Saturday, July 11, 2015


Through Twitter—and it's almost always through Twitter these days—I've learned that the great Omar Sharif is dead of a heart attack at the age of 83. Sharif was talented and charismatic; he spoke six languages (his French was beautiful and impeccable) and starred in such memorable cinematic classics as "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago."

Religiously, Sharif was an interesting character. He began life as a Roman Catholic but converted to Islam to marry his first (and only) wife. Later on, while making "Funny Girl," Sharif became involved in a short-lived romance with the very Jewish Barbara Streisand, a fact that, once it became public, actually heightened political tensions in the Middle East.

I can't say that I know Sharif's filmic oeuvre all that well: outside of two epics and "Funny Girl," I know him best as the guy on French TV who did a few "Tiercé Magazine" commercials, and I vaguely remember him in "The Thirteenth Warrior." That said, I've always admired Sharif's screen presence and envied the fact that he was a polyglot (see above).

As will be true for most of us, alas, Mr. Sharif passed away in a hospital and not at home, but he was with his loved ones, and he will be remembered by the world as one of the great cinematic talents.

RIP, Mr. Sharif.



SJHoneywell said...

It's worth noting as well that Sharif was at one point one of the top 50 players of contract bridge in the world and did a newspaper column on the game for several years.

Hell of a smart guy, hell of an actor.

Kevin Kim said...

Yeah, I noticed a lot of bridge-related titles in the Wikipedia entry about him. Bridge and horse racing were apparently two of his many passions. (The word "tiercé" in the title "Tiercé Magazine" means "trifecta.")