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Naima Akef
1929 - 1966

Naïma Akef was born a circus baby, on October 7, 1929. Her grandfather, once a police force trainer, founded the Akef Circus after he retired. Naïma, the daughter of acrobats, worked in the family business with her parents from the age of four. She later became the best trapezist of the family.

     Naima was only fourteen when her parents split up and the family circus closed in 1943. Her grandfather, through his connections, obtained an audition for her with Badia Masabni as a backup dancer at the infamous Cafe Badia. Hired on the spot, Naima quickly became a favorite of Masabni’s and of the patrons, much to the annoyance of her co-workers. She was the only dancer who could sing as well as act. In the ultimate cat fight the other dancers ganged up on her one night to teach her a lesson. The incident backfired however, when the circus trained star gave them all a good thrashing instead. It was not good enough though to keep her job. Fearful of repercussions, Badia fired Naima to keep the peace (and her pocketbook happy).

     Naima then went to work at the Kit Kat Club, another cabaret made famous during the war. There she met the film director Abbas Kamel, who introduced her to his brother, Hussein Fawzi, also a famous film director. Fawzi was searching for a lead actress for his next film “Al-Eïch wal malh, 1944 (Bread and Salt)” and found her in Naima. The film was a huge success and made Naïma an overnight star at the age of 15. For the next 10 years she starred in all of Fawzi’s films and eventually married him in 1952, despite the 25 year age difference.

     Now Naima Fawzy, the circus baby turned movie star joined one of the first professional Egyptian folkloric groups, Leil Ya Ain Group, and helped make it a success. In 1954 at age 25, she was nominated as best dancer in a folklore contest at the Youth Festival in Moscow. Naima's name can still be seen on the wall of the Bolshoi commemorating the event. Sadly, Naima and her husband divorced in 1958 and both stars faded into obscurity. Naima quit acting in 1964 to take care of her only child, a son from her second marriage to accountant Salah Abdel Aleem. She died two years later from cancer, on April 23, 1966, at the age of 37.

Naima Akef films from

  • Amir el dahaa (1964)
    ... aka The Crafty One (International: English title)
    ... aka Vengeance of the Desert (USA: dubbed version)

  • Tamr henna (1957) .... Tamra Henna
    ... aka Tamarind (International: English title)
  • Aziza (1955)
  • Arbah banat wa zabit (1954)
    ... aka Four Girls and an Officer (International: English title)
  • Ya Halawaat al-Hubb (1952)
    ... aka The Sweetness of Love (USA)
  • Fataat al sirk (1951)
    ... aka Daughter of the Circus (International: English title)
  • Baba Areess (1950)
    ... aka Father Wants a Wife (International: English title)
  • Furigat (1950)
    ... aka All's Well (International: English title)

  • Baladi wa khafa (1949)
    ... aka She's Cute! (International: English title)
  • Lahalibo (1949)
  • Aish wal malh (1944)
    ... aka Bread and Salt (International: English title)
* This is the best article, although the year of birth is wrong.
Naima's style compared to other Middle Eastern dancers