Omar Sharif, the Oscar nominated star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, has died at the age of 83 in Cairo.
His agent confirmed yesterday that the actor suffered a heart attack in hospital, and was battling Alzheimer’s after being diagnosed earlier this year.
Sharif was born in 1932 as Michel Demitri Shalhoub to a lumber trader in Egypt. He graduated from Cairo University with a mathematics and physics degree and join the lumber trade. Sharif would soon turn his hand to acting, and after appearing in several Egyptian films and building a reputation for himself in the middle east, he turned his hand to English language cinema.
His English language debut came in the form of classic Lawrence of Arabia (1962) and won Sharif his first and only Oscar nomination for supporting actor. His other Hollwood credits include Doctor Zhivago, Funny Girl and Funny Lady.
He retreated from the spotlight following diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, and his death has already been met with a wave of sympathy from family, friends and colleagues. His family have thanked everyone “for the global outpouring of prayers and support” they have received, with his Grandson adding: “I will miss my grandfather dearly.”