Actor Omar Sharif, best known for his award-winning roles in the classic films Lawrence Of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, has died. He was 83.
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s earlier this year, Sharif died from a heart attack on Friday at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt. His agent, Steve Kenis, confirmed the news to the media.
Sharif was born Micheal Shalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt in 1932. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London, and made his big screen debut in an Egyptian film in 1954.
Sharif’s big break came in 1962, when director David Lean cast him as Sharif Ali in Lawrence Of Arabia, starring alongside Peter O’Toole. His performance earned him a Golden Globe for best supporting actor as well as “most promising actor” (a category that no longer exists), as well as an Oscar nomination in the same category.
Three years later, Sharif was again cast by Lean in another of his epic films, Doctor Zhivago. This time, Sharif played the title role – a Russian doctor who gets caught up in the revolution.
The actor won another Golden Globe for Doctor Zhivago.
Sharif’s other major roles were in films like Funny Girl which was Barbra Streisand’s first movie, The Tamarind Seed, featuring Julie Andrews, and Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran, which earned him a nod in the French equivalent of the Oscars, the Cesar Awards.
Sharif married Egyptian actress Faten Hamama in 1955 and they had one son – Tarek el Sharif, born in 1957. The couple divorced in 1974 but remained friends throughout the years.
Faten died in January this year; Sharif never remarried.