The Egyptian actor died in a hospital in Cairo, according to the his agent. Tarek El-Sharif, Sharif’s son, revealed in May that the actor had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease and was beginning to struggle with memory loss and confusion.
Sharif is best known for his supporting role in 1962’s Lawrence of Arabia, which earned him an Academy Award nomination and two Golden Globes, and his lead role in 1965’s Doctor Zhivago, for which he was awarded the Best Motion Picture Actor – Drama Golden Globe.
The actor also won a César Award, the french equivalent of an Oscar, in 2003 for his role in François Dupeyron’s Monsieur Ibrahim.
Other notable roles of Sharif’s include his comedic turn in 1984’s Top Secret!, 2004’s Hidalgo, and 2008’s 10,000 B.C. Overall, the actor has an impressive 117 titles listed in his IMDb acting credits.
Born on April 10, 1932, Omar Sharif began his long career in front of the screen in 1954, when he rose to fame in his home country of Egypt after starring in several films. Sharif’s racial ambiguity and multilinguistic capabilities (he claimed to speak English, French, Arabic, Greek Italian, and Spanish fluently) afforded him many opportunities to play a wide range of roles and characters.
This is the versatility that convinced Lawrence of Arabia director David Lean to cast Sharif in the demanding supporting role in the historical epic, Sharif’s first English-language film.
In his later years, Omar Sharif became almost as well-known for his career as a successful contract bridge player as for his acting career. At one point, Sharif was listed as one of the top 50 contract bridge players in the world.
Several celebrities took to social media to express their sadness at Omar Sharif’s passing. Josh Gad used Twitter to pay his respects to Sharif, tweeting: “Sad to hear about
#OmarSharif. I grew up on Lawrence and Zhivago. A legacy with not one but multiple timeless classics.”
Sad to hear about #OmarSharif. I grew up on Lawrence and Zhivago. A legacy with not one but multiple timeless classics.
— Josh Gad (@joshgad) July 10, 2015
Antonio Banderas, who starred in The 13th Warrior with Sharif, also shared his grief on Twitter, posting a picture of himself and Sharif with the caption: “He was a great storyteller, a loyal friend and a wise spirit. D.E.P. Omar Sharif.”
He was a great storyteller, a loyal friend and a wise spirit. D.E.P. Omar Sharif pic.twitter.com/OCAWSQQSXo
— Antonio Banderas (@antoniobanderas) July 10, 2015