Sabah was a Lebanese singer and actress. Considered a “Diva of Music” in the Arab world, she released over 50 albums and acted in 98 movies as well as over 20 Lebanese stage plays.
She had a reported more than 3,500 songs in her repertoire. She was among the first Arabic singers to perform at the Olympia in Paris, Carnegie Hall in New York City, the Royal Albert Hall in London and the Sydney Opera House.
The Search Engine Google is showing Doodle in few Countries for Sabah’s 90th Birthday on 10th November 2017.
Sabah singer was considered one of the four Lebanese icons along with Fairuz, Wadih El Safi and Samira Tawfiq and was nicknamed “Empress of the Lebanese Song”.
Sabah emerged at a time when the field of Arab singers was already crowded with formidable competitors. These included Najat Al Saghira (born 1938), Warda Al-Jazairia (1939-2012), Shadia (born 1929), Fayza Ahmed (1934-1983) and Nouhad Wadie’ Haddad (born 1934) and others.
Sabah released her first song in 1940 at age 15. She soon caught the eye of Egyptian film producer Asia Dagher, who immediately signed her for three films.
The first of these, El-Qalb Louh Wahid (The Heart Has Its Reasons), made her a star and she became known by her character’s name—Sabah—which is Arabic for morning. She also acquired several affectionate nicknames, including “Shahroura” (“singing bird”) and “Sabbouha,” a diminutive of Sabah.
Sabah carried four different passports: Lebanese, Egyptian, Jordanian and United States. She wed seven times, most notably to Egyptian actor Roshdi Abaza, as well as Lebanese author-director Wassim Tabbara, Lebanese businessman Najib Chammas, Lebanese politician Youssef Hammoud and Egyptian musician Anwar Mansy.
Her last marriage was to the much-younger Lebanese artist Fadi Lubnan. She had two children, Sabah Chammas and Howayda Mansy.
She lived many love stories but she never found love. She said in one of her interviews that her ex-husbands usually called her “Mrs. Bank”. They married her just because of her large fortune, and that’s why none of her love relationships worked out successfully, to say nothing of how many times they cheated on her, e.g., Wassim Tabbara.
Anwar Mansi allegedly was a poker addict and was beating her as well. As for Najib Chammas, he wanted her to get away from the spotlights and become a housewife.
Sabah experienced financial difficulties and after selling her home in the early 2000s, moved to Hotel Comfort in Baabda, Mount Lebanon, a hill city overlooking Beirut and the Mediterranean Sea, and later lived in Hotel Brazilia – next to Baabda.
She suffered from many illnesses due to several thrombuses in her brain, leading to loss of control of her left hand and foot. Though her condition impaired her concentration, her memory remained intact.
On Sunday 30 November 2014, four days after Sabah’s death, hundreds of friends, family and fans packed into St. George Cathedral in downtown Beirut to say farewell to the famed Lebanese singer, actress and entertainer.
Al Shahrourah, a TV drama based on her life, aired during Ramadan 2011. She was portrayed by actress/singer Carole Samaha. Sabah’s reaction was mostly positive towards the series and she was happy that it was a success, though she commented about certain inaccuracies, such as the depiction of her father as wearing traditional Lebanese garb.
She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Dubai International Film Festival. She was honored by the Egyptian cinema in Cairo. She was honored in Beirut with a statue.
She was honored by the Lebanese cinema and stage as well as Lebanese composers. Months before she died, the Lebanese journalist Rima Njeim hosted an honoring episode aired live on MTV Lebanon.
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