Waleed Zuaiter

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Waleed Zuaiter
Born (1971-01-19) January 19, 1971 (age 50)
Alma materGeorge Washington University
Occupationactor, producer

Waleed F. Zuaiter (Arabic: وليد زعيتر‎) is an Arab-American actor and producer who has performed in on-stage productions in Washington, DC, Berkeley, California, and New York City, as well as several film and television productions. He lives in Los Angeles, California. He is the producer and co-star of Omar (2013), which was nominated for an Oscar at the 86th Academy Awards for Best Foreign Language Film.[1]


Zuaiter, an American with Palestinian ancestry, was born on 16 January, 1971 in Sacramento, California, but grew up in Kuwait. He returned to the United States to earn his degree in Philosophy and Theatre at George Washington University, in Washington, DC.


Zuaiter began his acting career with several productions in Washington, before relocating to New York City.

On the New York stage, he received critical acclaim for his portrayal of a former Iraqi translator for the U.S. military, in George Packer's Betrayed. He also has starred in David Greig's The American Pilot at the Manhattan Theatre Club, Tony Kushner's Homebody/Kabul, Ilan Hatsor's Masked, Eliam Kraiem's Sixteen Wounded, and Victoria Brittain and Gillian Slovo's Guantanamo: Honor Bound to Defend Freedom. He also performed alongside Meryl Streep and Kevin Kline in Mother Courage at the Public Theater.

Zuaiter is also the producer of the annual New York Arab-American Comedy Festival and a member of the Arab-American theater collective NIBRAS.

Zuaiter's film and television productions include the HBO/BBC miniseries House of Saddam, Sex and the City 2 and The Men Who Stare at Goats, in which he played the role of Mahmud Daash. Recently, he completed filming the suspense-thriller Elevator, directed by Stig Svendsen, in which he plays a man trapped in a Wall Street elevator with several people, one of whom has a bomb.

Most recently Waleed produced and starred in Omar, a gripping thriller written and directed by Golden Globe winner and Oscar nominee Hany Abu-Assad (Paradise Now). The film was selected as the Palestinian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 86th Academy Awards,[2] and was nominated for an Academy Award.[3] It also won Best Feature Film at the 2013 Asian Pacific Screen Awards.[4]

His latest project is a film adaptation of the Ibrahim Fawal novel On the Hills of God.

He also was featured in an NBC Universal Pilot written by Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson and directed by Spike Lee, starring Bobby Cannavale. Alongside Bobby Cannavale, Waleed's son, Laith Zuaiter, was featured in the pilot.

Waleed Zuaiter starred in London Has Fallen as Kamran Barkawi, Aamir Barkawi's son and henchman and second in command of a terrorist strike.

He starred as the recurring character Samir Abboud in the Netflix adaptation of the novel Altered Carbon.

Zuaiter starred in Billionaire Boys Club as The Persian, Hedayat Eslaminia and Izzy’s Father.[5]

In 2019, Waleed Zuaiter starred in Netflix limited series The Spy, as the Syrian Colonel Amin al-Hafiz.[6]

In 2020 he played the role of a former Iraqi police officer collaborating with US forces while trying to find his missing daughter in the series Baghdad Central.[7] The role earned him a leading actor nomination in the 2021 British Academy Television Awards.[8]

In 2021, he starred as Hassan Asfour, senior Palestinian Liberation Organization negotiator, in the HBO film Oslo about the negotiations that led to the Oslo Peace Accords.[9]


  1. ^ "Oscar Winners 2015: The Complete List - 86th Academy Awards". Oscar.com.
  2. ^ "Foreign Language Oscar: Israel Submits 'Bethlehem'; Palestine Goes With 'Omar'". Deadline.com. Retrieved 2013-09-30.
  3. ^ "Oscars: Main nominations 2014". BBC News. Retrieved 2014-01-16.
  4. ^ "Asia Pacific Screen Awards Announced in Australia". Australia Network News. 13 December 2013.
  5. ^ Katherine Bishop (January 6, 1988). "Murder Trial in Bungled Extortion Case Enters Final Stages". The New York Times.
  6. ^ "The Spy" at Rotten Tomatoes.
  7. ^ Ellen E. Jones, "Baghdad Central review – more than just a Middle East Morse". The Guardian, 3 February 2020.
  8. ^ "BAFTA TV 2021: The Winners and Nominations for the Virgin Media British Academy Television Awards and British Academy Television Craft Awards". BAFTA. 24 May 2021. Retrieved 14 July 2021.
  9. ^ "Oslo (2021)" at Rotten Tomatoes

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