Award-winning Egyptian icon Omar Sharif, of international fame, passed away on Friday morning. He was aged 83.
The actor, famous for roles in “Doctor Zhivago” and “Lawrence of Arabia” had recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the El-Watan website, his grandson published a picture on Facebook of himself with the world-renowned actor with the simple quote “R.I.P.”. It was, however, removed within minutes after he was overwhelmed with comments and questions.
Sharif’s death comes almost seven months after his former wife and the love of his life, Egyptian diva Faten Hamama, passed away on 17 January at the age of 84. In all of his interviews, Sharif recalled what Hamama represented for him. They had one son, but they divorced in the mid-1970s.
Sharif and Hamama worked together as co-stars in several films, including “The Lady of the Palace”, “Struggle in the Port”, “I don’t sleep”, and “River of Love”, amongst others.
Born in the city of Alexandria to Christian parents of Lebanese and Syrian origins, Sharif later converted to Islam to marry Hamama.
According to an interview with his son Tarek in Spanish newspaper El Mundo last May, Sharif’s health condition had led him to constantly ask about her, forgetting her death.
Aside from his fame in Egyptian cinema, the renowned actor also had starring roles internationally, including in “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962), “Doctor Zhivago” (1965) and “Funny Girl” (1968). He was an Academy Award nominee and received three Golden Globe awards.
Daily News Egypt interviewed Sharif in 2010, in which he discussed his acting career, his thoughts on life, religion and the future. He stated he preferred acting in English, because “You can act still”, unlike with Arabs, Italians and French who move their heads a lot when they speak.
In the interview, Sharif also said: “When one sees what people from different religion do to each other, and kill each other, it is ridiculous”. He added that in all three Abrahamic religions, believers think they are the ones who ought to go to heaven.
“Now, why should God in His great justice, make somebody born, if they are not going to paradise? It is absurd. The people made it absurd,” he said.