Omar Sharif Dead: 'Lawrence Of Arabia' Star Passes Away At 83

Jul 10, 2015 02:35 PM EDT
Omar Sharif
Actor Omar Sharif, photograped at the 2013 Chain Of Hope Annual Ball at Supernova in London, has passed away. He was most known for his roles in "Lawrence Of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago."

Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif has passed away at the age of 83. 

The star had a long career in film and TV, best known for his roles in "Lawrence Of Arabia" and "Doctor Zhivago," CNN reported

Sharif's agent, Steve Kenis, confirmed that the actor was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease earlier this year, BBC News reported.

"He suffered a heart attack this afternoon in a hospital in Cairo," Kenis said.

The actor was born in 1932 as Michel Shalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt and changed his name to Omar al-Sharif in 1955 when he converted to Islam. He studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London and made his big-screen debut in 1954, starring in Youssef Chahine's "Siraa Fil-Wadi" (which translates to "The Blazing Sun"). He was casted opposite Faten Hamama, and the two fell in love. Sharif and Hamama were married from 1954 to 1974, according to CNN.

His break-out role in David Lean's 1962 film "Lawrence Of Arabia" made him became the first world-famous Arab actor, Variety reported. Sharif's first lead role in an English-language release came in 1965 with Lean's "Doctor Zhivago." He won a Golden Globe for his work in "Doctor Zhivago" and snagged an Oscar nomination for his part in "Lawrence Of Arabia."

Sharif is survived by his son and two grandsons, actor Omar Sharif Jr. and Karim. Sharif Jr. tweeted the phrase "Al-Baqa Lillah" after his grandfather's passing, Al Jazeera reported. It translates to "God remains" or "rest in peace."

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