RIP Omar Sharif

Actor Omar Sharif, best known for his roles in classic films Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, has died aged 83. Egypt-born Sharif won two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination for his role as Sherif Ali in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia. He won a further Golden Globe three years later for Doctor Zhivago. Earlier this year, his agent confirmed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease. His agent Steve Kenis said: “He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo.”

In 1954, Sharif began his acting career in his native Egypt with a role in Shaytan Al-Sahra (Devil of the Desert). In the same year he appeared in Sira` Fi al-Wadi (Struggle in the Valley). He quickly rose to stardom, appearing in Egyptian productions, including La Anam (Sleepless) in 1958, Sayyidat al-Qasr (Lady of the Palace) in 1959 and the Anna Karenina adaptation Nahr el hub (The River of Love) in 1961. He also starred with his wife, Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, in several movies as romantic leads. Sharif’s first English-language role was that of Sharif Ali in David Lean’s historical epic Lawrence of Arabia in 1962. This performance earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination and a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture, as well as a shared Golden Globe Award for New Star of the Year – Actor.

In recent roles he was seen in The 13th Warrior, Hidalgo and narrated 10,000 BC in 2008. In later life, Sharif lived mostly in Cairo with his family. In addition to his son, he had two grandsons, Omar (born 1983 in Montreal) and Karim. Omar Sharif, Jr. is also an actor.

Omar Sharif (born Michel Demitri Chalhoub) – April 1932 – 10 July 2015

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