Imhotep is a fictional character and the titular antagonist in the 1932 film The Mummy, and later featured in its 1999 remake and its sequel The Mummy Returns again as one of the main antagonist. He is loosely inspired by the historical figure Imhotep, a counselor to the Pharaoh Djoser in the 27th century BC.
In his original appearance, Imhotep was portrayed by Boris Karloff as a priest of Ancient Egypt who is mummified by pharaoh Amenhotep III as punishment for attempting to resurrect his lover, Princess Ankh-es-en-amon. Imhotep is accidentally revived when an archaeological expedition discovers his mummy and one of the archaeologists unknowingly reads an ancient life-giving spell.
Imhotep escapes from the archaeologists and assumes the identity of Ardath Bey, a modern Egyptian. In this form he helps the archaeologists find the tomb of Ankh-es-en-amon. When Bey meets a woman, Helen Grosvenor, who bears a striking resemblance to Ankh-es-en-amon, he realizes that she is a reincarnation of the princess, and attempts to mummify Grosvenor and make her his bride. In the end Grosvenor, recalling her past life, appeals to the goddess Isis who causes Imhotep to be dissolved.
In the immediate sequels to the 1932 film, the mummy is known as Kharis, though this character has a back story that is very similar to Imhotep's.
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