While discretion. Relatives and Egyptian stars did their farewell Sunday to Omar Sharif, whose funeral was held discreetly in one of the largest mosques in Cairo. “The world has lost a great actor,” praised the former Minister of Antiquities and renowned Egyptologist Zahi Hawass at the end of the ceremony.
For the famous Egyptian actor Hussein Fahmy, actor mythical “Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago” represented “Egypt in the world the best way possible.”
Comedian penetrating gaze, the smile of young and first hoarseness died Friday of a heart attack at the age of 83. His family and some Egyptian stars gathered for his funeral at a mosque in the outskirts of Cairo where official religious ceremonies are held. No Hollywood star was present, said a journalist from AFP. After the traditional prayer, the coffin, covered with a flag of Egypt and a black cloth on which were embroidered the verses of the Koran, was taken in a car to be driven to the cemetery Sayyeda Nefissa, south of capital.
VIDEO. Discreet farewell to Omar Sharif in Egypt
Omar Sharif, who suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, had been detained a month before his death in an upscale clinic in Cairo. “I saw him last week, he stopped eating and not drinking,” testified Zahi Hawass. After the announcement of his death, the Egyptian media and users of social networks have multiplied moved the tributes, sharing excerpts from his films and photos of the actor. The illness had forced Omar Sharif to move away trays in 2012, after a final appearance in “Rock The Casbah” Laila Marrakchi, closing a rich career of over 70 films.
Born Michel Chalhoub the April 10, 1932 in Alexandria (north) into a family of precious wood traders of Syrian-Lebanese descent, he was raised in the Greek-Melkite Catholic rite. He converted to Islam to marry the icon of Arab cinema, Egyptian actress Faten Hamama in –décédée janvier– with whom he had a son, Tarek. The couple, one of the most glamorous and most charismatic of Egyptian cinema, divorced in 1974 while the actor, already famous in Egypt, launched his Hollywood career. This had not prevented Omar Sharif to describe it as the only love of his life.
“It was the people of values. They are part of history and everybody loved them, “summarized Mohamed al-Bassiouni, a Cairo 75 years who had wanted to be present at the funeral as he had attended the funeral Faten Hamama in January.
Omar Sharif was one of the few Arab actors became an international star after “Lawrence of Arabia (1962),” which earned him the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor. In 1965 he met David Lean who heads in “Doctor Zhivago” for which he received the Golden Globe for Best Actor for his portrayal of Russian doctor.
Very eclectic, he embodies later Genghis Khan, Tsar Nicolas II, including Captain Nemo plays in “Funny Girl” by William Wyler (1968) with Barbara Streisand, and “Mayerling” (1968) Terence Young. “He was handsome, sophisticated and charming (…) I am lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Omar” had Friday welcomed Barbara Streisand.
His choleric character has brought to justice. Bridge Champion, owner of a major racehorse stables he has his “dada”, accustomed casinos, he will say in 2006 have stopped playing “to no longer be a slave of passion,” to except cinema. A polyglot, he has mostly lived in France, the US and Italy. But the actor, whose humor was as thin as a shady character, preferred to lead a life of “nomad”. On the evening of his life, he had approached his family in Egypt. At major events of the Arab Spring, Tahrir Square in Cairo, precipitated the fall of the Mubarak regime, the aging actor had appeared on the balcony supporting crowd who demanded democracy in Egypt.