Omar Sharif - 1932 - 2015

Omar Sharif - Born April 10, 1932 in Alexandria, Egypt. Died July 10, 2015 (Cairo, Egypt, from heart attack, age 83 years)

Sharif (who was born with the name Michel Demitri Chalhoub) was already a star in Egyptian motion pictures when director David Lean cast him as Sharif Ali in 1962's Lawrence of Arabia. International stardom followed, and he appeared throughout the 1960s & 1970s in many large-budget historical dramas.

His name had become Omar Sharif when he converted from his family's Melkite Catholic faith to Islam. He has stated he did this in order to marry Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, with whom he was married from 1955 until they divorced in 1974. [Sharif went into self-exile from Egypt during the reign of dictator Gamel Nassar, primarily due to travel restrictions imposed upon him by Nassar's regime. Though he was separated from Faten, she too eventually went into exile beginning in 1966 until Nassar's death in 1971.]

Faten Hamama (May 27, 1931 – January 17, 2015) was an Egyptian film and television actress and producer.

Omar Sharif specialized in historical roles, using his language skills in Greek, French, Spanish, Italian and Arabic. He also played various comic parts, such as in Funny Girl 1968, Funny Lady 1975, The Pink Panther Strikes Again 1976, and Top Secret 1984. He kept working in motion pictures and in TV movies and mini-series, his final role was in 2015 for the film 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham.

Sharif was once ranked among the top fifty contract bridge players in the world, and co-wrote a syndicated newspaper column on the subject which ran for years, principally through the Chicago Tribune newspaper, and he also either authored or co-wrote other books on the card game which emphasizes strategy and analysis of information during game play. Sharif also raised and raced thoroughbred horses, winning a number of famous races, and he occasionally wrote articles for French horse-racing magazines.

More than a Miracle 1967

More on The Last Valley 1971

Original Page Aug 2015

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