The iconic actor also appeared in Dr. Zhivago and Funny Girl

By Alexis L. Loinaz
Updated July 10, 2015 10:25 AM
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Credit: Mondadori/Getty

Omar Sharif, the iconic actor who starred in some of Hollywood’s most memorable epics including Lawrence of Arabia, has died at the age of 83.

The actor’s death at a Cairo hospital was confirmed to the BBC Friday by his agent, who said Sharif, born Michel Shalhoub, suffered a heart attack.

The Egyptian-born Sharif had already been a star in his homeland before he burst onto the Hollywood scene in 1962 as Sherif Ali in David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia alongside Peter O’Toole.

He later went on to star in Dr. Zhivago, Funny Girl and The Appointment in an esteemed career that would span almost seven decades and lasted well into his early 80s, when he last appeared in 2013’s Rock the Casbah.

His performance in Lawrence of Arabia earned him two Golden Globe awards and an Oscar nomination. He later won a Golden Globe for his role in Dr. Zhivago.

“As an actor in Egypt, I was nobody. It was extraordinary to suddenly become somebody in the world,” Shariff told Parade magazine in 2012. “I’ve never forgotten that.”

Sharif had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease, his son Tarek El-Sharif revealed in May.

At the time Sharif had been struggling with the illness for the last three years, and El-Sharif said it was “obvious he’ll never improve.”

His son asserted that Sharif understood that he was a famous actor, but his memory loss kept him from remembering specific details like who he’d costarred with and where he’d filmed.

In addition to his impressive acting career, Sharif was once ranked among the world’s best bridge players and remained loyal to his favorite football team Hull City.

Despite a lull in projects toward the end of his career, Sharif did win the Cesar, the French equivalent to an Oscar, for his part in a 2003 French drama Monsieur Ibraham.