Arabic Language Blog

Youssef Wahbi (1898 – 1982) Posted by on Jul 14, 2012 in Arabic Language, Culture, Pronunciation, Vocabulary

     Youssef  Wahbi يـوسـف وهــبــي was born on July 14th 1898 in the city of Al-Fayoum الــفــَـــيــُّـــوم  , Egypt. He was an Egyptian theatre and cinema actor مـُـمـَــثـــِّـــل and director مـُــخــرِج , a leading star نــَــجــْــم of the 1930s and 1940s and one of the most prominent Arab stage actors of all times.

    Wahbi was born into a high class family. His father – Abdallah Pasha Wahbi – was an inspector مــُــفــَــتــِّــش in the Ministry of Irrigation وزارة الــرَّيّ in Fayoum and was a great land owner. Wahbi started his education by going to the city’s most famous Kut’tab كــُــتـــَّــاب , and then Al-Saediyyah School الـمــدرســــة الـســَّــعــيــديــَّـــة and then to the Agricultural School الـمـدرســة الـزراعــيـــَّــة . He got interested in acting for the first time when he watched a Lebanese theatre group performing in Sohag. He practiced his hobby of acting at Al-Ahly Club الــنــَّــادي الأهــلـــي and at school.

     After the First World War, Wahbi traveled to Italy where he studied theatre الــمــســـرح . In 1921, he returned to Egypt. With his father’s death, Wahbi inherited a lot of money. He founded the Ramses Theatre Company فـِــرقــــة رمــســيـــس الــمــســــرحــيـــة  that had a lot of great actors of the time. Wahbi worked hard using his art to raise the standard of the Egyptian society and to deepen its values. He presented more than 300 plays and more than 60 films; a thing that took those arts (theatre and cinema) to the top and made Wahbi the most famous Master of the Arab theatre and cinema. His works aimed at highlighting the social and cultural values of the society. King Farouk gave him the title of “Beek بـيـك = Sir”  after he watched his film “Love and Revenge غــَــرام و اِنــتــقــــام ” in a cinema in Cairo. He also got many awards and was nicknamed ” The Dean of the Arabic Theatre عـمـيــد الـمـســرح الـعــربـــي “. Wahbi died on October 17th 1982.

       The first play that he presented was the “Confession Chair كــُــرسي الاِعــتــراف “. Later on he made that play into a film in the cinema. Most of the plays that he presented were masterpieces of the Italian, French, and English literature الأدب , a thing which was different from the prevailing mood of the theatres at the time.

      In 1930, Wahbi founded the Ramses Film Company in cooperation with the director Muhammad Kareem مــُـحـمـد كـريــم . The company made its first narrated film; ” Zeinab زيـنــب “. In 1932, Wahbi starred and directed the first Egyptian and Arabic spoken film فـيـلــم نـاطـِــق for the Egyptian cinema. The film was “The Sons of the Aristocrats أولاد الــذوات ” and it was a great success. Wahbi acted and directed his third film ” The Defense  الــدِّفــَـــاع ” in 1935. In 1937, he starred the film ” The Eternal Glory الــمــجــدُ الــخــــالـــد “. He also starred the film “A Rumor of Love إشـــاعـــَــة حــُــبّ “.


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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. Javian R:

    Salam people

    Question to the Arabic Language Blog : Why is Hichem not writing anymore with you?

    I really love Egyptian people and Egyptian culture. but the Arabic culture is bigger than just Egypt. As far as I know, the Arabian World stretches from Mauritania to Iraq and from Tunisia to Yemen.

    I like the articles of Fisal and enjoy the word games of Aziza from time to tiem, but they seem too focused on Egypt alone and neglect the other 21 Arabic countries.

    Tell Hichem to come back with you for a wider reach, and thank you.

    • Fisal:

      @Javian R Salam Javian,
      You are absolutely right. I am sure Hichem has (or will) read your message. He might just be a bit busy as we are in the holy month of Ramadan and I am sure he will be back.
      Best regards