Birthday: April 15, 1955
Died At Age: 42
Sun Sign: Aries
Also Known As: Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Muna'im Al-Fayed
Born in: Alexandria, Egypt
Famous as: Ex-Lover of Princess Diana
Spouse/Ex-: Susanne Gregard
father: Mohamed Al-Fayed
mother: Samira Khashoggi
siblings: Camilla al-Fayed, Jasmine Al-Fayed, Karim Al-Fayed, Omar Al-Fayed
Died on: August 31, 1997
place of death: Paris
City: Alexandria, Egypt
Cause of Death: Car Accident
education: Collège Saint Marc, Alexandria, Institut Le Rosey, Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Dodi Fayed was an Egyptian heir and a film producer. He is better remembered for his romantic relationship with Princess Diana of Wales, and was killed with her in a car crash in Paris on August 31, 1997. The son of Egyptian billionaire businessman Mohamed Al-Fayed, Dodi was a jetsetter, who shuffled between Los Angeles, London, and other family homes. Termed by the media as a “playboy”, Dodi had dated several famous women, and was reportedly engaged to model Kelly Fisher at the time when he became involved with Diana. Although it is reported that he was serious about his relationship with Diana, the princess was still in two minds as she had apparently heard about Dodi’s financial debts and his weakness for cocaine, according to royal biographer Judy Wade. Dodi was well known in Hollywood for the successful movies he had produced as well as for the lavish parties he hosted at his Beverly Hills mansions. He financed or co-financed six films in 17 years, including ‘Chariots of Fire’, which won the Oscar for best picture.
Childhood & Early Life
Dodi Fayed was born on April 15, 1955, in Alexandria, Egypt, as Emad El-Din Mohamed Abdel Muna'im Al-Fayed. He was the eldest son of Mohamed Al-Fayed, who owned the luxury department store Harrods in London, the Fulham football club, and the Hotel Ritz Paris.
His mother was Samira Khashoggi, an author, and a Saudi-citizen of Turkish descent. Her father was Dr Muhammad Khashoggi, and brother the billionaire arms dealer Adnan Khashoggi.
Dodi attended College Saint Marc in Egypt, and the Institut Le Rosey in Switzerland.He graduated from Sandhurst Military Academy in the UK. He loved London, and as a teen, was a popular figure at London’s nightclub scene. Best known for his flamboyant lifestyle, he had a penchant for “fast cars and beautiful women.”
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Immediately after completing his education, Dodi Fayed served as an attaché at the United Arab Emirates Embassy in London. He also worked on Harrods' marketing for his father.
After serving the United Arab Emirates air force for some time, he developed an interest in the film industry after being taken on a tour of a James Bond set by friend Cubby Broccoli in 1979. He entered the world of films in the same year. With financial help from his father, he started Allied Stars, a production company.
In 1980, he co-produced ‘Breaking Glass’, a British film, written and directed by Brian Gibson. The film was screened at the 1980 Cannes Film Festival.
He was the executive producer of the films ‘Chariots of Fire’, a 1981 British historical drama film; and ‘F/X’, a 1986 American action-thriller film directed by Robert Mandel, along with its sequel and television series—‘F/X: The Series’. He also served as the executive creative consultant for the series.
He was also the executive producer of ‘F/X2: The Deadly Art of Illusion’, a 1991 American action thriller film directed by Richard Franklin; ‘Hook’, a 1991 American fantasy adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg; and ‘The Scarlet Letter’, a 1995 American romantic drama film.
He moved his production company to Los Angeles, after he became fascinated with the city. He was sued several times for failing to live up to his movie commitments. In 1995, he was sued for $1 million for allegedly selling distribution rights of major films that he did not own.
‘Chariots of Fire’ that was ranked 19th in the British Film Institute's list of Top 100 British films, was one of the memorable films that Dodi produced. The film was also notable for its memorable electronic theme tune by Vangelis, who won the Academy Award for Best Original Score.
Awards & Achievements
‘Chariots of Fire’ was nominated for seven Academy Awards, and won four, including Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.
Dodi first met Princess Diana at a polo match in 1986, when she was married to the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles of Wales. At the match Dodi played against Prince Charles’ team.
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Dodi had reportedly dated Julia Roberts, Winona Ryder, Brooke Shields, and Nancy Sinatra at different points of time. In 1986, he married model Suzanne Gregard, but the couple divorced after eight months. In 1997, he was engaged to an American model, Kelly Fisher, and bought a house in Malibu, California, to live with her.
Diana and Charles divorced in August 1996, after separating in 1992. After the divorce, she was hosted by Dodi’s father Al-Fayed in south of France, with her two sons, Princes William and Harry, for a holiday. She also met Dodi there and the two started dating.
Diana's journalist friend Richard Kay had confirmed that Diana was involved with Dodi in "her first serious romance" since her divorce. Dodi’s former spokesman, Michael Cole, had claimed that the couple had become engaged before their death.
His then finance Kelly Fisher claimed that he dumped her for Diana. Fisher had filed a breach of contract suit against him, in which she mentioned that he had "led her emotionally all the way up to the altar and abandoned her when they were almost there. He threw her love away in a callous way with no regard for her whatsoever". She withdrew the lawsuit after Dodi’s death.
Dodi Fayed had bought a 195 ft yacht, called the Jonikal, for a holiday. He and Diana were on a private cruise on Jonikal for nine days. Photographs of the couple on the cruise were published in the media. The couple went on a second private cruise on the Jonikal, and returned from Sardinia to Paris on August 30, 1997.
They stopped in Paris en route to London. The couple privately dined at the Ritz the same day. The photographers were constantly following them, which forced the couple to cancel a restaurant reservation.
On August 31, 1997, in an attempt to deceive the press and photographers, a decoy car left the hotel from the front, while Diana and Dodi sped off from the rear of the hotel in a Mercedes-Benz W140 driven by chauffeur Henri Paul. Minutes later, the car crashed in the Pont de l'Alma tunnel, killing the chauffeur and Dodi instantly. Diana was admitted in the hospital, where she died the same day.
Dodi was originally interred in Brookwood Cemetery near Woking, Surrey, but in October 1997, was disinterred and re-buried on the grounds of the Fayed estate in Oxted, Surrey.
Although Dodi’s father claimed that MI6 agents on the instructions of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, had executed the couple, his conspiracy claims were dismissed by a French judicial investigation. The British Operation Paget, a Metropolitan police inquiry, concluded in 2006 that no evidence of a conspiracy was found.
Investigations by the French and British police concluded that chauffeur Henri Paul was driving under the influence of alcohol and prescription drugs. The independent photographers chasing the couple are also believed to have contributed to the accident.
In May 2001, Dodi’s father had claimed to the ‘Daily Express’ that Diana was pregnant when she died. However, witnesses at the inquest said the princess was not pregnant, and it was an attempt to kindle a conspiracy by Mohamed Al-Fayed.
Al-Fayed has unveiled two memorials of his son and Diana at Harrods. One of the memorials was unveiled on April 12, 1998, which consists of photos of the couple along with a wine glass smudged with lipstick from Diana's last dinner, and a ring Dodi had bought the day before they died. The second memorial was unveiled in 2005, titled ‘Innocent Victims’, which is a 3-metre-high bronze statue of the couple dancing.