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Arab Actress Laila Murad Dead at 77

November 22, 1995

CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ Laila Murad, one of Egypt’s best-loved singers and actresses who was known in her heyday as ``the Cinderella of Arab cinema,″ has died. She was 77.

Murad died late Tuesday of heart failure, news reports said Wednesday. She had been admitted to the intensive care unit of a Cairo hospital a day earlier.

Although Murad retired some 40 years ago, her films remain favorites on Egyptian television.

Her dark eyes, generous smile and enchanting voice captured the heart of Egyptians during a career that extended from the 1930s to the early 1950′s.

She is best remembered for romantic comedies in which she portrayed the spunky but sweet girl-next-door, whether the daughter of a rich ``pasha″ or humble government employee.

Murad was born to a Jewish family in February 1918, but later converted to Islam. She began her singing career at the age of 12 in the popular Ramsis Theater in Cairo.

Her movie career was launched in 1935 when she landed the leading role in the movie ``Long Live Love″ with Egypt’s most important actor and singer of the time, Mohammed Abdel-Wahab.

She starred in 28 films, including ``The Flirting of Girls″ in which she performed beside her actor-director husband, Anwar Wagdi.

After they were divorced, Murad married director Fatteen Abdel-Wahab in 1954. A year leader, she abruptly stopped performing, but her movies air frequently on Egyptian television and her songs still blare from radios in Egyptian cafes.

She is survived by a son, Zaki Abdel-Wahab.

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