Born in Sudan on November 21, 1965 and raised in England, Alexander Siddig was born Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig El Abderahman El Mohammed Ahmed El Abdel Karim El Mahdi. In Arabic cultures, "El" means "Son of". Therefore his full given name is a history of his family line going back seven generations. Mercifully for us, he shortened it to Siddig El Fadil. At the time of his birth, the Sudan was in political upheaval and Siddig's uncle, Sadiq Al Mahdi, was Sudan's ruler. As Siddig was being born, the hospital where his mother was giving birth was tear-gassed. Al Mahdi was overthrown in 1967 and Siddig and his mother escaped to England to be safe from his uncle's political enemies. When Siddig was eight years old, his mother began seeing the man who would become his step-father. The two were married when Siddig was twelve. She was a public relations officer who had dealings with the press on behalf of several theaters in England. His step-father worked as a creative consultant for plays and operas. Between these two influences and the fact that his uncle on his mother's side is renowned actor Malcolm McDowell, it seemed inevitable that Siddig would gravitate towards the entertainment industry. As a child, his life was considered fairly normal. He attended a public elementary school at Font Hill Elementary and went on to St. Lawrence College for high school. After enrolling to and attending University College-London, he found that after one year he was no longer interested in pursuing academics and dropped out. He muddled through a number of mediocre jobs that he detested before finally enrolling himself in the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts. After graduating, he worked in a number of theatre houses playing bit parts in various productions. The pay was non-existent and he was beginning to doubt having any future as an actor.
Just as things seemed their most bleak, he managed to secure a role opposite Ralph Fiennes in A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia. He was amazed at his good fortune to be working with such an internationally known actor, but expected to go back to the small theatre clubs after shooting was over, but fate had something else in store. The producers of a mini-series called A Dangerous Man were looking to cast someone for the role of "Youssef". They had looked through the yearbooks of LAMDA trying to find someone who not only had an Arabic name, but also looked Arabic. They found Siddig. After A Dangerous Man aired in the United States on PBS, Siddig caught the attention of Rick Berman, executive producer for the newest addition to the Star Trek Universe, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Originally, Berman wanted to cast Siddig in the role of Commander Sisko. However, he came to that decision having seen Siddig with a beard. After it had been shaved, he looked significantly younger. Too young, it seemed, to be credible as the commander of a huge station in space at the edge of the frontier. Fortunately, he was ideal for the tenderfoot doctor on his first assignment, Dr. Julien Bashir. He played a gifted medical officer who was egotistically aware of his skills, but had almost no life experience. It was that initial naiveté that attracted Siddig to the character. For the next seven years, Dr. Bashir was able to develop and grow from an almost clueless egomaniac to a selfless and dedicated war hero.
During his seven years on DS9, many significant events occurred in Siddig's life. Firstly, he changed his name to Alexander Siddig in 1995 because too many people had a difficult time pronouncing his name properly. He still asks that people call him "Sid". Secondly, he began a personal relationship with co-star Nana Visitor and had a son, Django El Tahir El Siddig, on September 16 1996. Finally, he married Nana in June of 1997.
When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine ended its run in 1999, Alexander continued acting in feature films. His first post-DS9 project was Vertical Limit with Chris O'Donnell which was quickly followed by Reign of Fire with Christian Bale and Matthew McConaughey. When he was cast in Syriana with George Clooney, he noted that he had been cast in the role of "Nasir" for the third time. His character in Vertical Limit was named "Prince Nazir", (only spelled with a 'z') and his character in Kingdom of Heaven was named "Nasir". He was starting to believe that Hollywood was running out of names to use.
In 2001, his marriage to Nana Visitor ended amicably in divorce. They both have shared custody of Django and still stay in touch with each other. In 2007, Alexander returned to television in a guest role in the hit series 24. He played Hamri Al-Assad, an international terrorist who has renounced violence and was helping Jack Bauer and CTU track down another Islamic extremist who had managed to acquire four nuclear devices on American soil.
In his free time, he has several personal pastimes he likes to indulge. His musical tastes tend towards classical, particularly the late romantic period and German opera. His favorite piece is Mozart's Symphony #41, but his tastes are not confined to classical alone. He's also a fan of Prince and the Revolution as well. On a more interactive pastime, has a passion for role-playing card games like "Magic" and "Galactic Empires". In fact, he had participated in "Galactic Empires" tournaments with fans at several conventions. However, most of his free time is spent doing handyman projects around the house. He has claimed that nothing is more relaxing or liberating than tending his garden or painting the trim in his house in England.