Nationality: Egyptian. Born: Michael Shalhoub in Alexandria, 10 April 1932; grew up in Cairo. Education: Attended English schools; British Victoria College, Cairo. Family: Married the actress Faten
Films as Actor:
Sera's fil Wadi ( Struggle in the Valley ) (Shahin)
Ayamna el Hilwa ( Our Happy Days ) (Halim); Shaitan el Sahara ( Devil of the Desert ) (Shahin)
Sera'a fil Mina ( Struggle in the Pier ) (Shahin); Ard el Salam ( Land of Peace ) (El-Chiekh)
La Anam ( No Sleep ) (Saif)
Shati el Asrar ( Shore of Mystery ) (Salem); Ghaltit Habibi ( My Lover's Mistake ) (Bideir)
Goha (Baratier); Min Ajl Imraa ( For the Sake of a Woman ) (El-Cheikh); Mouid maa el Maghoul ( A Date with an Unknown ) (Salem); Fediha fil Zamalek ( Scandal at Zamalek ) (Mustafa)
Ehne el Talamza ( We Students ) (Salem); Sera's fil Nil ( Struggle in the Nile ) (Salem)
Eshaet Hub ( Love Rumor ) (Abdel-Wahab); Lowat el Hub ( Agony of Love ) (Saif); Nahr el Hub ( River of Love ) (Zukfikar); Hubbi el Wahid ( My Only Love ) (El-Cheikh); Gharam el Asyad ( I Love My Boss ) (Naguib); Bidaya wa Nihaya ( Beginning and End ) (Saif)
Fi Baitina Rajul ( A Man in Our House ) (Barakat)
Lawrence of Arabia (Lean) (as Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish)
The Fall of the Roman Empire (Anthony Mann) (as Sohamus); Behold a Pale Horse (Zinnemann) (as Father Francisco); The Yellow Rolls-Royce (Asquith) (as Davich)
La Fabuleuse Aventure de Marco Polo ( Marco the Magnificent ) (de la Patellière and Noel Howard) (as Emir Alaou); Genghis Khan (Levin) (title role); Doctor Zhivago (Lean) (title role)
The Poppy Is Also a Flower (Terence Young) (as Dr. Rad)
The Night of the Generals (Litvak) (as Major Grau); C'era una volta ( More than a Miracle ; Cinderella, Italian Style ; Happily Ever After ) (Rosi) (as Prince Ramon)
Funny Girl (Wyler) (as Nick Arnstein); Mayerling (Terence Young) (as Crown Prince Rudolf)
MacKenna's Gold (J. Lee Thompson) (as Colorado); The Appointment (Lumet) (as Federico Fendi); Che! (Fleischer) (title role)
The Last Valley (Clavell) (as Vogel); The Horsemen (Frankenheimer) (as Uraz)
Le Casse ( The Burglars ) (Verneuil) (as Abel Zacharia)
Le Droit d'aimer ( The Right to Love ; Brainwashed ) (Le Hung)
L'isola misteriosa e il capitano Nemo ( The Mysterious Island of Captain Nemo ) (Bardem) (as Captain Nemo)
The Tamarind Seed (Edwards) (as Feodor Sverdlov); Juggernaut (Lester) (as Captain Brunel); The Return of the Pink Panther (Edwards)
Funny Lady (Ross) (as Nick Arnstein); Crime and Passion ( Ace Up Your Sleeve ) (Passer) (as André Ferren)
The Pink Panther Strikes Again (Edwards) (as Egyptian assassin)
Bloodline (Terence Young) (as Ivo Palazzi); Ashanti (Fleischer) (as the Prince)
The Baltimore Bullet (Miller) (as the Deacon); Oh, Heavenly Dog! (Camp) (as Malcolm Bart); S*H*E (Robert Lewis—for TV) (as Cesare Magnasco); Pleasure Palace (Grauman—for TV)
Green Ice (Day) (as Meno Argenti)
Inchon (Terence Young)
Top Secret! (Zucker, Abrahams, and Zucker) (as Cedric); Far Pavilions (Duffell—for TV)
Edge of the Wind (Ives—for TV); Vicious Circle (Ives—for TV)
Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (Chomsky—for TV) (as Czar Nicholas II); Harem (Hale—for TV) (as Sultan Hassan)
Les Possédés ( The Possessed ) (Wajda) (as Stephan Verkhovensky)
Grand Larceny (Szwarc—for TV) (as Rashid Saud); Les Pyramides bleue ( Paradise Calling ) (Dombasle) (as Alex); Keys to Freedom (Feke)
Michelangelo and Me (De Moro—for TV); No Justice (Tessari)
Mountains of the Moon (Rafelson) (uncredited); Quatro piccole donne (Albano—for TV); The Rainbow Thief (Jodorowsky) (as Dima the Thief); Lion in the Desert (Tessari—for TV); Viaggio d'Amore ( Journey of Love ) (as Rico)
