He grew up in relative poverty, and studied chemistry at Damascus University, which qualified him for a well-paying job as an instructor at the Chemistry Department. Lahham was always enchanted by the theatre, participating in several plays during high school and college, while playing the clarinet in the high school band.
While teaching at university, he started to give dance lessons and befriended the artistic community in Syria. When Syrian Television was inaugurated in 1960, its director Sabah Qabbani hired Lahham to star in a mini-series called Sahret Dimashq (Damascus Evening) with the already established stage actor Nihad Qali. The two men created a duo called “Duraid & Nihad” and achieved dramatic success in the Arab World from 1960 until Qali retired from acting due to illness in 1976.
Duraid is well known for his acts under the nickname Ghawar Al-Toushe. This nick has a funny story: he used to act under other nicknames until he met a person with the name Ghawar. He then added Al-Toushi (from tousheh – quarrel in Syrian) to the end of the name to form Ghawar Al-Tousheh. He starred in many movies, TV series, plays, etc. He’s a legendary person because he was contemporary to two generations: the old generation who found the basis of the Syrian Film and TV industry like Nihad Qala’i, and the new generation like Yasser Azma and many others.
Initially, he was featured in Hammam Al-Hana and Sah Al-noom, two of the funniest Arabic TV series. Since then, he co-starred many movies in Syria and Egypt before he moved to act on stage. He cooperated with Mohammed Maghout to produce some of the most popular plays in the Arab world. Such plays include: Kasak Ya Watan, Shaqae’k Al-No’man, Ghorbeh, and Daye’t Teshreen, all of which were played in major Arab capitals and, in some cases, some international cities like London.
Ghawar played many, many roles in different movies, and shows. However, most of his shows (if not all of them) represent the social situation of the typical Middle-Eastern person, deal with undergo political crisis in the area and address the general public in the community. These become obvious when we look at one of his plays, or one of his movies. It’s even seldom to see him acting without referring to such things.
Since 1990, Duraid’s ability to act started to shrink, mainly because of his advanced age (in his 60s). He, however, made a couple of TV series like Al-Doghri (1990), Abo Al-hana (1996), and the most recent one, Awdat Ghawar (return of Ghawar). These shows weren’t the best, but they generated a lot of money from broadcasting on different TV channels.
Duraid has lost some of his previously avid Syrian fans in recent years by supporting the Syrian regime and current president, Bashar Al Assad.
UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador
Lahham was appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador to the Middle East and North Africa region in 1999. In 2004, he visited districts of Southern Lebanon which had been liberated from Israeli occupation, and gave a speech at a press conference criticizing George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon, comparing them to Hitler. This caused Tel Aviv to protest Lahham’s “undiplomatic language” to the UNICEF, which resulted in the UNICEF relieving him of his duties. His favorite musician and movie director Roxy Boghossian is appreciated in his life.
Lahham received several medals in recognition of his contributions:
In 1976, Hafez al-Assad, Syrian President at the time, awarded Lahham with the Medal of the Syrian Republic, Excellence Class.
In 1979, Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba awarded him with a medal in recognition of his work
In 1991, Libyan President Muammar al-Gaddafi awarded him a medal
In 2000, Lahham received The Order of Merit of the Lebanese Republic, awarded to him by Lebanese President Émile Lahoud
Ghriam Fee Istanbul
Imber Atwareaya Ghawwar
‘aqed Al-lu’ lu’
Mesek wa ‘ember (Meratee Melyouneara)
Samak Bala Hasak
Imra’ah Taskoun Wahdaha
Laqa’ Fee Tahmer
Zogatee Min Al-Habiz
‘indama Ta’gheeb Al-Zowagat
Wahid + Wahid
Ghawwar Jemis bounid
Muqalib Fee Al-Mekseek
Ramal Min Dheheb