Arabic Language Blog

Ismail Yasin; (1912 – 1972) Posted by on Sep 16, 2012 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

    Ismail Yasin إسـمــاعــيــــل يــاســيـــن was a very famous Egyptian actor and monologist. He was born on  the 15th of September, 1912 in Suez City. His father was a middle class jeweler. His mother died when he was still a little child and his step-mother used to hurt him. Like most children of the time, he went to a Kuttab الــكــُــتـــَّـــاب to learn reading and writing the Quran. Then, he continued in a Primary school until fourth grade when his father broke. Ismail had to leave school and depend on himself to earn his living, so he worked in a cloth shop and then in a car station.

     In the 1930s and at the age of seventeen, Ismail ran from home and travelled to Cairo where he worked in a Café مــقــهـــى . He used to spend the night at cheap hotels. Ismail loved the songs of the great Egyptian singer and composer at the time; Muhammad Abdel-Wahhab مــُــحــمــَّــد عــبــد الــوهــاب. He used to repeat and sing these songs since he was a kid. Ismail, even, dreamed of being a singer who is capable of competing with Abdel-Wahhab.

    After his work in the café, Ismail worked with a very popular belly dancer راقــِـــصـــَـــة called “Osta Nousa الأســطــى نــُــوســـَـــة“. He did not earn much money, so he left to work as an agent وكــيـــل in a lawyer’s office for some time. After that his dream حــُـــلـــْـــم of being a singer came to the surface again especially after he met his life-long friend; the comedy writer Abo Al-So’oud Al-Ibyari أبــو الــســُّـــعــُـــود الإبــيــــارى . They both formed a successful artistic dual and they both owned the Night Club of Badi’ah Masabni بــَــديـــعـــَــــة مــَــصــَـــابــنـــِــــى (a famous Egyptian singer) before they move to the cinema and the theatre. Abo Al-So’od appointed Ismail Yasin to Badi’ah and her band to do monologues at her club. Ismail was very successful at the art of monologue and this work continued for ten years from 1935 to 1945. Abo Al-So’oud was of course his monologue composer and writer. He also did monologues for the radio and got 4 Egyptian pounds for each monologue مــُــونــولــُــوج , which was a lot of money. Ismail produced about 60 plays for the theatre but they were all lost because it was said that an employee from the Egyptian television has (unintentionally بــِــلا قــَــصــْـــدٍ) deleted them.

    The year 1939 witnessed the beginning بداية of Ismail Yasin in the cinema after he was chosen by the director مــُـــخـــرج Fo’ad Al-Jazayrli فـــؤاد الــجــــزايـــــرلـــى to take part in the film خــَـــلـــَـــف الــحــبــَـــايــب (Children of the Beloved Ones). Then, he participated in so many films where he played the second star part until he got the first star part. In 1945, his talent مــَــوْهــِـــبـــَــــة attracted the famous actor Anwar Wagdi أنـــْـــوَر وَجـــْـــدِى who chose him for most of his films and produced for him later on. Ismail was first star in the film الناصح (The Smart One) that was produced by Wagdi in 1949. Ismail Yasin filmed more than 166 films during his life. The years 1952, 1953 and 1954 were his golden age because he filmed 16 films in each year. That was an achievement that no other actor has ever reached.

    Ismail Yasin was one of the greatest and most successful figures in the history تــاريـــخ of the Arab Cinema. His works were bestsellers for years and are still the favorites for a wide range of the Egyptian and Arab audience جــُــمــْــهــُــــور . He managed to drive people of all ages to smile because of his great talent and comic face.

   Ismail married three times but got only one son (Yasin Ismail Yasin) who was a film director. Towards the end of his life, Ismail Yasin suffered from a heart disease مــَــرَض and then he finally left our world on May 24th, 1972.


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Peace  ســلام /Salam/

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About the Author: Fisal

Well, I was born near the city of Rasheed or Rosetta, Egypt. Yes, the city where the Rosetta Stone was discovered. It is a small city on the north of Egypt where the Nile meets the Mediterranean. I am a Teacher of EFL.


  1. is-hak Barsoumian/ London /G.B:

