Actor, heartthrob, bridge player? Omar Sharif was more than meets the eye
Omar Sharif won an Oscar nomination for his role in "Lawrence of Arabia" and a Golden Globe for "Doctor Zhivago." (AFP/File)
Omar Sharif, Egyptian-born Hollywood star and heartthrob, on Friday died at age 83 of a heart attack.
Born as Michel Dimitri Shalhoub, Sharif was most well-known for stealing the scene with his entrance in "Lawrence of Arabia." He played parts in major Hollywood films like "Funny Girl," "Mayerling" and "Che!" He was nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe for his leading role in "Doctor Zhivago." But he had another talent.
Sharif was an internationally renowned bridge player, having traveled the world to compete with top teams and became one of the top ten bridge players in the world, The Telegraph reported.
He wrote books on the game, wrote his own column in a paper and even licensed his name on a computer game, "Omar Sharif Bridge."
"I'd rather be playing bridge than making a bad movie," Sharif said, according to Al Jazeera.
But Sharif also lost money constantly, always "one film behind my debts," he said. He reportedly lost a $4.5 million villa on Spain's Lanzarote island from a bridge game in the '70s.
In 2006 he had other plans for his life. He had one son, Tarek el-Sharif, with his ex-wife Faten Hamama, whom Omar called "the love of his life." They got divorced in 1974 after 20 years of marriage. Hamama died in January.
"I decided I didn't want to be a slave to any passion any more except for my work," he said. "I had too many passions — bridge, horses, gambling. I want to live a different kind of life, be with my family more because I didn't give them enough time."
In May Sharif was diagnosed with Altzheimer's.
- Snapchat gets a re-brand with launch of Spectacles camera-sunglasses
- Iconic Palmyra arch replica unveiled in London
- Toyota proves popular in Arabia, especially with Daesh
- Jordan's Wadi Rum: One of '50 Greatest Adventures' for your bucket list
- Worldwide weapons: Who are the biggest arms importers and exporters?