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Shadia, c. 1961
Fatma Ahmad Kamal Shaker
فاطمة أحمد كمال شاكر

(1931-02-08)8 February 1931
Cairo, Egypt
Died 28 November 2017(2017-11-28) (aged 86)
Cairo, Egypt
Nationality Egyptian
Other names
  • Idol of the Masses
  • Guitar of the Arabic Song
  • The Golden Guitar
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active 1947–1984
  • Emad Hamdy (1953–1956)
  • Aziz Fathi (1958–1958)
  • Salah Zulfikar (1964–1970)

Fatma Ahmed Kamal Shaker (Arabic: فاطمة أحمد كمال شاكر; 8 February 1931 – 28 November 2017), better known by her stage name Shadia (Arabic: شادية, Shādiyya), was an Egyptian actress and singer. She was famous for her roles in light comedies and drama in the 1950s and 1960s. She was the third wife of Salah Zulfikar. Shadia was one of the iconic actresses and singers in Egypt and the Middle East region and a symbol of the golden age of Egyptian cinema and is known of her many patriotic songs. Her movies and songs are popular in Egypt and all the Arab World. Critics consider her the most successful comprehensive Egyptian and Arabic artist of all time. Her first appearance in a film was in "Azhar wa Ashwak" (Flowers and Thorns), and her last film was "La Tas'alni Man Ana" (Don't Ask Me Who I Am).

She is also known for her patriotic song "Ya Habibti Ya Masr" (Oh Egypt, My Love) and her breakthrough leading role came in the 1959 Egyptian film "Al Maraa Al Maghoula" (The Unknown Woman) directed by Mahmoud Zulfikar. Six of her movies are listed in the top 100 Egyptian movies of the 20th century.

In April 2015, Shadia became the first actress to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the Egyptian Academy of Arts. She was given the nickname "Idol of the Masses" following her successful movie "Maaboudat El Gamaheer" (Idol of the Masses). Other notable nicknames include "The Guitar of the Arabic Singing" (Egyptian Arabic: قيثارة الغناء العربى) and "The Golden Guitar" (Egyptian Arabic: القيثارة الذهبية).

Early life

Born as "Fatma Ahmed Kamal Shaker" in 1931, in Al-Helmyia El Gadida, in Cairo, Egypt. Shadia was born to an Egyptian father Ahmed Kamal Sahker, from Sharqia and a Egyptian mother. In 1947, she fell in love with an Egyptian officer from Upper Egypt, and she got heartbroken after his death during the 1948 war. She had five sisters and brothers. She was the youngest of her sisters and the second youngest among all her siblings. Since her childhood, Shadia loved to sing and was encouraged to pursue music at primary school. Moreover, she began acting at the age of fifteen. Shadia was the voice of Egypt during hard and war times, she was famous of her Egyptian patriotic songs, especially "Ya Habibti Ya Masr" (Oh Egypt, My Love) and "Aqwa Mn El Zaman" (Stronger Than Time). She participated in many operettas along with other notable Egyptian and Arabic singers about Egypt and the Arab world, including: "Al Watan Al Akbar" (The Great Nation), "El Geel El Sa'ed" (The Rising Generation), and "Soot El Gamaheer" (The Voice of the Masses).


Shaker was given the stage name "Shadia" by herself following the name of a newborn of one of her family's friends. In her heyday during the 1950s and 1960s, Shadia acted in numerous melodramas, romance, and comedy films. However, it was her musical talent as a singer that established Shadia as one of the most important Egyptian cinema stars of her era. Overall, as "Shadia", she performed in more than 100 films.

Salah Zulfikar&Shadia
Shadia with Salah Zulfikar in Aghla Min Hayati (1965)

Shadia is credited for acting alongside leading man Salah Zulfikar in his film debut, "Oyoun Sahrana" (Wakeful Eyes, 1956). Later, she paired with Zulfikar in 6 films forming a famous duet and achieving major commercial and critical success, this duet turned out to be an Egyptian cinema classic. She also starred in more than 30 films with the actor Kamal El Shennawy, and sang opposite Farid El Atrash and Abdel Halim Hafez, such as in "Ma'boudat El Gamaheer" (The People's Idol, 1967). She also appeared with Faten Hamama in Ezz El-Dine Zulfikar’s "Mawe'd Ma'a El Hayah" (Appointment with Life, 1954), and in "El Mar'a El Maghola" (The Unknown Woman, 1959) of Mahmoud Zulfikar, she played the role of Fatma in a heavy melodrama.

