May 28, 2023

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Lebanon bids farewell to comedy drama pioneer Sami Kayat

The day before yesterday, the Lebanese director, writer and actor Sami Kayad, considered one of the most important faces of comedy in Lebanon, passed away at the age of 79. As confirmed by his daughter Sabeen Ghayat.

Kayad died at Risk Hospital in Beirut, where he had been in intensive care for about a week due to complications from bone cancer, according to his daughter.

Born in December 1943, Gayath has produced around 62 satirical works since 1960. Even during the harshest phases of the war that Lebanon witnessed between 1975 and 1990, his almost annual works were shown for months at a time.

Graduated in law and political science, with a degree in contemporary literature and linguistics, he is famous for using it in his works, in which his wife Nyla represents a mixture of French and Lebanese dialect with him. He called it “Al-Branbani” which he published a book in 2023.

The late was sometimes content with only French, and attracted a wide range of francophones and intellectuals, and in 2020 was awarded the French Medal of Arts and Letters with officer status in recognition of his work.

Known for his restless movement on stage, Gayath satirized political and social conditions in his plays and imitated certain political and media figures, and in his last work “Wala” in early 2022, he touched on health and economic crises.

The Actors’ Syndicate in Lebanon said, “Comedy theater has lost, with the death of Kayath, an essential pillar of its creation,” describing the deceased as “the owner of a special, educated personality.”

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Deputy presidential candidate Michael Mowat wrote on his Twitter account: “With the departure of creator Sami Ghayat, the comic theater loses its godfather. He instilled joy in the hearts of the Lebanese people even in the most difficult circumstances.

As for actor Wissam Sabak, he described the deceased as a “beautiful soul” and an “unrepeatable talent”.

Gayath was also active in the field of animal welfare, and in the 1970s she revived the Animal Welfare Association founded by her father, Albert Gayath.