With Lots of Luck and a Name Change, Actor Lands Roles Opposite Nicole Kidman and Tom Hanks in 'Queen of the Desert' and 'A Hologram for the King'
LOS ANGELES—Long before he got to Hollywood in 2012, Jihad Abdo was already a bankable star.
Over a 30-year career, he had been featured in hundreds of TV episodes, 43 movies and 21 plays set in modern and ancient times, in roles as varied as villain, military officer and prince. He couldn't walk the streets in his hometown without being hounded by fans pleading for a picture with him. "Going shopping was a nightmare," he recalls.
But all that fame and fortune came his way in Syria, far from the Hollywood spotlight. When he arrived here, as a refugee from his war-torn homeland, Jihad became "Jay" and turned into something very familiar here: an out-of-work actor. The closest he came to celebrity was his job with French Florist, the self-styled "Los Angeles flower delivery choice for the entertainment industry and stars."