Jay Abdo (Arabic: جهاد عبدو; born Jihad Abdo or Jihad Abdou; October 21, 1962) is a Syrian actor. He has been acting since 1988, and most recently starred in Queen of the Desert and A Hologram for the King.[1]

Jay Abdo
جهاد عبدو
Jihad Abdo

(1962-10-21) October 21, 1962 (age 60)
Damascus, Syria
EducationHigher Institute of Dramatic Art
Years active1986–present
Fadia Afashe
(m. 2006)

Early lifeEdit

Abdo was born in Damascus. He traveled to Cluj-Napoca, Romania, to study civil engineering and began acting there. After his success on the stage, he returned to Damascus to study acting at the Higher Institute for Dramatic Arts. After graduating in 1991, he became well known in the Arab world and starred in many films and television shows.

Move to AmericaEdit

In 2011, during a trip to Beirut where he spoke to a reporter from the Los Angeles Times, Abdo spoke out against the Assad government and how they were "responsible for killings within their borders". After returning to Syria, Abdo received a number of threats and was generally intimidated, and was criticized for his lack of patriotism. Following this, he moved to the United States in October 2011 to escape persecution.[1] He joined his wife in Minnesota, where she was studying as a Humphrey fellow at the Fulbright Program.[2] The couple later moved to Los Angeles so he could start acting again. After working several odd jobs,[2] including delivering pizzas for Domino's Pizza,[1] he landed several major roles, including Queen of the Desert and A Hologram for the King.

USC film School created a documentary about him titled “Jihad in Hollywood“,2015.



  1. ^ a b c Anthony, Andrew (14 June 2014). "Jay Abdo, Syrian actor: how I changed my name from Jihad to Jay and (eventually) conquered Hollywood". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  2. ^ a b Miriam Jordan; Erich Schwartzel (May 12, 2014). "Jihad 'Jay' Abdo, a Star Who Fled His Native Syria, Looks for a Hollywood Ending". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 24 July 2014.

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