Omar Sharif (1932–2015)
Date of Birth 10 April 1932, Alexandria, Egypt
Date of Death 10 July 2015, Cairo, Egypt (heart attack)
Birth Name Michel Demetri Shalhoub
Height 5′ 11″ (1.8 m)
[on Barbra Streisand] I thought she was not very attractive at first. But gradually she cast her spell over me. I fell madly in love with her talent. The feeling was mutual for four months – the time it took to shoot the movie.
[on his prowess as a lover] See these hands? They are old. But they are soft. Only good for caressing.
[on Che! (1969)] I wasn’t satisfied with it. It was very awful because it was a movie about a very important figure in socialism and communism, and it was produced by the CIA. I didn’t know and I wasn’t aware of that. I had put a condition with them that this movie wouldn’t offend the reputation of Ernesto ‘Che’ Guevara.
[on being cast by David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)] They chose me for Lawrence of Arabia (1962) because I spoke English, had black hair, black eyes and a mustache. It was all luck. I was taken in a plane to the desert to meet David, and as we came in to land we could see him sitting all by himself. We landed right next to him, but he didn’t move one step. When I got off the plane, he didn’t say ‘hello’. He simply walked round me to see my profile. Finally, he said “That’s very good, Omar. Let’s go to the make-up tent.” I tried on a mustache, and it was decided I would grow one. I’ve shaved it off for a couple of films, but otherwise I’ve had it ever since.