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July 10, 2015 12:57 PM   Subscribe

​Omar Sharif, 83, a Star in ‘Lawrence of Arabia’ and ‘Doctor Zhivago,’ Dies. [New York Times]
Omar Sharif, the Egyptian actor who rode out of the desert in the 1962 screen epic “Lawrence of Arabia” into a glamorous if brief reign as an international star in films like “Dr. Zhivago” and “The Night of the Generals,” died on Friday in Cairo. He was 83. His death, at a hospital, was caused by a heart attack, his agent, Steve Kenis, said. Mr. Sharif — who later became as well known for his mastery of bridge as he was for his acting — was a commanding, darkly handsome presence on screen. He was multilingual as well, and comfortable in almost any role or cultural setting.
posted by Fizz (63 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
 
*upon hearing about Omar Sharif's death*
William Potter: Ooh! It damn well 'urts!
T.E. Lawrence: Certainly it hurts.
Officer: What's the trick then?
T.E. Lawrence: The trick, William Potter, is not minding that it hurts.
I'm having trouble ignoring the hurt.

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posted by Fizz at 12:59 PM on July 10, 2015 [10 favorites]


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posted by infini at 1:00 PM on July 10, 2015


In honor of the time my wife said this to me after I mentioned him, because her upbringing was weird, I'll say:

Omar Shariff the bridge player?
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 1:00 PM on July 10, 2015 [24 favorites]


He was my grandmother's absolute favorite; if Doctor Zhivago was on cable, she was watching it, period.

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posted by Cool Papa Bell at 1:02 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


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posted by Iridic at 1:03 PM on July 10, 2015


Before I was old enough to understand the concept of a 'hall pass', it was understood that Omar Sharif was my mother's.

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posted by Mooski at 1:04 PM on July 10, 2015 [14 favorites]


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He was my mom and grandmother's favorite. They'd seen Zhivago many times. Weirdly I've never seen it, I may have to finally watch it this weekend.
posted by octothorpe at 1:10 PM on July 10, 2015


In honor of the time my wife said this to me after I mentioned him, because her upbringing was weird, I'll say:

Omar Shariff the bridge player?


To clarify, my grandmother's friend Phyllis was both a total character and an avid bridge player. At some point, she was in some exotic location like Monaco or a fancy cruise or something and saw Omar Sharif playing bridge so she sat and watched and eventually he invited her over and showed her his hand and explained why he was making his choices and bids and everything.

Apparently he was just completely charming and gentlemanly and patient and an absolute delight. It's really a shame he's gone and I'm sure that tonight Phyllis will be pouring out a glass of Veuve for the gracious Mr. Omar Sharif.
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 1:10 PM on July 10, 2015 [27 favorites]


I'll be watching Lawrence of Arabia tonight (as if I needed an excuse to enjoy this masterpiece, though this will be a sad one).
posted by Fizz at 1:12 PM on July 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


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posted by Pendragon at 1:13 PM on July 10, 2015


At some point, she was in some exotic location like Monaco or a fancy cruise or something and saw Omar Sharif playing bridge so she sat and watched and eventually he invited her over and showed her his hand and explained why he was making his choices and bids and everything.

Sharif was once a world-ranked bridge player and wrote a column on bridge for the Chicago Tribune.

Apparently, he also suffered from Alzheimer's in his later years, though that was not what claimed him.

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posted by Thorzdad at 1:21 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


My local paper carried his weekly bridge column. My family were bridge players, but I always feel like I learned the game because I loved him in LoA so much that I couldn't not read the column every week.

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posted by OHenryPacey at 1:27 PM on July 10, 2015


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Hope he and Peter O'Toole are riding into the sunset together.

Damm that was a handsome man.

Peter Bradshaw wrote a very good appreciation

(Everybody should watch The Horsemen, an utterly glorious, wholly reprehensible film with Jack Palance as Sharif's dad, that exists in order to showcase fabulous stunt riding in extended scenes of buzukashi - ultra violent polo fought over the corpse of a goat.)

Even in his later films, Hidalgo and Monsieur Ibrahim, his charisma just poured out of the screen.
posted by runincircles at 1:33 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


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posted by BlackLeotardFront at 1:39 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by MelanieL at 1:41 PM on July 10, 2015


Lusciously handsome and dashing to the utmost degree. RIP.
posted by GrammarMoses at 1:41 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Best entrance in film ever.
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posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 1:43 PM on July 10, 2015 [35 favorites]


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posted by Kabanos at 1:45 PM on July 10, 2015


One of those celebrity face recognition sites once told me I look like Omar Sharif. I really, really don't - I'm not rugged at all - but I was pleased with it.
posted by atoxyl at 1:48 PM on July 10, 2015


M.Ibrahim captured my soul, better that than the devil.
posted by infini at 1:51 PM on July 10, 2015


Listens to Omaha Sheriff song in memoriam.

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posted by Confess, Fletch at 2:01 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Well his first movie credit in 1954 was Devil of the Sahara.

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posted by adamvasco at 2:03 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


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Best entrance in film ever.

