Actor Rami Malek made history in 2019, at the Academy Awards when he became the first actor of Egyptian and Arab heritage to win the best actor Oscar, for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury and performance in Bohemian Rhapsody.
Before Bohemian Rhapsody, Malek was best known for the lead role of the hit TV series Mr. Robot and won an Emmy for best actor in a drama series in 2016.
Born in Los Angeles in 1981, his family immigrated to the United States from Cairo, Egypt. Malek spoke Arabic in his childhood and notes that his Egyptian background was both helpful, as well as a hindrance, when it came to starting out as an actor. However, it was after being casted to portray the role of a terrorist in 2010, that prompted the actor to refuse any negative portrayals of Arabs and became firm on rejecting typecasting roles such as “a terrorist” or “pharaoh,” before being invited to play Freddie Mercury.
While accepting his award at the Oscars, Malek noted his experience of portraying Freddie Mercury and discussed his own connection to the role, “I am the son of immigrants from Egypt, I’m a first generation American and part of my story is being written right now. And I could not be more grateful to each and every one of you and everyone who believed in me for this moment.”