Omar Sharif Has Alzheimer's

Luke Sharma

It has been confirmed that Hollywood actor Omar Sharif may be suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

The Egyptian-born actor has reportedly been mixing up the names of the films he has starred in (especially Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago) and sometimes even forgets that he filmed them at all. This information comes from Tarek El-Sharif, Omar Sharif's only son. On top of this, it has also been reported that Sharif often gets confused as to why people ask for autographs, even though he is fully aware that he is a famous actor.

El-Sharif revealed all in an interview with Spanish magazine El Mundo, "It's obvious he'll never improve and it will get worse. There are times of the day when he's better and others in which he feels confused. He knows who he is but not necessarily the reason people greet him. When someone seems him in the street and approaches him, he often thinks it's someone he used to know whose name and face he's forgotten when most of the time it's just a fan."

In addition to his confusion regarding his status of a legendary actor, Sharif's personal knowledge of familial life had also become confused. El-Sharif alleges that his father once asked how his mother, Faten, was, even though she had died days earlier.

El-Sharif has also stated that although the condition is worsening, Sharif is refusing to accept a diagnosis and won't do any sort of mental exercise.

This news comes at little surprise, as it follows reports that Omar Sharif had quit acting in 2013 as he was struggling to remember his lines, though Sharif's representatives fervently denied rumours of Alzheimer's at the time, with the reason provided being that his heart was broken over the situation in Egypt.

Sharif has had an illustrious Hollywood career, starring in both Oscar-winning pictures such as Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia (for which he was nominated for the Oscar Award for Supporting Actor), and flops such as the Antonio Banderas flick The 13th Warrior, which he cites as one of the reasons for his semi-retirement in 2002. By 2003, however, Sharif was back in business and starred in Monsieur Ibrahim and hasn't been off screen since.

In 2002, Sharif's Doctor Zhivago co-star Julie Christie, a fellow Oscar nominee, also began to show signs of the neurological problem autobiographical amnesia. This means she can only recall certain memories due to damage to the hippocampus region of the brain, similar to Guy Pearce's character in Memento.

[Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for DIFF]