Egyptian comedian George Sidhom dies aged 81

Sidhom helped found one of the most important comedy groups in the Arab world

Picture from the mid 90s shows Egyptian cinema and theatre comedian George Sidhom. The popular actor, currently in his sixties and very ill, was one of the comic theatre trio Thulathi Adwaa al-Masrah who achieved pan-Arab fame in the 1960s. (Photo by MOHAMMED AL-SEHITI / AFP)

Egyptian comedian George Sidhom, a founder of one of the oldest stand-up comedy groups in the Arab world, has died at the age of 81, Egyptian media has reported.

Sidhom, who founded the comedy troupe Tholathy Adwaaa El-Masrah, had struggled with his health in recent years, and retired several years ago due to a stroke.

Born in Sohag, Egypt, in 1938, Sidhom grew up with a love of acting. While he was at university studying towards a bachelor's degree from the Faculty of Agriculture, Ain Shams University, he took on a role in a television programme called "Dosh bared" (Cold Shower). 

It was there that he met El Deif Ahmed and Samir Ghanem, who he formed Tholathy Adwaaa El-Masrah with.

Sidhom was known for his signature slapstick comedy style, which relied on sarcasm and mock stupidity. He was also known for his quirky marketing campaigns, which never relied on posters or banners, but the three men driving along in a car and announcing their next project.

The comedy troupe's debut was in the Egyptian comedy sketch "Doctour Elhaa'ny" (Doctor Save Me), which was also their first taste of fame.

The ensemble presented the television programme, Ramadan Riddles, each year for 10 years. They released several films, the most popular of which were Akher Shakawa30 Yom fel Segn and El Maganeen El Talata.

They were also well known for the 1978 play Al-Motazawegoon.

After El Deif Ahmed's death in 1970, Ghanem and Sidhom continued the troupe as a duo until 1982.

Sidhom was married to pharmacist Linda Makram, who he remained with until his death.