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Omar Sharif has died in a Cairo hospital at the age of 83.

Egypt-born Omar Sharif was best known for his roles in classic films Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.

Omar Sharif won two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination for his role as Sherif Ali in David Lean’s 1962 epic Lawrence of Arabia.

He won a further Golden Globe three years later for Doctor Zhivago.

Earlier this year, the actor’s agent confirmed he had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

Steve Kenis said: “He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo.”

Born Michel Shalhoub in Alexandria in April 1932, Omar Sharif started out in his family’s lumber business before going to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).Omar Sharif dead at 83

He made his screen debut in the 1954 Egyptian film Siraa Fil-Wadi (The Blazing Sun) and rapidly became a star in his own country.

Omar Sharif’s big break came when David Lean cast him in Lawrence of Arabia, introducing the actor with a now-legendary shot of him riding a camel out of a shimmering heat haze towards the camera.

Peter O’Toole, who played TE Lawrence in the 1962 multiple Oscar-winner, considered Omar Sharif’s name ridiculous and insisted on calling him “Fred”. The pair soon became fast friends.

In later life Omar Sharif claimed to be baffled by the film’s success, saying it had merely been shots of people on camels walking from one side of the screen to the other.

David Lean went on to cast Omar Sharif in the title role of his next epic Doctor Zhivago, in which he played a physician caught up in the Russian Revolution.

Omar Sharif went through a daily routine of hair-straightening and skin-waxing in order to disguise his Egyptian looks and would later admit Doctor Zhivago had left him close to a nervous breakdown.

Other notable roles came opposite Barbra Streisand in her first film Funny Girl and as Julie Andrews’ lover in spy thriller The Tamarind Seed.

Omar Sharif also got to play a series of real-life figures, among them Genghis Khan and the Argentine revolutionary Che Guevara.

After his initial stint in the spotlight, Omar Sharif would come to be seen more frequently at the gaming tables than the Hollywood soundstage.

He became particularly successful at bridge and was ranked among the world’s best players.

His film roles became increasingly sporadic, and those he did accept were in films he would later dismiss as “rubbish”.

In the late 1990s Omar Sharif began declining film offers, claiming he had lost his “self-respect and dignity”.

Earlier this year Omar Sharif’s agent confirmed the actor had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease after his son Tarek gave an interview in which he discussed his father’s deteriorating condition.

“He still knows he’s a famous actor,” Tarek El-Sharif told Spain’s El Mundo.

“He remembers, for example, [he was in] Doctor Zhivago but he’s forgotten when it was filmed.”

Following the announcement of Omar Sharif’s death, his grandson Omar Sharif Jr. posted a picture of him on Facebook with the simple caption: “I love you.”


Peter O’Toole has announced he is retiring from the stage and screen at the age of 79.

The Irish-born star – best known for playing Lawrence of Arabia in Sir David Lean’s 1962 film classic – said it was time to “chuck in the sponge”.

After a career spanning 50 years Peter O’Toole said: “I bid the profession a dry-eyed and profoundly grateful farewell.

“The heart for it has gone out of me,” he added.

“It won’t come back”.

Peter O'Toole has announced he is retiring from the stage and screen at the age of 79

Peter O'Toole has announced he is retiring from the stage and screen at the age of 79

After starting out on the stage in Bristol and London at the age of 17, Peter O’Toole’s big break came when David Lean cast him as British adventurer T. E. Lawrence.

The role earned him the first of eight Oscar nominations, with others coming for such films as Becket, The Lion in Winter and Goodbye, Mr. Chips.

Peter O’Toole was given an honorary Oscar in 2003, an award he had initially refused to accept.

In a letter he asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to delay the award until he was 80, saying he was “still in the game and might win the bugger outright”.

“My professional acting life, stage and screen, has brought me public support, emotional fulfillment and material comfort,” the actor said in a statement.

“It has brought me together with fine people, good companions with whom I’ve shared the inevitable lot of all actors: flops and hits.

“However, it’s my belief that one should decide for oneself when it is time to end one’s stay,” he went on.

Peter O’Toole’s most recent Oscar nomination was for Venus in 2006, when he lost out to The Last King of Scotland star Forest Whitaker.

The Connemara native, who turns 80 next month, was raised in northern England and initially became a journalist and a radioman for the Royal Navy.

He went on to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where his classmates included Albert Finney, Alan Bates and Richard Harris.

The actor, a legendary hell raiser, said he would now focus on writing a third volume of his memoirs.