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Nadim Sawalha

Something of a pioneer in British cinema, Jordan-born Nadim Sawalha has spent more than four decades as a stage, television and film actor, long as one of the few Arab performers in the United Kingdom, and one who has moved away from stereotypical roles despite playing them early in his career. That career started on screen just before the age of 30, when Sawalha appeared as a Beirut local in the opening episode of the popular British spy series "Secret Agent" (1964). He played a waiter later in the season, but did not land another screen role until 1970, when he appeared as a sheik in the oil-themed TV drama series "Mogul" (aka "The Troubleshooters"). Sawalha's feature debut came in the 1973 romantic comedy "A Touch of Class," in which he played a hotel manager. In addition to small and similarly themed roles, Sawalha also embodied villains, such as the Egyptian smuggler opposite Roger Moore's James Bond in "The Spy Who Loved Me" (1977). Sawalha later appeared in another Bond film, "The Living Daylights" (1987), this time in a bit part as the Tangier security head. He hasn't been confined to British cinema, though, nor to background roles or parts as evildoers. In 2005, he played an aging Gulf emir in the American political thriller "Syriana," and in 2007 he turned in an award-winning performance as the titular storytelling Jordanian airport custodian in the tender drama "Captain Abu Raed."
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