Other notable films she starred in include "El les we El Kelab" (The Thief and the Dogs, 1962) and in her comedy roles in films "El Zouga raqam 13" (Wife Number 13, 1962), and her famous trilogy alongside Egypt's iconic actor and film producer Salah Zulfikar; "Miraty Modeer A'am" (My Wife, the Director General, 1966), "Karamat Zawgaty" (My Wife's Dignity, 1967) and "Afreet Mirati" (My Wife's Goblin, 1968), was a huge success.

Indeed, Shadia was often cast in cunning and cheeky roles, however, she also played serious roles, such as in Salah Zulfikar Films production; "Shey Min El Khouf" (A Taste of Fear, 1969) and "Uyoon Sahranah" (Wakeful Eyes, 1956) of Ezz El-Dine Zulfikar and "El Tareeq" (The Road, 1964), and "Lamset Hanan" (A Toutch of Tenderness, 1971), her last film opposite Salah Zulfikar, and in the stage version of "Raya and Sakina", which was based on the true story of two Alexandrian serial killers and directed by Hussein Kamal (1953).

Shadia also produced two films, and also appeared in several films in Japan.

Shadia with Salah Zulfikar and Russian actress at a cinematic event for A Taste of Fear in Cairo, 1969

Upon returning from the premiere of "Raya and Sakina", Shadia stated that she gave serious thought that night to the idea of repentance. The following morning, she informed her producers that she wanted no part in the play from then on, but eventually promised to finish her work when they insisted that she do so. Thereafter, Shadia retired from the film and music industry, and went on a Umrah to Mecca, where she met the popular Egyptian Azhari scholar Sheikh El Shaarawy. Her meeting with El-Shaarawy influenced Shadia to reach her final decision to start wearing the hijab.

Her mega hit song "Ya Habibti Ya Masr" (Oh Egypt, My love), was considered as one of the best patriotic songs ever. During a TV-interview, Shadia said regarding her famous patriotic song: "When I am singing to my homeland, it is even way more romantic and more honest than any romantic song. Here I am singing to my home, my land. There was a period when Egypt's name was erased (Nasser's era), Egypt’s name will never get erased from our hearts". After almost 25 years of her retirement, Shadia's song became an anthem of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011.


Shadia retired at the age of 50. She came out and cited the reason for her retirement being religion, she explained that she had been through many hard periods and rough circumstances throughout her life that had veered her away from her career and made her return to god once more. She decided to dedicate the rest of her life to care for orphan children stating that it's her life's greatest joy. She also donated all the money that she made during her acting and singing career to charities and stated that this was a decision that she never once hesitated to do.

Illness and death

Shadia was hospitalized on 4 November 2017 after suffering a massive stroke in Cairo. She was placed under intensive care. Her nephew, Khaled Shaker, said during a televised phone conversation that she recovered from the stroke and could identify her relatives and the people around her. He added, however, that her illness was complicated by pneumonia, despite her recovery. Shadia's condition stabilized on 9 November, and President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi visited her that day at Al-Galaa Hospital. Shaker later said that the first words she spoke after recovering were "I want to go home", but had speech difficulties in general.

On 28 November, Shadia died from respiratory failure caused by the pneumonia.


On February 8, 2021, Google celebrated her 90th birthday with a Google Doodle. The Doodle was displayed in Egypt, Israel and Sweden.


