Omar Sharif (10 April 1932 – 10 July 2015)
Omar Sharif will always be remembered for his distinctive look: the thick black moustache, the large eyes and mesmerising stare, and his mischievous smile. While his career began in 1954 with the Egyptian movie Devil in the Sahara, it wasn’t until he made his slow appearance out of the haze in Lawrence of Arabia (1962) that stardom caught up with him and thrust him into the international limelight. Over the next fifty years he was pigeon-holed as the romantic foreigner, charming and urbane, whether playing real life characters such as Che Guevara, or fantasy roles such as Captain Nemo. He made movies in almost every genre, and was surprisingly adept at comedy, and if his career never maintained the heights he achieved in the Sixties, he was still an actor who was always interesting to watch (even if the movie wasn’t).
For my part, I saw Omar Sharif at a showing of the 4K restoration of Lawrence of Arabia at the London Film Festival in 2012. I was in the second row, roughly ten feet away from him, and as he spoke about David Lean and the making of the film, his gaze focused on mine, and for most of his reminiscing he looked directly at me. It was a fantastic moment and one I will treasure forever.
1 – Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
2 – Genghis Khan (1965)
3 – Doctor Zhivago (1965)
4 – The Night of the Generals (1967)
5 – Funny Girl (1968)
6 – The Last Valley (1971)
7 – The Horsemen (1971)
8 – The Baltimore Bullet (1980)
9 – The Rainbow Thief (1990)
10 – Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran (2003)