Legendary Egyptian actor Omar Sharif, known for his roles in Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, is suffering from Alzheimer’s, according to statements made by Omar’s son to a Spanish newspaper.
According to Tarek Sharif, the iconic 83-year-old actor has been suffering from the disease for three years, reported El Mundo in an exclusive interview.
“It is clear that he will never improve and it [the disease] will get worse,” said Tarek in the interview.
Omar Sharif, who has won two Golden Globes for his performance in Lawrence of Arabia and one Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in Doctor Zhivago, confuses his fans who ask him for autographs for people he thinks he used to know, revealed Tarek.
“When someone sees him in the street and approaches, he [Omar] often thinks it’s someone he knew whose name and face he had forgotten, when most often it’s just a fan,” said Tarek.
Tarek, who is the only child of Omar Sharif and the late Faten Hamama, also added that Omar Sharif often forgets the names of the movies for which he won awards and where they were filmed.
More heart-clenching, Tarek added, was the fact that his father sometimes asks how his ex-wife, Faten Hamama, is, despite her passing away in January. Faten Hamama was known as the ‘Lady of Arab Cinema’ and was one of the Arab world’s most prominent producers and actresses. Hamama had starred in many films starring Omar Sharif, who was born a Christian and had converted to Islam to marry her. Omar had always described Hamama as the only love of his life after their divorce in 1974.
The revelation of Omar Sharif’s condition comes after years of rumors that the legendary actor suffers from Alzheimer’s. In the past decade, the award-winning actor, who had also been nominated for an Academy Award, had experienced several bursts of public anger. In 2003, Omar Sharif was fined $US 1,700 and received a one-month suspended prison sentence for hitting a police officer in a Paris casino. In 2007, the actor was charged with assaulting a parking lot attendant and breaking his nose in Beverly Hills.
Following his attack on a police officer in Paris, Omar Sharif joked that it made him a hero.
“It made me the hero of the whole of France. To head-butt a cop is the dream of every Frenchman,” said Omar.
According to his son, Omar now spends his days relaxing and listening to music. The actor is often sighted in Cairo’s up-scale Katameya Heights, where he owns a villa, and in the Red Sea resort-town of El Gouna.
Famous quotes by Omar Sharif
“I lived very humbly, in fear, I accepted the films they wanted me to do and even films I didn’t want to do and I didn’t like because I was afraid of saying no.”
“When one sees what happens in the world between the religions, the different religions – killing each other and murdering each other, it’s disgusting and as far as I am concerned it’s ridiculous. So I thought I might be useful, I believe in God and I believe in religion, but believe religions should belong to you. The extraordinary thing is that Jews believe that only the Jews can go to paradise, the Christians believe that only a Christian can go to paradise and the Muslims believe that only the Muslims can go to paradise. Now why should God, in His great justice, make somebody born that cannot go to paradise – it is absurd. Please forgive me, I don’t mean to say it’s absurd, people made it absurd.”
“I lived in America for a long time. Only ten percent of all Americans have a passport. In other words, ninety per cent have never left America. They don’t know anything. The typical Middle Eastern man is far more intelligent.”