Legendary actor Omar Sharif dies at 83

Jul 10, 2015, 22:08 IST | PTI

Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif, best known for his roles in David Lean's "Lawrence of Arabia" and in the title role in "Doctor Zhivago", died of cardiac arrest on Friday, media reports said. He was 83.

Cairo: Cinema icon Omar Sharif, best known for his legendary roles in classic films "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago", died of a heart attack here today. He was 83.

The Egypt-born actor's agent Steve Kenis said, "He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo." 

Omar Sharif
Omar Sharif. Pic/AFP

Sharif was nominated for Oscar for his role in the David Lean-directed film "Lawrence of Arabia" and went on to win a Golden Globe for his performance. It was his first English language role, after appearing in over 20 Egyptian films.

He also played Che Guevara in "Che", a dogged investigator in "The Night in the Generals", the villain Colorado in western "Mackenna's Gold", and a Soviet spy in Cold War drama "The Tamarind Seed" and as Czar Nicholas II in TV mini series "Anastasia".

In May, his son said the star had been suffering from Alzheimer's and retired from the industry because of his illness. He was married to fellow actor Faten Hamama, with whom he worked in the 1953 film "The Blazing Sun". Hamama had starred in many films with Sharif, who was born a Christian and had converted to Islam to marry her.

Many people connected Sharif's illness with the passing of the iconic actress last January, saying that after her death he started to fade gradually. 

The actor was born in Alexandria, Egypt and first rose to international fame for his role in 1962's "Lawrence of Arabia" starring alongside Peter O'Toole. 

Sharif worked less in recent years and his last role was in the 2013 drama "Rock the Casbah". He has one film still to be released: a short called "1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham".

In 2003 he was given a one-month suspended prison sentence and a 1,500 euro fine for headbutting a policeman in a Parisian casino. After two years, he was ordered to attend anger management classes and served two years probation after assaulting a Beverly Hills parking valet. 

He was caught on video in 2011 apparently slapping a journalist after she attempted to take a photo with him at the Doha international film festival. 

He is survived by his son and two grandsons.

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