Omar Sharif, the dashing actor whose career included star turns in “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago”, died Friday.
Sharif’s son, fellow Actor Tarek Sharif, announced in May that his legendary father suffered from Alzheimer’s leading up to his death.
With his dark good looks and debonair flair, Sharif became an worldwide heartthrob.
Sharif was born Michael Demitri Shalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt, on April 10, 1932. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. In the 1954 “Struggle in the Valley”, he plays a young man caught up in a power struggle in a Nile village and in love with the daughter of his rival, played by Egypt’s top movie queen, Faten Hamama.
During his career, Omar starred in over 20 Egyptian movies before making his English language debut as Sherif Ali in the 1962 movie “Lawrence of Arabia”. He was married only once and is survived by his son, Tarek El-Sharif. After that he quickly rose to stardom in his own country.
Sharif died in a hospital in the southern Cairo quarter of Helwan, his close friend and famed archaeologist Zahi Hawwas said.
Mr Sharif also launched the first Dublin Arabic Film Festival past year, which Mr Sheridan helped organise.
Omar Sharif also received a special award in November 2005, when he was given the inaugural Sergei Eisenstein Medal by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Director David Lean came to him again for the role of Doctor Yuri Zhivago, in the romantic era film, “Doctor Zhivago“.
He became particularly successful at bridge and was ranked among the world’s best players.
Among other films, Sharif won a César award, the highest film honour in France, for the title role in 2003 French film Monsieur Ibrahim. He is said to have lost a £4million villa on the Spanish island of Lanzarote in a bridge game in the 1970s.
He was also ordered to take an anger management course by a California court in 2005, after punching a parking attendant. At 227 minutes long, it feels like the kind of film that never gets made anymore, which is partially why it is still so special today.