Omar Sharif Dead: Lawrence of Arabia Actor Dies at 83 From Heart Attack

Omar Sharif
Lawrence of Arabia actor Omar Sharif died at the age of 83 after suffering a heart attack on Friday, July 10 Francois Durand/Getty Images

Omar Sharif has died at the age of 83. The Lawrence of Arabia actor passed away on Friday, July 10.

"He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo," his agent, Steve Kenis, told BBC News. 

Sharif was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier this year. "It's difficult to determine what stage. It's obvious he won't improve and will get worse," his son, Tarek Sharif, told Spanish newspaper El Mundo in May, via The Telegraph.

lawrence of arabia
Peter O'Toole and Omar Sharif on the set of the film 'Lawrence of Arabia' released in 1962. Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

The Alexandria, Egypt native [real name: Michel Shalhoub] earned a physics and mathematics degree from Cairo University and worked for his family's lumber business before breaking out in Hollywood. He's perhaps best known for playing Sherif Ali in the 1962 classic Lawrence of Arabia, which was also his first English language role.

"When I made this film I thought: 'This is a crazy thing. There are no girls, no very famous actors at that time, only men and no action, not a lot of action. Not a lot of fights…'" he told The Guardian in 2012. "It was so good because the director [David Lean] was a brilliant man. That’s the truth. David Lean was a great, great man. Great man." (He received a Best Actor in a Supporting Role Oscar nomination for his work.)

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Barbra Streisand, as Fanny Brice, and Egyptian actor Omar Sharif as Nick Arnstein, in a promotional portrait for 'Funny Girl' Getty Images

In addition, Sharif — who spoke six languages — notably played Nick Arnstein in 1968's Funny Girl opposite Barbra Streisand and its sequel Funny Lady. He also starred as Yuri in 1965's Doctor Zhivago, and in films such as More Than a Miracle, Mackenna's Gold, Hidalgo, Monsieur Ibraham, and One Night with the King. He last worked on the short 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham, which is now in post-production.

Sharif's stellar Hollywood career spanned more than 60 years and included over 118 TV and movie roles.

dr zhivago
Omar Sharif, as Doctor Yuri Zhivago, in a promotional portrait for 'Doctor Zhivago', directed by David Lean, 1965 Getty Images

When not acting, the Golden Globe-winning actor was an avid bridge player and wrote several books about the topic, including Omar Sharif's Life in Bridge (1983), Play Bridge with Omar Sharif (1990), and Play More Bridge with Omar Sharif (1994). He also wrote a syndicated column on the game for the Chicago Tribune in the 1970s.

Sharif is survived by his son Tarek Sharif and two grandsons. The late star and actress Faten Hamama divorced in 1974 after 19 years of marriage.

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