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Omar Sharif, titan of cinema, dies aged 83

Omar Sharif starred alongside Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia [Getty]

Date of publication: 10 July, 2015

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Egyptian-born Omar Sharif, superstar of stage and screen, has died of a heart attack in Cairo, aged 83.

Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif, who starred in Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, among many, many others, died on Friday in Cairo aged 83, his London-based agent said.

"He died this afternoon of a heart attack in Cairo," Steve Kenis told AFP, adding that the actor had been in a hospital for patients with Alzheimer's disease.

Sharif began acting in the 1950s and was propelled to stardom playing an Arab chief enlisted by Peter O'Toole's TE Lawrence in the World War I drama Lawrence of Arabia, for which he won an Oscar nomination.

An even bigger role followed as the eponymous hero in David Lean's Doctor Zhivago, the adaptation of Boris Pasternak's novel of tortured passions during the Russian revolution.

Known for his rakish good looks, he went on to star in many more films and television productions, and in later years became almost as well known for playing bridge and owning thoroughbred racehorses.

Sharif was born in Egypt but spent many years living between France, Italy and the US, before settling back in his native country.

The actor's death comes six months after his ex-wife Faten Hamama, who died in January - also aged 83.

"Her love was all-consuming," Sharif told al-Araby at the 32nd Arab Theatre Festival in Cairo. "Whoever married Faten couldn't expect to be satisfied with any other woman again. In all sincerity, my heart closed after her."

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