A00063 - Omar Sharif, Legendary Star of "Doctor Zhivago"
Sharif, Omar (Michael Demitri Shalhoub) (Michel Shalhoub) (Michel Chalhoub) (born April 10, 1932, Alexandria, Egypt - d. July 10, 2015, Cairo, Egypt). Egyptian film actor with worldwide success.His original name was Michel Shahoub, and he was educated at Victoria College in Cairo.He was working in the lumber business when he was offered a lead role in an Egyptian film in 1954.In this film, Fatin Hamama was a co-star.She was to become his wife. Omar Sharif was an Egyptian actor of international acclaim, known for his dashing good looks and for his iconic roles in such films as Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and Doctor Zhivago (1965).
Shalhoub was born in Alexandria, the only son of a prosperous lumber merchant. When he was four years old, he moved with his family to Cairo, where he attended English schools. With early aspirations of being an actor, Shalhoub participated in theater productions in secondary school. At the urging of his father, he worked for the family’s lumber business after graduating. In 1953, his acting dreams were realized when he was cast opposite Egyptian star Faten Hamama in Siraa fil-wadi (1954; “Struggle in the Valley”). He began his acting career using a pseudonym, which went through several variations and eventually was rendered consistently in English as Omar Sharif. Sharif went on to star in several more films with Hamama, whom he married in 1955 (the couple divorced in 1974).
Sharif quickly rose to stardom in his native Egypt, appearing in more than 20 films before garnering international acclaim as Sherif Ali in David Lean’s epic Lawrence of Arabia. His portrayal of the loyal Arab chief earned him an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actor. Following this breakthrough role, Sharif was much in demand to play a variety of characters, including a Spanish priest in Behold a Pale Horse (1964) and the Mongolian conqueror in Genghis Khan (1965). Among Sharif’s most famous roles is the title character in Doctor Zhivago, Lean’s adaptation of Boris Pasternak’s novel of the same name. Starring opposite Julie Christie, Sharif portrayed a poet-doctor in the middle of a love triangle. He later was cast as a German military man in The Night of the Generals (1967), Crown Prince Rudolf of Austria in Mayerling (1968), and revolutionary Che Guevara in Che! (1969). Sharif was also well known for his portrayal of Nick Arnstein, husband to Barbra Streisand’s Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968). He reprised the role of Arnstein in the film’s sequel, Funny Lady (1975).
Sharif continued to appear both on-screen and on television into the 21st century, though he appeared in few notable roles after the mid-1970s. Instead, he devoted much of his time to the card game bridge, releasing books, videos, and video games on the subject. Beginning in the 1970s, Sharif published a syndicated column about bridge. He also wrote an autobiography, L’Éternel Masculin (1976; The Eternal Male), with Marie-Thérèse Guinchard.
Sharif was born Michael Shalhoub in Alexandria, into a wealthy Egyptian Catholic family. Sharif's family has widely been reported to be Egyptian-Lebanese, though Sharif has said that he is Egyptian and the reports to the contrary are incorrect. Sharif graduated from Alexandria’s Victoria College, then from Cairo University with degrees in both mathematics and physics. In 1955, Omar El-Sharif converted to Islam and then married Egyptian actress Faten Hamama. The couple had one son, Tarek El-Sharif, who appeared in Doctor Zhivago as Yuri at the age of eight. They separated in 1966 and the marriage ended in 1974. Sharif never remarried; he stated that since his divorce, he never fell in love with another woman, and that, although he lived abroad for years, it was not possible for him to fall in love with a woman who was not Egyptian. In a 2007 interview, Sharif denied rumors that he had become atheist.
Sharif's filmography includes:
* Shaytan al-Sahra (1954) * Sira` Fi al-Wadi (The Blazing Sun or Struggle in the Valley or Fight in the Valley) (1954) * Ayyamna al-Holwa (Our Best Days) (1955) * Siraa Fil-Mina (1956) * Ard al-Salam (1957) * The Lebanese Mission (Châtelaine du Liban, La) (1957) * La anam (I Do Not Sleep) (1958) * Goha (1958) * Fadiha fil-zamalek (Scandal in Zamalek) (1959) * Sayedat el kasr (Lady of the Castle) (1959) * Seraa fil Nil (Struggle on the Nile) (1959) * Bidaya wa nihaya (1960) * Hobi al-wahid (My Only Love) (1960) * Esha'a hob (Rumor of Love) (1960) * Nahr al-Hob (The River of love) (1960) * A Man in our House (A Man in our House) (1961) * Lawrence of Arabia (1962) * Behold a Pale Horse (1964) * The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) * Doctor Zhivago (1965) * The Yellow Rolls-Royce (1965) * Genghis Khan (1965) * The Night of the Generals (1967) * More Than A Miracle (1967) * Funny Girl (1968) * Mayerling (1968) * Che! (1969) * The Appointment (1969) * Mackenna's Gold (1969) * The Last Valley (1970) * The Horsemen (1971) * The Burglars (1971) * The Mysterious Island (L'Ile Mysterieuse) (TV miniseries) (1973) * Juggernaut (1974) * The Tamarind Seed (1974) * Crime and Passion (1975) * Funny Lady (1975) * The Pink Panther Strikes Again (1976), uncredited cameo * Ashanti: Land of No Mercy (1979) * Bloodline (1979) * S-H-E (1979) * Oh Heavenly Dog (1980) * The Baltimore Bullet (1980) * Pleasure Palace (1980) * Green Ice (1981) * Top Secret! (1984) * Peter the Great (1986) * Harem (1986), as Sultan Hassan * The Possessed (1988) * The Jewel of the Nile (1988) * Al-aragoz (the puppeteer) (1989) * The Opium Connection (1990) * Memories of Midnight (1991) * Mowaten masri (An Egyptian Citizen) (1991) * Beyond Justice (1992) * Grand Larceny (1992) * Mayrig (1992) * Dehk we le'b we gad we hob (Laughter, Games, Seriousness and Love) (1993) * Lie Down With Lions (1994) * Catherine the Great (1995) * Gulliver's Travels (1996) * Heaven Before I Die (1997) * Mysteries of Egypt (1998) * The 13th Warrior (1999) * The Parole Officer (2001) * Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran (2003) * Hidalgo (2004) * Imperium: St Peter (2005) * Fuoco su di me (2005) * Shaka Zulu: The Last Great Warrior (2005) * One Night with the King (2006) * The Crown Prince (2006) * Hanan W Haneen (TV Series - Egypt) (2007) * The Ten Commandments (TV series) (2007)...as Jethro * The Last Templar (TV Series) (2008) * Hassan & Marcus (2008) * 10,000 BC (2008) * The Traveler (2009)
Sharif's books include:
* The Eternal Male (1977) * Omar Sharif's Life in Bridge (1983) * Omar Sharif Talks Bridge (2004) * Bridge Deluxe II play with Omar Sharif (Instruction manual)