Zia Mohyeddin, the British-Pakistani actor known for his parts in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Immaculate Conception’, and the stage version of ‘A Passage to India’, died on Monday in a Karachi hospital, ‘Variety’ reports. Mohyeddin, who was 91, was ill and on life support, his family said. His death was condoled by top members of Pakistan’s political establishment, including President Arif Ali, Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif, and his predecessor, Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf leader Imran Khan.
Mohyeddin was born in Lyallpur (now Faisalabad), British India, in 1931. He studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London in the early 1950s.
After theatre roles in ‘Long Day’s Journey into Night’ and ‘Julius Caesar’, Mohyeddin in 1960 made his West End debut in ‘A Passage to India’, where he originated the role of Dr Aziz.
The actor featured in David Lean’s ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ (1962), playing the role of Arab guide Tafas. Roles in Alexander Mackendrick’s ‘Sammy Going South’ (1963), Fred Zinnemann’s ‘Behold a Pale Horse’ (1964), Basil Dearden’s ‘Khartoum’ (1966), Ralph Thomas’ ‘Deadlier Than the Male’ (1966), Tony Richardson’s ‘The Sailor from Gibraltar’ (1967), Freddie Francis’ ‘They Came from Beyond Space’ (1967) and Peter Hall’s ‘Work Is a Four-Letter Word’ (1968) followed.
Mohyeddin returned to Pakistan in the late 1960s and hosted ‘The Zia Mohyeddin Show’ (1969-73), the immensely popular talk show on PTV.
He went back to the U.K. in the late 1970s after differences of opinion with General Zia-ul-Haq’s military regime and produced the multi-cultural programme ‘Here and Now’ (1986-89) for Central Television (now ITV).
The actor’s later appearances included the landmark Granada Television series ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ (1984), Ken McMullen’s ‘Partition’ (1987) and Jamil Dehlavi’s ‘Immaculate Conception’ (1992).
In 2005, the then President of Pakistan Pervez Musharraf asked Mohyeddin to form the National Academy of Performing Arts in Karachi, and the actor remained its President Emeritus till his death. In 2012, he was accorded the Hilal-e-Imtiaz, the second-highest civilian honour in Pakistan.