Sunday, February 26, 2012

Famous Alexandrians: Anne De Zogheb

Anne de Zogheb in ensemble by Pierre Balmain, Marie Claire, March 1963

Anne de Zogheb was a top international fashion model in the late 50's and early 60's, gracing covers of fashion mags in the US and France. She married pop singer and teen idol Paul Anka -- who is of Lebanese descent -- in 1963, and stopped modeling after her second child was born. Part of her upbringing took place in Alexandria. Her father, Count Charles de Zogheb (d. 2006), who became a Lebanese diplomat, was a member of Alexandria's illustrious Levantine de Zogheb clan. The de Zoghebs were Christian Syrian-Lebanese, who migrated to Alexandria during the era of French occupation (1798-1801), served consuls for various European powers (I believe that they were entered into the rank of the nobility by Austria-Hungary), and became fabulously wealthy (for a time) from the cotton trade. They were major figures in the social life of colonial-cosmopolitan Alexandria.

Hala Halim has written some very important work about the remarkable Bernard de Zogheb, the last of the family in Alexandria (the rest of them left in the 50s and 60s) and in particular, his fascinating operettas. I highly recommend a read. Perhaps I will post something on them in future.

I've not been able to determine the exact kinship relationship of Charles and Bernard, nor do I know how long Paul's now ex-wife Anne lived in Alexandria.

I hope in future to post something about other famous Alexandrians, like Eric Hobsbawm, Ungaretti, Marinetti and others.

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