Wakeful Eyes Lobby card
Lobby Card for Wakeful Eyes (1956)
Shadia with Salah Zulfikar in My Wife, the Director General (1966)
Year Title Arabic title
1947 Flowers And Thorns Azhar W Ashwak أزهار و أشواك
1947 Mind In Holiday El Aql Fi Agazah العقل في اجازة
1947 Pigeon Of Peace Hamamet El Salam حمامة السلام
1948 Justice Of Heaven 'Adl El Sama عدل السماء
1948 The Soul And The Body El Ruh W El Gasad الروح و الجسد
1949 Speech Of People Kalam El Nas كل ام الناس
1949 Nadia Nadia ناديه
1949 Owner Of Millims Sahebat El Malalim صاحبة الملاليم
1949 Eve Of Feast Lilet El Id ليلة العيد
1950 The Hero El Batal البطل
1950 An Hour for Your Heart Sa'ah L Qalbak ساعة لقلبك
1950 The Seventh Wife El Zogah El Sab'ah الزوجة السابعة
1950 Nothing Dice Ma'leshsh Ya Zahr معلش يا زهر
1950 People Were Unjust To Me Zalamuni El Nas ظلموني الناس
1950 Days of My Youth Ayam Shababi أيام شبابي
1951 Busy with Not Me Mashghul B Gheri مشغول بغيري
1951 Eve Of Wedding Lilet El Hennah ليلة الحنة
1951 Mister Lion El Sab' Afandi السبع أفندي
1951 Earphone Of Telephone Sama'et El Telephone سماعة التليفون
1951 In Love Together F El Hawa Sawa فى الهوا سوا
1951 Storm in Spring Asefah F El Rabi عاصفة في الربيع
1951 The Caravan Moves El Qafela Tasir القافلة تسير
1951 My Children Awladi أولادي
1951 My Mother-in-Law Is An Atomic Bomb Hamati Qonbelah Zariyyah حماتي قنبلة ذرية
1951 To Whom I Complain? Ashki l Min أشكي لمين
1951 World Is Sweet El Donya Helwah الدنيا حلوه
1951 Patience Is Well El Sabr Gamil الصبر جميل
1951 Dew Drops Qatr El Nada قطر الندى
1952 Hopes Amal آمال
1952 The Killer Mother El Omm El Qatelah الأم القاتلة
1952 Home of Embezzler Bit El Nattash بيت النتاش
1952 Anger Of Parents Ghadab El Waledain غضب الوالدين
1952 Love Has No Remedy El Hawa Malush Dawa الهوا ملوش دوا
1952 Good Comer Boshret Khir بشرة خير
1952 The Unlucky One Qalil El Bakht قليل البخت
1952 Girl Of Shore Bent al Shati بنت الشاطئ
1952 Coming Goodness Qaddam El Khir قدم الخير
1952 My Life Is You Hayati Enta حياتي انت
1952 I Wronged My Soul Zalamt Rohi ظلمت روحى
1952 Fault Of Father Ghaltet Abb غلطة أب
1952 Down With Imperialism Yasqot El Este'mar يسقط الاستعمار
1953 Your Luck This Week Hazzak Haza El Esbu حظك هذا الاسبوع
1953 Me And My Lover Ana W Habibi انا و حبيبي
1953 Testimony O People Eshhadu Ya Nas اشهدوا يا ناس
1953 Between Two Hearts Bin Qalbin بين قلبين
1953 Right Word Kelemet Haqq كلمة حق
1953 Your Tongue Is Your Horse Lesanak Hosanak لسانك حصانك
1953 The Bread-Seller Baeat El Khobz بائعة الخبز
1953 The Honest Thief El Less El Sharif اللص الشريف
1953 I'm on My Own Maleesh Hadd ماليش حد
1954 Appointment with Life Maw'ed Ma' El Hayah موعد مع الحياة
1954 Forter Than Love Aqwa Men al Hobb أقوى من الحب
1954 Adventures of Ismail Yasin Moghamarat Ismail Yasin مغامرات اسماعيل ياسين
1954 I Am The Love Ana El Hobb انا الحب
1954 Daughters Of Eve Banat Hawa بنات حواء
1954 Daughter Of Neighbors Bent el Giran بنت الجيران
1954 Horor Of Girl Sharaf El Bent شرف البنت
