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Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif

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Also Known As: Omar El Cherif, Omar Shariff, Omar Cherif, Michel Demitri Chalhoub Died:
Born: April 10, 1932 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Egypt Profession: actor, author, racehorse breeder, professional bridge player, perfumer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

One of the rare Middle Eastern actors to achieve stardom in both the Hollywood and international markets, Omar Sharif was a powerful presence in some of the biggest films of the 1960s - both in terms of scope and success - including "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and "Doctor Zhivago." A leading man in his native Egypt, he was cast as the fiercely loyal friend to Peter O'Toole's Lawrence in the David Lean epic, and rose to immediate fame around the globe; subsequent film efforts followed closely in the sweep and theme of "Lawrence," including Lean's "Zhivago" (1965), which cast him in his first English-language lead, "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964), and the musical "Funny Girl" (1968). Sharif's time at the top of the box office was short-lived. By the mid 1970s, he was relegated to European productions and sudsy American product like "Bloodline" (1979), but he continued to work, largely in television, for the next two decades before reaching a career high point with his award-winning turn in "Monsieur Ibrahim" (2003). Even in his seventh decade, Sharif commanded a degree of class, Old World charm and romanticism that eluded actors with twice his popularity and half his age, which assured him a...

One of the rare Middle Eastern actors to achieve stardom in both the Hollywood and international markets, Omar Sharif was a powerful presence in some of the biggest films of the 1960s - both in terms of scope and success - including "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) and "Doctor Zhivago." A leading man in his native Egypt, he was cast as the fiercely loyal friend to Peter O'Toole's Lawrence in the David Lean epic, and rose to immediate fame around the globe; subsequent film efforts followed closely in the sweep and theme of "Lawrence," including Lean's "Zhivago" (1965), which cast him in his first English-language lead, "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964), and the musical "Funny Girl" (1968). Sharif's time at the top of the box office was short-lived. By the mid 1970s, he was relegated to European productions and sudsy American product like "Bloodline" (1979), but he continued to work, largely in television, for the next two decades before reaching a career high point with his award-winning turn in "Monsieur Ibrahim" (2003). Even in his seventh decade, Sharif commanded a degree of class, Old World charm and romanticism that eluded actors with twice his popularity and half his age, which assured him a place in the pantheon of movie history as one of its most memorable leading men.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Traveller, The (2009)
2.
 10,000 B.C. (2008)
3.
 Hassan & Morcos (2008)
4.
6.
 Fuoco Su Di Me (2006)
7.
 Hidalgo (2004) Sheikh Riyadh
8.
 Monsieur Ibrahim (2003) Ibrahim
9.
 Parole Officer, The (2001) Victor (Cameo Appearance)
10.
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1954:
Film debut in Egyptian production "Sina Fil Wadi/The Blazing Sun"; co-starred with soon-to-be wife Faten Hamama
1962:
First international production, David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia"; won Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actor
1964:
First U.S. film, "Behold a Pale Rider"
1965:
Reteamed with director David Lean with a starring role in the epic "Doctor Zhivago"
1966:
TV-movie debut in the all-star "The Poppy is Also a Flower" (ABC)
1968:
Co-starred as Nicky Arnstein opposite Barbra Streisand's Fanny Brice in William Wyler's musical "Funny Girl"
1975:
Briefly reprised his role as Nicky Arnstein in the film sequel "Funny Lady"
1988:
West End stage debut, "The Sleeping Prince"
1992:
Had heart bypass surgery, moved back to Egypt
1999:
Returned to features in supporting role in "The 13th Warrior"
2001:
Cast in the syndicated miniseries "Shaka Zulu: The Citadel"
2003:
Played Monsieur Ibrahim in "Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran"
2004:
Cast opposite Viggo Mortensen in the film "Hidalgo"
2006:
Featured in the ABC miniseries "The Ten Commandments"
2008:
Featured in Roland Emmerich's prehistoric drama "10,000 BC"
2009:
Cast in the NBC miniseries "The Last Templar" opposite Mira Sorvino and Victor Garber
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Victoria College, Alexandria: -
Cairo University: -
Cairo University: -

Notes

Sharif writes a syndicated column on bridge.

"When we were making 'Zhivago,' David Lean, the director, used to say, 'Omar, please take out the violins. I hear 28 violins.' And I would say, 'but I can't!' Then I would do the scene again and he would say, 'only eight violins this time.' And I would say, 'eight violins is my minimum.'" --Omar Sharif, quoted in The New York Times, April 12, 1995.

"Sometimes I wonder if I would have been happier if I had never made 'Lawrence of Arabia.' I had a beautiful house, a wonderful wife. I made all the films I wanted. My wife and I worked together often. What more could you want? I could have had a beautiful home now, four kids, seven grandchildren. Ah, my destiny was different." --Omar Sharif, quoted in The New York Times, April 12, 1995.

"I lost my self-respect and dignity, even my grandchildren were making fun of me. 'Grandpa, that was really bad. And this one? Even worse.' I decided to retire, unless something good came along. But no more rubbish."---Sharif on his string of bad films, which led him to retire EW March 19, 2004

Companions close complete companion listing

wife:
Faten Hamama. Actor. Born 1931; married 1955; divorced 1966; appeared together in "Sina Fil Wadi/The Blazing Sun" in 1954.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Joseph Shalhoub. Timber merchant. Died 1979.
mother:
Claire Shalhoub. Lives in Spain.
son:
Tarek Sharif. Born c. 1955, lives in Montreal.

Bibliography close complete biography

"The Eternal Male"
"Omar Sharif's Life in Bridge" Faber and Faber

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