    ISMAIIL YASSIN..A Legend/ A Giant /A Genius of COMEDY in the Arab Cinema for almost half a century..that He s never been replaced since his sad departure on 24th of May 1972 from this mortal world,,that never knew how to appreciate a GOD given talented artist ,but on top of all that He s been pushed around and taken advantage of ,by all who used Him as a Gold laying geese for their venues and trades,an actor who never received his proper worth in cinema/theatre /T.V /singing world,as He always wanted and aimed to become another MOHAMAD ABDEL WAHAB level ambition that sadly never became a reality..but broke his heart? as he turned into a Monologist ,even though he had shared in over 150 films from 1942 Ali BABA & the 40 Thieves,to his last appearance in The Lady Mobsters (issabat al sitat),before he passed away,unfortunate to Arab cinema/theatre industries,as he ended before that ,singing in night clubs/common Cabarets in Immad ul din entertainment district of Cairo? even worst than how he started as a singer/monologist in the Casinos/stages or weddings , As i was watching his life story, T.V.series ABU DEHKA GENAN on You TUBE,I couldn t hold back my someone who made the whole Arab world LAUGH for 4 decades that includes me as a child and a teenager and adult fan too! As he was the only cinema personality that had the movies titled by his name like Ismaiil Yassin : in the Army/In the Navy/As a Police/As Tarzan/ as a Secret Police…many others ,only his colleague GREAT & late singer ,unforgettable Layla MOURAD had such luck on the silver screen.He worked ceaselessly in the 1950/60 s, almost 3 movies in a year ,minimum! but his greatest mistake was Theatrical losses, as people loved him as funny character ..visual..and dialogue wise, his facial expressions were his asset in acting..on stage that was far no close ups or like now days huge T.V screens to enable the audiences see such facial expressions, also his trip to Lebanon in the late 1960 s broke his already ailing budget & finance and Heart, we all sometime or other do mistakes ,that was his downfall..sorry to confirm, He was the spice in most of late great crooner Mr.FARID AL ATTRASH s movies,ALSO he partnered up with another great comedy legend then,late Mr.ABDUL SALAM ALNABOLSI,that partnership produced many successful films,once only once i met Mr AL NABOLSI on Beirut/Lebanon, as he lived his last days in Beirut before he sadly passed away in 1968 street in 1967/68 i am not sure ,as he passed me by ..i still remember this as if it happened ..yesterday ,also remember his navy coloured suit, he was very elegant/clean GENTLEMAN, same as he always acted such roles on the screen…i only regret that i never spoke to him then ,due to my shyness and shock facing my childhood years ..Idol?…… SORRY, now back to Mr.YASSIN, I was saying..yes Mr.Yassin will always be remembered whenever Arab comedy discussed,or Egyptian cinema history written in books,pity he is not around to see /read how people now days ,in this so called? actually cold ARAB SPRING ,i call it the Arab Turmoil times ,how much we need HIM…as it seems we all have forgotten how to smile ,.. let alone..LAUGH,we pray to GOD almighty, to grant us another ISMAIIL YASSIN to wipe up our tears like he did, with My/Our appreciation t The GREAT & INFAMOUS Mr.ADEL IMAM,who s COMEDY ACTING has no limits or barriers..but has his unique character,and different, but it will be nice if we had ISMAIIL YASSIN two..too??

  2. is-hak Barsoumian/ London /G.B:

    Allow me to add this as an appendix to my thoughts on ISMAIIL YASSIN LEGACY, IN ABU DEHKA GENAN T.V serial , Mr.YASSIN didn t find much SUCCESS in Aleppo /SYRIA as he did in BEIRUT/Sidon/Tripoli in LEBANON?? I came to this humble conclusion for this: 1930/40 s Syria & Lebanon were under french rule then, most communication was in French language, press was mostly in foreign languages,Arabic papers were counted on one hand s fingers,very rare Art concerned news published,no T.V s no internet/ few cinema theatres here and there in Syria was a luxury to buy a movie ticket there, but in Lebanon cinema theatres were rife,after its independence 1943…American & Western Companies were racing to have one foot in there,as a gate to the whole Middle the first Democracy in the region,where all religions/ethnic minorities/tongues.. spoken, as Israel wasn t in the picture ,YET…and radio stations belonged to the country s gov….and to get your song or voice on it ,you got to be a extraordinary talented being ,or know someone in high places, BEIRUT s downtown then was crammed with such Theatres, in the Martyr s square i alone there were 12 cin.theatres at least, most were showing Hollywood movies/french/Italian and Arabic Egyptian movies, as then Egypt was the Arab -Hollywood those days.. and i assume still is!So due to this the Lebanese folks were accustomed to the Egyptian accent,and connected to the film stars and know their ups and downs, and cinemas were open around the it became our new culture and addiction, where any ordinary person can pass few hours daydreaming or sleeping in the theatre if the weather was bad outside…and cinema press flourished in all languages…we knew who ISMAIIL YASSIN is or Mm BADIAA MASSABNI/NAGUIB RIHANI/OM KOULTHOUM/Mohamad AbdelWahab etc etc especially Radio SHARQ AL ADNA, was a platform to introduce new talents/voices to the Arab WORLD s listeners,So when Mr. Yassin arrived in Lebanon he felt at home,all understood his jokes /quips ..I guess some of his jokes may have offended the Syrian conservative public or the Nouvaux Riche/new rich society,,who could afford attending such Casinos /Theatres??Lebanon was more FLEXIBLE SOCIETY,and easy going too, maybe the timing was not right ,it was like the right man in the wrong place/location…Anyhow a bright star will be seen soon or after a decade or two Syria had her Ismaiil Yassin in- -person of the late & sadly missed comedian Yassin BAKKOUSH.

  3. Is-Hak bARSOUMIAN/London/G.Brit.:

    A private message to>>>> respectful Mr.FISAL/Transparent Languagef made a big mistake i wish you try ,if possible, to correct it as i mentioned May 4 th 1972 the day Great ISMAIIL of the Arab Cinema YASSIN , passed away is to be May 24th ?? please i do apologise mistake,,SORRY!! Regards from IS-HAK Barsoumian/Londonf made a big mistake i wish you try ,if possible, to correct it as i mentioned May 4 th 1972 the day Great ISMAIIL of the Arab Cinema YASSIN , passed away is to be May 24th ?? please i do apologise mistake,,SORRY!! Regards from IS-HAK Barsoumian/London, DEAR SIR , as once i corrected your obituary message on Lady FATEN HAMAMA ,asked you kindly to correct 2014 to 2015 the year she sadly passed away..remember ??? Now i myself made a big mistake i wish you try ,if possible, to correct it as i mentioned May 4 th 1972 the day Great ISMAIIL of the Arab Cinema YASSIN , passed away is to be May 24th ?? please i do apologise mistake,,SORRY!! Regards from IS-HAK Barsoumian/London And thank you in advance!