(REUTERS / WARNER BROTHERS / COLUMBIA/TRISTAR) – The world knew him best for his title role as Doctor Zhivago…. but Omar Sharif’s career spanned some 120 films over six decades.
His London-based agent said he died in Cairo of a heart attack — in a hospital for patients with Alzheimer’s disease.
Sharif’s son had said in May the actor was forgetting details of his career — like whom he acted with in specific films.
Omar Sharif was born Michel Shalhoub on April 10, 1932 to a wealthy family in Alexandria, Egypt.
He was raised a Roman Catholic but converted to Islam and married in 1955.
The acting bug took hold of him while studying math and physics in Cairo.
With his mustachioed good looks, he would go on to enjoy a storied career that included an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor…
… for his role in “Lawrence of Arabia” — the performance that won him international fame.
He was one of the few Arab actors to make in it Hollywood, winning a contract at Columbia Studios and starring in “Funny Girl” opposite Barbara Streisand.
But the acting legend was increasingly criticized for his stiff and uninspired performances.
When asked about his approach to acting, he once said “All I care about is getting to the studio on time and remembering my lines.”
Fame did not come without a price.
His marriage ended in divorce and — despite his image as a sex symbol — he never remarried, saying he could never fall in love with another woman.
His celebrity in America, he said, gave him “glory” but also “loneliness”.
I’m “missing my own land” he said, “and my own people and my own family.”