Meeting Movie Stars
By Zahi Hawass
movie stars come to Egypt, and the first thing that they all want to do is
to visit the pyramids and the Sphinx. I always tell people that the magic
of Egypt can be felt by seeing the pyramids, Sphinx, mummies and King Tut,
the golden boy. I am so lucky to be connected to these four magnificent
aspects of ancient Egypt.
I have worked all my life at the pyramids and made many discoveries that
have become famous all over the world, such as the tombs of the pyramid
builders at Giza. These tombs show that Egyptians were the builders of the
pyramids and that the pyramids were not built by slaves. We have also
discovered significant evidence concerning the construction of the
pyramids in addition to many tombs of nobles and officials. The Sphinx
also became very important in my life. In 1988 it lost its shoulder, and I
stayed beside him for 10 years while nursing him. I always say that when I
visited the Sphinx in 1988 and his shoulder had fallen off that I felt he
was crying. I could actually see his tears because the Sphinx is living
stone. When I received a decoration of the first degree in art and
literature for the Sphinx restoration, I was so happy.
I have also danced with mummies. Over 250 mummies were found in the Valley
of the Golden Mummies at Bahariya. This discovery is considered by many to
be the “Tutankhamun” of the Graeco-Roman period. My days spent at Bahariya
Oasis will never be forgotten.
Finally, I had the opportunity of meeting Tutankhamun face to face when I
did the CT Scan of his mummy. I think that this is also a moment that I
will never forget.
These discoveries in addition to more recent ones were accomplished by
Egyptian teams and are in the hearts of people all around the world. That
is why kings and queens, who come to Egypt, wish to see these marvelous
discoveries. Queen Sofia of Spain has come many times to visit the
pyramids. One day, she only came to see the discoveries at Giza. She had a
camera in her hand and photographed many tombs, including the beautiful
tomb of Kai, which I always refer to as the Nefertari of Giza. Queen
Beatrix of the Netherlands also came to see our marvelous discoveries.
Hilary Clinton, wife of former President Bill Clinton, and her daughter
Chelsea also visited. Even Barbara Bush brought all the wives of her sons
to Giza in 1998. When Laura Bush came to Giza last year, I showed her the
photo that was taken with her at that time. Also, it was nice to see Roger
Moore and take him with his friend Christine to Bahariya and also to take
Brooke Shields to visit the Osiris Shaft at Giza.
Recently, many movie stars have visited Egypt. Jacqueline Bisset came with
Danny Glover. Jacqueline was very special, and she has eyes that look as
if she is continually dreaming. I took her to see the tomb of Amenhotep II
(KV 35) in the Valley of the Kings, and I cannot forget her enthusiasm and
sincerity. Mia, an Argentinian actress who lives in Hollywood and played
the wife of Moses in a TV series, also came recently with Omar Sharif.
Naomi Campbell, the well-known model, also came to Egypt. Amr Badr told me
that Naomi wanted to meet me at the Sphinx. So, I went one day to see her
there. It was a very windy and sandy day. She was supposed to meet me at
the Sphinx at noon, and I waited until 12:30 but she did not arrive. So, I
left. Later, Naomi came to my office in Zamalek and wanted us to go out
again to the pyramids to meet the Sphinx. She told me that she has a
special relation with the Sphinx. I talked to the Sphinx, and she said
that he could not meet us now but would like to see us on March 15. When I
went to Miami for my eye surgery, Naomi sent me a package of toys, films,
and other items that I would enjoy.
Recently, I received a phone call from my friend Brando Quilici, who
produced a beautiful film about Queen Hatshepsut. Brando told me that
David Lande, Shakira’s manager, said that Shakira wants to meet me. So, I
met her at the Sphinx. She is very intelligent and reads a lot. She also
speaks Arabic and was wonderful! When the movie stars come to Egypt to
visit the pyramids and Sphinx, they make the press crazy.
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