Remembering Omar Sharif – a star in two skies
Legendary Egyptian actor Omar Sharif died today in Cairo, according to his agent. He was 83.
“Omar Sharif” was not the name given to him by his well-to-do, Catholic parents.
From Movie Interviews
50 Years On, Sharif Looks Back At ‘Lawrence’
“My name was Michel,” he told NPR in 2012. Michel Shalhoub, to be exact. In his memoir, he wrote about wanting an Arab-sounding name that was easy to pronounce in different languages — essential to a man who spoke not just Arabic but also French and English. “I went to the school where the priests were French. And then after, when I was 9 or 8 years old, I went to an English school — thank God. And there was a theater there. And that’s how I started to become an actor.”
Egyptian director Asaad Kelada says this multicultural preparation meant Sharif “was able to travel from nationality to nationality with conviction in the roles that he played. And so he was really the go-to person for any role that was of an exotic or different nature at that time.”
For his next big film after Lawrence of Arabia, Sharif transformed himself from an Arab freedom fighter to a Russian revolutionary poet in Doctor Zhivago