Uploaded on Dec 11, 2011
Leila Mourad (Arabic: ليلى مراد; February 17, 1918- November 21, 1995) was an Egyptian singer and actress. She is also credited as "Laila Mourad" and "Layla Mourad".
Leila Mourad was born in Al Daher, Cairo on February 17, 1918 to an Egyptian of Iraqi Jewish descent father, Zaki Mourad, a respected singer and musician in the twenties, and to a Jewish mother whose family is from Poland, Gamilah "Salmon" who gave birth to Mourad, Isak, Ibrahim, Malak, Mounir and Samihah. Her brother Mounir Mourad was an actor and composer.
Egyptian Jewish composer Dawood Hussnei, who composed the first Operetta in the Arabic language, helped her start her career by composing two songs: "Hairana Leh Bein El-Eloub" (Why can't you choose from among lovers), and "Howa el dala'a ya'ani khessam" (Does daliance mean avoiding me?). Further success came when the prominent Egyptian composer Mohammed Abdel Wahab heard her singing and gave her a role in his film Yahia el Hob (Viva Love!) in 1938.
In 1953, she was selected, over Umm Kulthum, as the official singer of the Egyptian revolution. Shortly thereafter, a rumor that Murad had visited Israel, where she had family, and donated money to its military, placed her as a suspect of spying and made some Arab radio stations boycott her. She denied these allegations and she was called for judicial investigations. All along, she maintained her innocence, declaring, "I am an Egyptian Muslim".
No proof was found that she had contributed money to Israel, though she may have sent money to and been in contact with her family in Israel. Jews still in Egypt exchanged gifts with their families in Israel through intermediaries in France or other European countries. It was also rumored that she met in Paris with members of her family living in Israel.
The Egyptian government investigated and concluded that the charges against the singer were without foundation. The Egyptian public continued to love her, ignoring the controversy.
Some historians claim that President Nasser insisted that Syria end their boycott of Leila Mourad's songs and films, and the Syrians complied. Yet, Nasser clearly preferred Um Kulthum, an Egyptian Muslim persona, over Leila Murad. Shortly after Gamal Abd el Nasser came to power by staging a coup d'état against Mohamed Naguib, Leila Murad ended her career abruptly, and without giving an explanation. Within the same time frame, Um Kulthum came out with a song "Ya Gamal ya methal el wataniya", "Oh Gammal, you are the prime example of patriotism."
Leila Murad did make one appearance in 1970, when she was scheduled to read "Fawazeer Ramadan" (Ramadan' puzzles), a daily traditional program held during the Holy month of Ramadan. After a few days, she was replaced.
Leila Murad's relationship with her family was not an easy one, possibly due to her conversion. Between 1967 and 1969, Hundreds of Egyptian Jewish males were deported to the detention camps of Abu Za'abal and Tura, including Leila's brother, Isak Zaki. Families of the detainees were allowed visit beginning 1968, yet several detainees noted that Leila was never seen visiting her brother.
Leila Murad died in a hospital in Cairo in 1995
Leila Mourad married Anwar Wagdi (1947--1954), a Muslim, over the objection of her father, the Jewish singer Zaki Murad. They were married and divorced three times. Leila gives the reason for her divorces as the fact that she was not fully aware of the seriousness of Wagdi's disease and hence his irritability. Later she married Waguih Abaza, and then film director Fatin Abdul Wahab and she gave birth to their son Zaki Fatin Abdul Wahab, and finally divorced in 1969.
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