also Leyla Murad in the music section.)



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