No kidding. Definitely one of them, anyway, a true classic. And he was a classic leading man.
posted by LeLiLo at 2:04 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


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posted by Joey Michaels at 2:04 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by jessian at 2:07 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by discopolo at 2:15 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by Smart Dalek at 2:18 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by cazoo at 2:28 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by Kevin Street at 2:36 PM on July 10, 2015


My abiding memory will be his excellent comic turn in Top Secret. To say he liked a flutter was an understatement and, due to the subsequent fluctuations in his cash flow, it meant he had to do films like that to make ends meet. Thank god, say I.
posted by devious truculent and unreliable at 2:54 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


They really, truly don't make 'em like that anymore. He was the George Clooney for an entire generation of women, maybe doubly-so.

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posted by dbiedny at 3:00 PM on July 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


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posted by JoeXIII007 at 3:02 PM on July 10, 2015


dbiedny: "They really, truly don't make 'em like that anymore. He was the George Clooney for an entire generation of women, maybe doubly-so."

That's curious, I was looking at his picture earlier, and trying to think who today had the same type of style and charisma, and George Clooney was the only celebrity I could think of. And they kind of look a like a little.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 3:12 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


"His death, at a hospital, was caused by a heart attack"

So basically, the crap alternate ending of Doctor Zhivago then.

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posted by markkraft at 3:14 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


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posted by edd at 3:50 PM on July 10, 2015


1990 film The Rainbow Thief reunited Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif. Director Jodorowsky has disowned the film as he claims he did not have much artistic control, but actually I recall it as interesting.
posted by larrybob at 4:59 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think of OMAR first as a quintessentially boomer-era crossword answer that is mildly melancholy to fill in because it makes me think in general about fading cultural referents and the passage of time *sigh*

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posted by batfish at 5:21 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


My first crush. I was 13 and obviously into older, exotic men. But then my 2nd crush was Ernest Borgnine. My therapist still hasn't figured that one out.
posted by memewit at 5:21 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


I remember that my mom would describe her handsome Italian cousins as 'looking like Omar Sharif.' Plus he was amazing in Lawrence of Arabia.

RIP, Omar.
posted by jonmc at 5:25 PM on July 10, 2015


Watching Zhivago now. HBO Go annoyingly runs it in 16:9 format which chops off a lot of Lean's framing but it's still a gorgeous film.
posted by octothorpe at 5:26 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


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posted by pianoboy at 5:38 PM on July 10, 2015


This Is Your Life Omar Sharif w/Peter O'Toole (fabulous short story starts around 1:00).

£...p..._...

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posted by Muddler at 5:38 PM on July 10, 2015 [3 favorites]


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posted by vibrotronica at 5:45 PM on July 10, 2015


Muddler, I could watch the two of them just sit and talk for hours and hours. I like to think that they're some where out in the universe drinking, laughing, and telling each other old stories about the 'good old days'.

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posted by Fizz at 5:48 PM on July 10, 2015 [1 favorite]


Barbra Streisand opened that backstage door in Funny Girl and I suddenly understood the concept of Helen of Troy...
posted by sallybrown at 6:05 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by Autumn Leaf at 6:14 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by condour75 at 6:18 PM on July 10, 2015


Although I've seen and loved the Lean movies, today the first thing I thought of was: Nick Arnstein
posted by NorthernLite at 6:27 PM on July 10, 2015


When the 4K restoration of Lawrence was shown in theatres a couple of years ago, it featured a short, moving intro by Sharif.

O'Toole and Sharif were supposedly the best of friends for fifty plus years. Indeed, they don't make film stars like that any more.

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posted by Sheydem-tants at 6:29 PM on July 10, 2015 [4 favorites]


For some men, nothing is written until they write it.

Godspeed, sir, and thank you.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:10 PM on July 10, 2015 [5 favorites]


"(Everybody should watch The Horsemen, an utterly glorious, wholly reprehensible film with Jack Palance as Sharif's dad, that exists in order to showcase fabulous stunt riding yt in extended scenes of buzukashi - ultra violent polo fought over the corpse of a goat.)"

Script by Dalton Trumbo, directed by John Frankenheimer, and, I think, the only Hollywood movie ever shot in Afghanistan. Why "reprehensible"? The goat was past caring.

OT: RIP
posted by Chitownfats at 7:30 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by humanfont at 7:45 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by Going To Maine at 9:13 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by Jade Dragon at 10:39 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by Cash4Lead at 10:52 PM on July 10, 2015


Omar Sharif was wonderful. Sorry he's gone, but he has left his prison of clay.
On of my favorite stories about him was how he and Peter O'Toole did not like camels and would get drunk and tie themselves onto the camels they rode in the film.
I love camels. I don't need to get drunk to ride a camel, but I thought the story was funny!
He'll be missed. Oh.. Who is this George Clooney you speak of?
posted by Katjusa Roquette at 11:16 PM on July 10, 2015 [2 favorites]


Dr. Zhivago still gives me chills but not as much as when I first saw it in the theater. It was the first movie that made me cry. RIP, Yuri.
posted by Lynsey at 11:40 PM on July 10, 2015


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posted by C. K. Dexter Haven at 1:26 AM on July 11, 2015


I'm another person who first knew him as a bridge columnist with a storied past. What a life.

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posted by LobsterMitten at 8:45 AM on July 11, 2015 [1 favorite]


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posted by allthinky at 11:52 AM on July 11, 2015


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posted by Bron at 10:00 AM on July 12, 2015


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I knew of his acting career first, but when I learned of his bridge column I made a point of reading it whenever I found it in a newspaper, though I don't play the game myself.
posted by Gelatin at 4:54 AM on July 13, 2015


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posted by bjgeiger at 7:43 AM on July 13, 2015


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