Legendary singer Sabah, one of the Arab world’s best-known entertainers, has died in Beirut at the age of 87.
The Lebanese singer and actress, whose real name was Jeanette Gergis al-Feghali, first came to prominence in the 1950s as star of Egyptian movies.
During her more than six-decade long career, Sabah released over 50 albums and acted in 98 films.
Sabah died at her home in Beirut of an unspecified illness, reported Lebanon’s National News Agency.
She was the first Arab singer to perform at Olympia in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York, Piccadilly Theatre in London and the Sydney Opera House.
Born in Bdadoun, a Lebanese town in the Baabda-Aley province, Sabah released her first song in 1940.
The first of these, El-Qalb Louh Wahid (The Heart Has Its Reasons), made her a star – and she was known by her character’s name, Sabah, ever after.
She also acquired several affectionate nicknames, including “Shahroura”, Arabic for “singing bird”, and “Sabbouha,” a diminutive of Sabah.
Among her most popular films were Soft Hands (1964), Ataba Square (1959) and The Second Man (1960), in which she played a cabaret singer who vows to avenge her brother’s death at the hands of a smuggling ring.
Sabah held Egyptian, Jordanian and US citizenship as well as Lebanese, and continued to perform and make television appearances into her 80s.
At home, she was humorously mocked for refusing to leave the limelight, as well as her garish outfits and use of cosmetic surgery.
Sabah married nine times, most notably to Egyptian actor Roshdi Abaza and Lebanese author-director Wassim Tabbara.
Her last marriage, to Lebanese artist Fadi Lubnan, lasted 17 years.
Sabah had two children, Dr. Sabah Shammas and actress Howayda Mansy, both of whom live in the US.
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