Remembering Omar Sharif

Omar Sharif, best known for his acting in “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago,” passed away  in July in Cairo. Sharif was one of the first Arab actors to succeed on the Hollywood stage. In 2012, Sharif accepted an interview to discuss his acting career. He explained that his mother was his biggest inspiration. “By night she would play cards, by day she would give me the slipper,” Sharif remembered. However, despite the ups and downs, Sharif had a close relationship with his mother. To him, she was an inspiration.

Despite having success with the help of his mother, Sharif found himself struggling to fit into the Hollywood big screen. During his role in the “Doctor Zhivago,” Sharif went through daily routines of hair straightening and skin waxing. Struggling to fit in, he sought to appear more Caucasian. These routines often caused the actor to have severe nervous breakdowns.

Although his actions caused much problems to his lifestyles, Sharif’s role in “Doctor Zhivago,” along with his first film, “Lawrence of Arabia,” brought him the big screen fame that he is known for today. In an interview for “The Guardian,” Sharif mentioned that he thought “Lawrence of Arabia” was a crazy film. Sharif credited his film director for making the film possible, stating the director as a “great, great man.”

After his spotlight performance in Hollywood, Sharif appeared less frequently in films. His reasoning was simple: they were “rubbish” for his taste. Eventually in the 1990s, Sharif began to decline offers to act in the films, claiming that they took away his “respect and dignity.”

Despite Sharif’s evasion of the limelight in recent years, when his death was announced, numerous stars expressed their condolences via social media. Antonio Banderas, Sharif’s co-star in “The 13th Warrior,” tweeted, “My great friend Omar Sharif has passed away. I will always miss him. He was one of the best.”

Despite his passing, Sharif’s work will not soon be forgotten. His acting has created numerous fans over the years, who will remember the numerous things that this man has accomplished over the span of the twentieth century.


Image courtesy of Anonymous/Creative Commons

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