A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Famous Lebanese Singer Sabah Dies at Age 87

Sabah in her prime
The great Lebanese singer and actress known as Sabah has died at the age of 87.  Born Jeanette Gergis al-Feghali to a Maronite Christian family in 1927, she was a prolific singer (reportedly 3,500 songs and least 50 albums), film actress (98 films, mostly made in Egypt), and bride (at least 7 and perhaps as many as 10 husbands, still a matter of dispute in the Arab celebrity tabloids).

She was one of the most senior singing divas of the Arab world, not equaling the late Umm Kulthoum or Fairuz, but certainly in the first rank. From the 1940s into her declining years she continued to entertain. (And marry: the dispute over the number of husbands stems from knowing at least one purported marriage was a publicity stunt and another perhaps an April fool's joke. Reports that she married her longtime hairdresser/caretaker in 2012 when she was 85 have been disputed. At least seven marriages seems undisputed. And there were rumors of affairs as well.

She is widely believed to have had frequent plastic surgeries,which combined with her marriage habit have led to numerous jokes, which I will not repeat. De mortuis nil nisi bonum.

In recent years she has been frequently hospitalized and there have been multiple rumors of her death. This one, however,does not appear to be a rumor. I'm no expert on her music, but for the true fans among you, one fan has a one hour and 40 minute collection on YouTube:

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