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Mahfouz Doss, an Egyptian journalist and former president of the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, has died. He was 97.
“We are incredibly saddened at the passing of Mahfouz Doss,” Helen Hoehne, current president of the HFPA, said Thursday in a statement. “He was a true pioneer of the HFPA, having joined the association in 1959 when the [Golden Globes] ceremonies were held at the famous Cocoanut Grove Club at the Ambassador Hotel. His six decades of service saw the growth of the Globes into an iconic global brand. We are forever grateful for his leadership, generosity of spirit and his dedication as a journalist and colleague.”
Born on Aug. 18, 1925, in Port Said, Egypt, Doss knew early on that he was interested in the entertainment industry. “As a teenager in Cairo, I used to go to the movies,” he said in an association interview in 2013. “I was fascinated by actors. And I was fascinated by stories.”
Before heading into Hollywood, Doss, who was fluent in Arabic, French and English, graduated from the University of Toulouse in France with a degree in chemical engineering, as well as a master’s degree in organic chemistry and applied chemistry. In 1974, he traveled the world as a guest lecturer for engineering organizations, starting in Japan and finishing in Iceland.
He began his career in journalism in the ’50s at Al Ahram Financial, a financial and business magazine published by a daily newspaper in the Middle East. Once he moved to the U.S. in 1959, he started as a Hollywood correspondent for the weekly Egyptian newspaper Watani. As a journalist, he attended more than 3,000 industry news conferences and set visits.
That same year, he joined HFPA, where he would serve in several roles with the organization, including as a member of the board for more than 25 years, chairman of the board, vice president and president from 2000-01.
In 2013, he received the Life Achievement Award from the Egyptian American Organization for his leadership in journalism, chemical engineering and the community.
Doss’ other passions included photography; he took more than 5,000 photos during his visits to 114 countries.
He is survived by his wife, Juliette, and his brother, George.
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