1954 Unjustice Is Taboo El Zolm Haram الظلم حرام
1954 Don't Think Ewa Tefakkar إوعى تفكر
1954 Help Me With Employee Of Marriage Elhaquni B El Mazun الحقونى بالمأذون
1954 Women Can't Lie El Setat Ma Yerafush Yekdebu الستات مايعرفوش يكدبوا
1954 A Night Of My Life Lilah Men Omri ليله من عمري
1955 Melody Of Loyality Lahn El Wafa لحن الوفاء
1955 The Shore of Memories Shati El Zekrayat شاطئ الذكريات
1956 The Leech Shabab Emraah شباب امرأة
1956 Farewell At Dawn Wada Fi El Fagr وداع في الفجر
1956 Spring Of Love Rabi El Hobb ربيع الحب
1956 Wakeful Eyes Oyun Sahranah عيون سهرانة
1956 Dalilah Dalilah دليله
1956 Farewell Your Love Wadat Hobbak ودعت حبك
1957 Lawahez Lawahez لواحظ
1957 You Are My Lover Enta Habibi انت حبيبي
1958 Fiery Love Hobb men Nar حب من نار
1958 Fault of My Lover Ghaltet Habibi غلطة حبيبي
1958 The Escaper El Harebah الهاربة
1958 Hearts Of Virgins Qolub El 'Azara قلوب العذارى
1959 Pity My Heart Erham Qalbi إرحم قلبي
1959 Nest Of Love Esh al Gharam عش الغرام
1959 The Unknown Woman El Marah El Maghulah المرأة المجهولة
1960 Agony of Love Lawat El Hobb لوعة الحب
1960 Together Forever Ma'an Ela Al Abad معاً إلى الأبد
1961 Don't Remember Me La Tazkorini لا تذكريني
1961 The Schoolgirl Al Telmizah التلميذة
1962 Wife Number 13 El Zugah Raqam 13 الزوجة رقم 13
1962 Forget The World Ensa El Donya إنسى الدنيا
1962 A Woman In Whirlpool Emraah Fi Dawwamah امرأة في دوامة
1962 Chased by the Dogs El Less W El Kelab اللص و الكلاب
1962 The Miracle Al Mo'gezah المعجزة
1963 On Banks Of Nile Ala Defaf El Nil على ضفاف النيل
1963 Cairo At Night Al Qahera Fi El Lil القاهرة في الليل
1963 El Madaqq Zoqaq al Madaq زقاق المدق
1963 Extreme Joy Montaha al Farah منتهى الفرح
1964 Thousand And One Nights Alf Lilah E Lilah ألف ليله و ليله
1964 The Road El Tariq الطريق
1965 Dearer Than My Life Aghla Min Hayati أغلى من حياتي
1966 My Wife, the Director General Merati Modir Am مراتي مدير عام
1967 Idol Of Public Masses Mabudet El Gamahir معبودة الجماهير
1967 My Wife’s Dignity Karamet Zawgati كرامة زوجتي
1968 My Wife’s Goblin Afrit Merati عفريت مراتي
1969 A Taste Of Fear Shi Men El Khuf شيء من الخوف
1969 Half An Hour Marriage Nos Saah Gawaz نص ساعة جواز'
1969 Miramar Miramar ميرامار
1970 Tailor Of Ladies Khayyat El Sayyidat خياط للسيدات
1970 We Don't Plant Thorn Nahno La Nazra El Shuk نحن لا نزرع الشوك
1971 Touch Of Tenderness Lamset Hanan لمسة حنان
1972 Lights Of City Adwa El Madinah أضواء المدينة
1973 Double Face Zat El Waghin ذات الوجهين
1974 Lover Woman Emraah Asheqah امرأة عاشقة
1974 The Fugitive El Hareb الهارب
1974 Forbidden Memories Raghabat Mamnuah رغبات ممنوعة
1976 Waves Without Shore Amwag Bela Shati امواج بلا شاطئ
1979 Doubt O My Lover El Shakk Ya Habibi الشك يا حبيبي
1981 Valley Of Memories Wadi El Zekrayat وادي الذكريات
1984 Don't Ask Me Who I am La Tasalni Mann Ana لا تسألني من انا

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Shadia para niños

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