Duraid Lahham was born and raised in Damascus in 1934. He grew up in relative poverty, and studied chemistry at Damascus University, which qualified him for a well-paying job as an instructor at the Chemistry Department. Lahham was always enchanted by the theatre, participating in several plays during high school and college, while playing the clarinet in the high school band.

While teaching at university, he started to give dance lessons and befriended the artistic community in Syria. When Syrian Television was inaugurated in 1960, its director Sabah Qabbani hired Lahham to star in a mini-series called Sahret Dimashq (Damascus Evening) with the already established stage actor Nihad Qali. The two men created a duo called "Duraid & Nihad" and achieved dramatic success in the Arab World from 1960 until Qali retired from acting due to illness in 1976.

From then on, Lahham acted, directed, and wrote the screenplay for all of his works, and continues to do so until the present. His theatre was always greatly and visibly influenced by the musicals of the Lebanese artist `Asi al-Rahbani and his wife, the diva Fayruz. Political events influenced him greatly as well, transforming his career from that of a comedian, into a political satirist. He was shocked by the collective Arab defeat of 1967, and greatly disturbed by separate peace of Egypt with Israel in 1978. In the early 1960s, Lahham abandoned university teaching to devote his time fully to acting, although this was viewed, by the conservative society in Damascus, as un-wise, since teaching was a respectable and stable job, while actors were not highly respected, under-paid, and had an uncertain future. He later claimed that devoting his life to art was one of the wisest decisions he ever made, since he achieved more success as an actor than any other profession, including university instruction, would have provided. In 1976, President Hafez al-Asad decorated Lahham with the Medal of the Syrian Republic, Excellence Class.

He was also given medals of recognition for his work by Tunisian President Habib Bourguiba, who gave him the same medal in 1979, and Libyan leader Mu’ammar al-Qaddafi in 1991. Nine years later, Lebanese President Emille Lahhoud awarded Lahham the Order of Merit of the Lebanese Republic in a ceremony held at the American University of Beirut (AUB), granted through the Syrian Culture Club at AUB. In 1997, in recognition of his two children’s productions, the movie Kafroun in 1990 and the play Al-Usfura al-Sa’ida (The Happy Bird) in 1992, he became the UNICEF representative in Syria for children’s affairs. He performed several television series aimed at increasing awareness of the problems of children. Then in 1999, he became UNICEF Ambassador for Childhood in the Middle East and North Africa. In 2004, he left his job at UNICEF after paying a visit to South Lebanon, to the districts liberated from Israeli occupation in 2000. At the Lebanese-Israeli border, he gave a press conference, criticizing George W. Bush and Ariel Sharon, comparing both men to Hitler. The statement was published in Lebanon and re-published in Israel, causing Tel Aviv to protest to the UNICEF that its goodwill ambassador was using un-diplomatic language. The UNICEF asked him whether the statement was correct, and when he confirmed that it was, they sent him a letter, thanking him for his services since 1997. He considered this an indirect message, relieving him of his duties at UNICEF. Currently, Duraid Lahham still lives in Damascus, and is devoted to his family, spending a lot of his time with his children and grandchildren. His first wife May al-Husayni bore him two children, Tha'er and Abeer, while his second and current wife Hala al-Bitar bore him his youngest daughter Dina.