Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor known for his roles in classic films like “Doctor Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia,” has died. He was 83.
“He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo,” the actor’s agent, Steve Kenis, told TheWrap on Friday.
Sharif was born in Alexandria in 1932. His first film role came in 1954 with the film “Devil of the Sahara.” He worked consistently in Egyptian cinema until breaking out in 1962 as Sherif Ali in the epic David Lean classic “Lawrence of Arabia.”
Sharif won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his role in the iconic film. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as well.
Sharif reteamed with Lean for the 1965 film “Doctor Zhivago.” He starred as Yuri, a physician and poet who falls in love with a political activist’s wife against the backdrop of World War I and the October Revolution. Sharif won his second Golden Globe for the film, this time for Best Motion Picture Actor in a Drama.
He also played a number of famous historical figures, such as Genghis Khan in the 1965 film of the same name, and the Argentinian revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevarra in the 1969 film “Che!”
Though known as a dramatic actor, Sharif also dabbled in comedy. He played an Egyptian Assassin the 1976 film “The Pink Panther Strikes Again,” as well as a secret agent in the Zucker, Zucker, Abrams spy spoof “Top Secret.”
Sharif was an incredibly prolific actor, appearing in an average of two to three projects a year. Earlier this year, his agent confirmed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
In addition to acting, Sharif was also known as one of the world’s best bridge players. He toured the world playing against other top competitors, wrote several books on the game, and licensed his name to a bridge computer game in the 1990s.
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