Born today 127 years ago, the legendary Naguib El-Rihani is featured as today's Google Doodle and his birthday brings back memories of Egypt’s golden age of performance arts. The satirical comedy of everyday situations was his forte, and he was unquestionably a master of his craft!
Born on this day in 1889, Naguib El-Rihani is considered among many to be 'The Father of Egyptian comedy.' In his short lifetime he has indeed earned that title with nearly 28 projects to his name, between theatre and cinema. He died at the then-considered-to-be-young age of 60, from Typhus during the filming of his last film. To commemorate his 127th birthday, Google features him as today's Google Doodle.
Naguib Elias El Rihani was born to an Iraqi Catholic father and an Egyptian Coptic mother, he spent his school years studying at Collège des Frères in Cairo. He later formed a theatrical group 'The Naguib al-Rihani Group' with his longtime friend Badeih Khairy and they successfully brought Arabic adaptations of French plays to the stage in Cairo. One of their most famed productions was El Guineh El Masry (Egyptian Pound), adapted from Topaze by Marcel Pagnol.
El-Rihani was also involved in cinema with nearly nine titles completed during his acting career, as he died whilst filming his last movie, Ghazal Al Banat (The Flirtation of Girls). Co-starring with Laila Mourad and Mohamed Abdel Wahab, it was also the latter’s last film before passing away. It was produced by Anwar Wagdi, and was shown in cinemas after El-Rihani’s death.
Famed comedians like Fouad el-Mouhandis cited Naguib El-Rihani as one of their biggest influences, and his movies and plays are frequented by many avid fans to this day, even amongst the younger generations, as he continues to bring us laughter and joy. His works are timeless masterpieces that live on until this day, and so does his legend.