Egyptian Chronicles: RIP Omar Sharif (1932-2015)

Friday, July 10, 2015

RIP Omar Sharif (1932-2015)

Egypt has lost today its most renowned actor in the world Omar Sharif. The 83-years old actor passed away in Cairo in hospital after having a heart attack.
Omar Sherif in 1960s photo shoot at some museum either in New York
or Paris
Sharif by Van Leo in 1950s
Sharif was battling Alzheimer's disease for months according to his only son, Tarek.
Born in Alexandria in 1932 for a rich Lebanese family, Michel Chalhoub’s fame in started with ’s The Blazing Sun under the new name “Omar Sharif”
Youssef Chahine
It was a life changing film on the professional as well personal levels. During that film Sharif met his future wife , Faten Hamama for whom he converted to Islam and married in 1954 after one hell of a love story that was the talk of the town during then considering the facts that Hamama was married to famous director Ezz El-Din Zulfukor and Sharif was Christian. The couple had one son : Tarek.
The Couple got a divorce in 1974.
Legendary diva Faten Hamama passed away earlier this year.
Sharif’s turning career point was when he starred in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia as El-Sherif Ali , a role that would earn a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting actor-Motion picture and a Best Support actor Oscar nomination.

That role was one of his best roles. Many people can not forget his first entrance in the film. That scene was another proof on how David Lean was a Cinema genius.

We have not seen this film by the way in Egypt except after many decades a the Nasser regime did not screen in it in Egypt because it was believed to a Pro-Saudi Western propaganda during the epic fight between the Saudi regime and Egyptian regime ironically.

He won another golden globe for best actor in Motion picture drama for his magnificent role in Dr. Zhivago . He was the only Egyptian actor to get the golden globe twice.

Speaking English , French and Italian fluently made Sharif a big name whether in the United States or Europe.Of course besides the fact that he was a true smoking hot and a sex symbol in his time.
Today I read on twitter Omar Sharif was the true representation of Cosmopolitan Alexandria in its epic time.
It is true, he represented that Cosmopolitan Alexandria that departed the country in 1960s due to political and economic reasons.
Omar Sharif returned back but his return was not a true one. Something was missing in his return.
Omar Sherif watching an Ahly football game in 1970s with famous
footballers and friends Saleh Salim and Adel Heika
Personally I believe Omar Sharif had even more talent than what we saw but unfortunately that talent was partially wasted in gambling. I also believe that the directors abroad knew how to use Sharif’s talent better than the Egyptian counterparts who placed him only in that repetitive boring prince charming role.
Also, Sharif proved himself before the ugly Hollywood stereotypes when it comes to Arabs
Politically , I will always remember that Omar Sharif, the renowned actor supported January 25 revolution since day one when most of the Egyptian actors chickened out.
Very few actors stood with the revolution and did not care for the consequences including Sharif.
Today one can see how the whole world mourned the death of that fine actor while our press recounts his life in its own tabloid way sadly and expectedly as well.
Now here are my favorite Omar Sharif films whether internationally or locally. A man in our house, The Egyptian citizen and Al-Arogz are political films by the way. I did not like him in romantic Egyptian films May God bless his soul.
I think TCM will rerun his films tonight so please watch them.
May God bless his soul.

1 comment :

  1. Omar Sharif was a more interesting actor than his films indicate. He had a variety of roles in many films of mixed quality. Probably his best and biggest roles were in David Leans epics but he was good in smaller films as well. In The Appointment, he and Anouk Aimee were an attractive couple in a delicate, Italian romance. In the French thriller, The Burglars, he was a sadistic, cynical corrupt policeman, a more interesting character than the hero Belmondo. Opposite the fabulous Florinda Bolkan he was good in the French film, Le Droit D'aimer. In an early Ivan Passer film, Crime and Passion, he is a scheming banker in financial difficulties ;he plays the character with flair and gusto roaring around the streets of Geneva in his sports car and toying with his mistress Karen Black in a Swiss setting.

    He had a good brain as his devotion to the game of bridge shows. The reckless gambling was his way of rebelling against some of the silliness he had to endure in a host of inferior films.

    His best cinematic efforts were achieved playing roles in films with significant female characters.


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