The Castle (Foreman); Al Moaten Al Myssri ( War in the Land of Egypt ) (Salah Abou Serif); Mayrig (Verneuil) (as Hagop)
Tengoku No Taizai ( Heavenly Sin ) (Masuda) (as Tsai Mang Hua); Mrs. 'Arris Goes to Paris (Shaw—for TV) (as Marquis DeChassange); 588 Rue Paradis (Verneuil) (as Hagop); Beyond Justice (Tessari) (as Emir)
Gulliver's Travels (Sturridge—for TV) (as the Sorcerer)
Heaven Before I Die (Musallam) (as Khalil Gibran)
Mysteries of Egypt (Neibaur) (as Grandfather)
The 13th Warrior (McTiernan) (as Melchisidek)
By SHARIF: books—
L'eternel Masculin , with Marie Guinchars, Paris, 1976; as The Eternal Male , Paris, 1976.
Omar Sharif's Life in Bridge , London, 1983.
On SHARIF: articles—
Current Biography 1970 , New York, 1970.
Jabara, A., and others, "The Arab Image in American Film and Television," in Cineaste (New York), vol. 17, no. 1, 1989.
Rosen, M., "The Making of Omar Sharif: an Interview," in Cineaste (New York), vol. 17, no. 1, 1989.
* * *
After almost ten years as a star of the Egyptian cinema, Omar Sharif received desired international critical and popular acclaim with his performance as Sherif Ali, Lawrence's fierce ally in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia . The film won an Oscar as Best Picture and Sharif was nominated as Best Supporting Actor. Quickly he became a gossip-magazine staple as the hottest new screen sex symbol. In the years that immediately followed, he courageously took on further historical characters, including Sohamus, King of the Armenians in The Fall of the Roman Empire , and the title role of Genghis Khan .
David Lean, who brought him to international acclaim, then altered Sharif's established image as a fierce warrior, when he next cast him as Dr. Yuri Zhivago, the idealistic poet caught up in the Russian Revolution and an illicit love affair. Sharif's role in the epic Doctor Zhivago is still the part many moviegoers primarily identify him with. The film was produced on a mammoth scale, by a major director and co-starred Julie Christie (who also was extremely popular at the time). This all contributed to Zhivago 's current status as a cinematic classic and Sharif's association to the main character. Three years later he was cast as Nick Arnstein opposite Barbra Streisand's Fanny Brice in Funny Girl . (This was his ultimate role as a man wounded in love.) For the third time in less than ten years, he was in a top-grossing film and the focus of much media attention. His real life escapades as a bridge player fueled the fan magazines with parallels between Sharif and Arnstein.
The year 1969 saw the beginning of his fall from major stardom. Once again he took on the role of a historic figure: Che Guevara in Che! . This time the film was a disaster and Sharif did not weather the failure. He then began to work in Europe. In the mid-1970s he returned to English-speaking roles only to be involved in three all-star failures: as Soviet spy Sverdlov opposite Julie Andrews in Blake Edwards's The Tamarind Seed , as Captain Brunel in Richard Lester's Juggernaut , and once again as Nick Arnstein opposite Streisand in Herbert Ross's Funny Lady . Despite an interesting performance as the opportunistic investment counselor André Ferren in Ivan Passer's underrated Crime and Passion , Sharif has since received only mediocre roles in mediocre or poor films. Most recently, he was uncharacteristically cast as a villain in the television movie Gulliver's Travels .
Sharif's offscreen life as an international playboy kept his name active in the gossip columns in the 1980s. His box-office power, however, has waned significantly from the promise of the 1960s.
—Doug Tomlinson, updated by Linda J. Stewart