Omar Sharif: Five Amazing Facts You Did Not Know About ‘Doctor Zhivago’

Omar Sharif is no more. On Friday, he succumbed to Alzheimer’s, leaving behind a remarkable body of work. Tributes are pouring in from all directions for Sharif. However, there’s a list of five facts that you might not have known about the man who played Sharif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia.

Omar Sharif Could Speak Six Languages

Though Sharif once confessed that he enjoyed acting in English-language films, he was already a star in Egypt before he made his move to Hollywood. Apart from English, Omar could speak French, Spanish, Greek, Italian, and even Arabic. In an interview with the Guardian, he was forthcoming about his love for the English language.

“Well, the only thing that I like to act in is English. The other languages I can speak, but I can’t act as well in any other language. I like to speak English in theatre. I made French films and other films and a lot of Arabic films, but what I like is English for myself.”

As A Child, Omar Sharif Was A Fat Little Boy And His Mother Hated It

If it was not for Sharif’s mother, Omar might not have made it into films at all. His mother admitted him in an English school so he could lose weight, because the food in those days used to be horrible in English schools.

Later, Sharif admitted that it was only because he lost weight and joined the theater in his school, that he developed a likeness for acting. So much for being fat!

Omar Sharif Once Played Contract Bridge In Front Of The Shah Of Iran

At one point of time, Sharif was so good at contract bridge, a trick-taking card game, that he was ranked among the top 50 players in the world. He formed the Omar Sharif Bridge Circus to perform exhibition matches in front of royal spectators, which once included the Shah of Iran.

When Omar was asked why he spent so much time playing bridge when he could have instead been making movies, Sharif’s tongue-in-cheek reply was as follows.

“The real question is why I spend so much time making movies when I could be playing bridge.”

Omar Sharif Head-Butted A French Police Officer In 2003

Sharif could be pretty rough at times. He was known to be temperamental, impatient, and was even sent to anger-management counseling. According to the Washington Post, in 2003, he head-butted a French police officer. A couple of years later, he brawled with a parking attendant at Beverly Hills. If that was not enough, Sharif was caught slapping a woman on camera at Qatar Film Festival in 2011.

Now that is not something we approve of, Omar!

Omar Sharif Was A Great Hull City F.C. Football Fan

Sharif also loved football. His favorite football team was Hull City F.C., a club which plays in the second division of English football. Omar spoke fondly of his days as a young player.

“I played it quite well in my English school. I was a back, a slave. It’s very stupid to be a back. In those days we didn’t move a lot. The back stayed still and just watched the wing-rights. They took care of us. That’s all we could do.”

Omar Sharif, for all his idiosyncrasies, will always be remembered as a legend.

[Image via ArtDaily]