Omar Sharif, the Egyptian-born actor who rose to international stardom after coming out of the distant desert in “Lawrence of Arabia,” died Friday, his representative said.
Steve Kenis, Sharif’s longtime agent, told The Times the actor died of a heart attack in a Cairo hospital.
Stewart, who said he did not understand Sharif socially but followed him closely as an actor and contemporary, added, “T was a terrific deal of dignity about him and his work. And I don’t mean an uptight, formal, rigid dignity. T was a charisma, one that was not to do with dazzle and razzmatazz, but with an intelligent presence, a thoughtfulness and an empathy.”
Sharif’s performance in the film earned him two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination for supporting actor.
Three years after, Sharif played the title role in Lean’s version of “Doctor Zhivago,” the Boris Pasternak novel of a sensitive Russian poet-doctor who finds himself torn between his wife and the love of his life from the backdrop of World War I and the Russian Revolution.
Sharif won another Golden Globe and apparently received 3,000 proposals of marriage after the film debuted.
In 1968, Sharif played a memorable heartbreaker as Nicky Arnstein in the Barbra Streisand-starring “Funny Girl.” Because he was cast as a Jew, the movie was banned in his native Egypt.
To Get a period, gaming was a dangerous fascination for Sharif, and he was made to sell his lavish bachelor pad in Paris in 1975 to pay gambling debts.
“How could he be called Omar Sharif?,” O’Toole said to The Times in 2001.