Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif


4/10/1932, Alexandria, Egypt



Birth Name

Michael Demetri Shalhoub


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Egyptian born actor who first won acclaim in the 1962 epic film Lawrence of Arabia supporting Peter O'Toole. It was his first English language film. Three years later Sharif scored an even bigger smash and became an international star when he played the title role in another epic…more


Trivia and Quotes

  • Trivia

    • When Doctor Zhivago was being made, at the end of every day the crew was one day saying that the performance by Alec Guinness was excellent, on another day that Julie Christie was brilliant and on some days that Rod Steiger was superb. Hearing this on a daily basis Sharif got very worried and asked David Lean why he didn't have any great lines to say or some great scene to act. David reassured him by saying that although everyone would love the individual performances of the star cast, after the end of the movie they would only think of him and remember "Yuri".

    • Sharif was paid the sum of 8,000 British pounds for appearing in Lawrence of Arabia.

    • Sharif appeared as guest twice on Late Night with David Letterman.

    • Showing that he's still a bit ornery, Sharif, according to a recent tabloid report, got into a brawl with a co-star of One Night With the King at the hotel where the cast was staying. The two men stopped fighting when they broke a lamp in the lobby.

    • Sharif has only been nominated for one Academy Award--in 1963 for Best Supporting Actor in Lawrence of Arabia.

    • Sharif has won two Golden Globe Awards: one for Most Promising Male Newcomer in 1963 for his performance in Lawrence of Arabia and a second for Best Actor in 1966 for Doctor Zhivago.

    • In November of 2005, Sharif was awarded a medal by UNESCO in honor of his significant contributions to world film and cultural diversity.

    • Sharif and Lawrence of Arabia co-star Peter O'Toole are appearing together once again in the upcoming film One Night with the King.

    • Shariff was recently sued for $50,000.00 by a parking lot attendant who claims Sharif assaulted him outside a Beverly Hills restaurant.

    • Son Tarek appeared with Sharif in Doctor Zhivago playing his father's character at age 8.

    • Sharif once said that aggressive feminists scare him.

    • Sharif considers Che!, made in 1969, to be his worst film role.

    • Before Lawrence of Arabia, Sharif had been a star in Egyptian films but was virtually unknown elsewhere.

    • Before his heart bypass surgery, Sharif used to smoke nearly 100 cigarettes per day. After the surgery, he quit smoking cold turkey.

    • In 2003, Sharif received a one month suspended jail termand a fine of $1,700.00 for head butting a police officer who intervened in a dispute between Sharif and a croupier inside a French casino.

    • Sharif was/is reportedly on a hit list made by a faction of the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

    • Sharif underwent triple bypass heart surgery in 1992.

    • Several tabloid reports once linked Sharif romantically to Funny Girl co-star Barbra Streisand.

    • Sharif co-starred with Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and Funny Lady.

    • Sharif was raised a Catholic but converted to Islam in 1954 in order to marry his wife.

    • Omar Sharif is 5 feet, 11 inches tall.

    • Sharif licensed his name to a Bridge computer game.

    • Sharif, an avid bridge player, writes a regular newspaper column on the subject and has written several books on the game.

    • Sharif is fluent in English, Arabic, Greek, and French. He also speaks some Italian and Turkish.

    • Omar has one son named Tarek from his only marriage.

    • Sharif was married to Eqyptian actress Faten Hamama from 1954 to 1974.

    • After graduation from college, Shariff worked for a time in his father's lumber business before becoming an actor.

    • Sharif graduated from Cairo University with a major in math and physics.

  • Quotes

    • Sharif: I'd rather be playing bridge than making a bad movie.

    • Sharif: I definitely want to do more theatre now. Or two weeks in a film for a remarkable amount of money.

    • Sharif: I'm very wary about giving advice. I think it's very dangerous to give advice to people, except when you know them well.

    • Sharif: (about his incident outside a French casino) It made me the hero of the whole of France. To head-butt a cop is the dream of every Frenchman.

    • Sharif: I don't know what sex appeal is. I don't think you can have sex appeal knowingly. The people who seduce me personally are the people who seem not to know they're seductive, and not to know they have sex appeal.

    • Sharif: I didn't want to be a slave to any passion anymore. I gave up card playing altogether, even bridge and gambling - more or less. It took me a few years to get out of it.

    • Sharif: My philosophy is that when I go out of my room, I'm prepared to love everybody I meet, unless they're bad.

    • Sharif: I want to live every moment totally and intensely. Even when I'm giving an interview or talking to people, that's all that I'm thinking about.

    • Sharif: I see only defects because I'm not following the scene as it were. I'm not following the other person. It's like the best thing to clarify this is the theater.

    • Sharif: I played all sorts of incredible things having come off on my camel in "Lawrence of Arabia". I was then thrust into Russian poets and all sorts of characters.

    • Sharif: I love to be with my son and my grandchildren, like normal people. I have no particular idea of what I represent to other people. It's very mysterious to me. I don't understand it.

    • Sharif: I intended not to work again unless something made me enthusiastic. I wanted to stop making lousy films, which I've been making for about 30 years - which is a long time for making lousy films (laughing). It got to the point where my grandchildren were making fun of me, which is terrible.

    • Sharif: I had too many big passions in life and it gets in the way of work. You can't concentrate properly on the one thing.

    • Sharif: I can't say I gave up totally my passion for women but almost.

    • Sharif: Working gets in the way of living.

    • Sharif: Fidelity is a virtue which should be frequently proved, but not always.

    • Sharif: Making love? It's a communion with a woman. The bed is the holy table. There I find passion -- and purification.