‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Doctor Zhivago’ Star Omar Sharif Dead at 83
Omar Sharif, the legendary actor best known for key roles in classic movies like Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, has passed away. He was 83 years old.
The BBC has a statement from Sharif’s agent, who reports that the Oscar-nominated and Golden Globe winning performer suffered a heart attack in Cairo. He had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease earlier this year. Beyond that, details are unknown.
Although Sharif had been acting for nearly a decade when he landed the role of Sherif Ali in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, that was the part that defined his career. In an era where Middle Eastern characters were relegated to the background, the Egyptian-born actor brought dignity and strength to a complicated and hilarious key character. He received a Golden Globe for his performance and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. A few years later, Sharif would team up with Lean once again for Doctor Zhivago, playing the role of lead Yuri and earning another Golden Globe award.
Sharif never received major awards attention again, but he became a mainstay on the international cinema scene, appearing in everything from Hollywood blockbusters to tiny independent productions for the next 50 years. He was always a reliable presence, capable of playing everything from mustache twirling villains to gentle grandfathers to goofy comedy sidekicks. He may be gone, but he’ll always live on in some of the greatest movies ever made.