Hesham Selim: The Actor with Bold Stances who Died Bereft of His Family

Egyptian actor Hesham Selim

The death of the actor Hesham Selim was a shock to his fans, who hardly had time to understand the news of his cancer. The artist managed to hide the news for many months, during which he was being treated for advanced lung cancer.

He remained steadfast until his last moments, recalling how his father, famous football player Saleh Selim, dealt calmly with his liver cancer, and just as he did, Hesham Selim passed away quietly, apart from his family after two of his children left him with their mother outside Egypt.


Hesham Selim is the son of the Egyptian football player Saleh Selim. He graduated from the Faculty of Tourism and Hotels at Helwan University. His first appearance was through the character "Medhat," the son of artist Faten Hamama in the movie Empire of M  which was written in 1972 by Ihsan Abdel Quddous (script written by Naguib Mahfouz). Then he participated in the movie I Want a Solution in 1975 under the direction of Saeed Marzouk.

But his real breakthrough was at the age of sixteen when the great director Youssef Chahine chose him to present the main character of “Ibrahim" in his masterpiece The Return of the Prodigal Son (1976).

Starting in 1980s, he presented several drama series, including Al-Raya Al-Bayda, Layali Al-Hilmiyeh, and others.

The 1990s was a golden period in Hesham Selim's artistic career, on both the big and small screens. He starred in some dramas such as And Still the Nile Runs (directed by Mohamed Fadel), Arabesque (directed by Gamal Abdel Hamid) and Hawanem Garden City (directed by Ahmed Saqr).

This timeframe also witnessed the emergence of the late actor's talent in the field of stage shows, through the musical play Muhammad Ali Street (directed by Muhammad Abdulaziz), which he co-starred with Sherihan and Farid Shawqi in 1991.

As for his latest work before his health deteriorated, it was the series Hagma Mortada (Counterattack) last year, written by Baher Dowidar and directed by Ahmed Alaa El-Deeb.


Selim was known for his positions in support of the January 25 revolution in 2011, which overthrew former President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak, and for his interest in political and public affairs. He presented a talk show on one of the Arab satellite channels in 2013 and 2014.

He had political positions, including skirmishes with the terrorist Brotherhood, as he asserted that it perverted religion, while he launched an attack on one of its leaders when he refused a request of clemency for an Egyptian artist for his support of religion. Please doublecheck me here as I deleted some words

In 2013, Hesham Selim criticized the Brotherhood's calls to organize a massive protests in millions to purge the judiciary in the wake of the chaos the Brotherhood sought to spread following the popular ouster of its president, Mohamed Morsi.

In 2016, the Egyptian artist Hesham Selim launched an attack on his fellow actor Wagdy Al-Arabi from the Brotherhood, for refusing to pray for mercy and forgiveness for the late artist Mamdouh Abdel Alim.


In 2017, Hesham Selim apologized for not participating in the series Al-Gama'a, Part Two, where he was going to play the role of the character Omar Al-Telmisani, the third general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood.

According to local media, the apology came due to Hesham Selim’s objection to some points with the production company, and the difference of opinion on the staging, noting that he apologized to the production company because he was unable to coordinate the shooting schedule.


The late artist suffered from lung cancer, and he did not discover his disease until his condition worsened, and his treatment became intractable.

Doctor Yasser Abdel Qader, Professor of Oncology at Qasr Al-Ainy Medicine in Cairo, who supervised his treatment, revealed that he suffered from cancer in its advanced stages due to smoking, and that he underwent treatment for a whole year at Dar Al Fouad Hospital.

Despite the difficulty of his condition, he underwent chemotherapy, according to his doctor, and also underwent immunotherapy, but he relapsed during his progress in treatment.  According to the medical team that supervised his treatment, he was dealing normally with lung cancer in the advanced stages of the disease, and he was aware that the goal of treatment in the advanced stages of his disease is to increase the patient's life expectancy and relieve pain only.

In the hospital where he continued to treat for a whole year, the medical and nursing team dealt with a person of the highest morals, taste and respect, and he was responding to the doctors’ requests, despite his realization that it was too late. Despite his suffering, he did not reveal his cancer until only three months ago.


In 2020, the late actor took a position that made him the talk of the Arab press and social networking sites, as he announced the transformation of his daughter Noura into a male, after she underwent a sex change operation.

Selim said that Noura, who became Nour, faced many difficulties and an identity crisis, and said that he did not understand what was happening to her.

He searched on the Internet and found only two people suffering from the same problem. Selim said that his daughter was thinking of suicide, and she felt that she was abnormal and could not live her life normally.

He revealed that he encouraged and supported his child to change her gender, and said that the reason was the amount of bullying she had suffered and the criticism she had received. Adding that he wanted Noura, saying “my son” instead of “my daughter,” to live a normal life, and that he wanted him to live with him in Egypt despite criticism from people who forced him to stay away.


Hesham Selim married twice, the first time to an Egyptian woman named Mervat El-Nahhas, with whom he had three daughters Nora, Zain, and Qismat.

His first divorce was not amicable, as his wife traveled outside Egypt and took with her two daughters, Qismat and Zain, and it was reported that the artist had not seen them for a long time, and that his ex-wife deprived him of them.


Hesham Selim chose isolation before his death, and he did not appear on any of his social media accounts and did not comment on any events.

Many of his followers linked his absence to his health condition, and some of them confirmed that his health had deteriorated significantly, as evidenced by one of the photos published by his son, where he showed signs of illness and a substantial loss of weight.

Hesham Selim was keen to reassure his fans that he was fine, but he was aware that he was fighting a difficult battle with a fierce disease that was diagnosed after it was too late.

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