It’s Dalida’s Death Anniversary; But Legends Never Die

Friday May 3, 2019                    WoE


Today marks the 32nddeath anniversary of Dalida – a tragic suicide of a diva at 54. Dalid committed suicide on the night of May 2, 1987 in her apartment in Paris.

Dalida 1933

Born as Yolanda Gigliotti in Cairo in 1933 to a family of Italian immigrants, Dalida grew up in the neighborhood of Shubra. Her father worked as the principal violinist for the Cairo Opera.

Winning Miss Egypt Beauty Contest in 1954 landed her a role in an Egyptian movie. The movie was not a great success, but a French producer convinced her to pursue a film career in Paris. Against her parents’ objections, she traveled to Paris in December 1954, only to realize there was no room for her in the French cinema. Instead, she started singing in some French cabarets. She met a record producer who believed in her talent. Her first single, Madonna, brought attention to her voice, but it was the success of her song Bambino in 1956 that set an interrupted successful career of more than three decades. By the time of her death, Dalida had sold more than 170 million albums and singles worldwide, including Egypt, where she sang an entire album in Egyptian. Her Egyptian album “Helwa ya Balady” became a sensational hit in her country of birth and the Middle East.

The Sixth Day by Youssef Shahin

Dalida who left Egypt for France to start her movie career, played several roles in low budget commercial movies that didn’t add much to her career. It wasn’t until 1987, when Egyptian director Youssef Chahin hired her to play the leading role in his film The Sixth Day that Dalida finally received recognition for her performance by movie critics.

In spite of her soaring fame, Dalida lived a troubled personal life. She witnessed several tragic incidents and heartaches. Her suicide in 1987 was not her first attempt to take her own life. She survived an earlier suicide attempt in in 1967 that left her five days in coma and several months to recuperate. Ironic that four of her lovers had also taken their own lives.


Dalid died alone in her apartment. She left behind a note that read, “La vie m’est insupportable… Pardonnez-moi.” “Life is unbearable for me… Forgive me.”


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