Hollywood Icon Omar Sharif Dies at 83

The actor was known for roles in Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia

Omar Sharif, the actor known for roles in Hollywood classics like Doctor Zhivago, has died at age 83.

Egypt-born Sharif was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in a Supporting Role in 1963 for playing Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia, work that also won him a Golden Globe. He earned another Globe playing Yuri opposite Julie Christie in Doctor Zhivago. And he was beloved as the suave Nicky Arnstein, who woos Barbra Streisand’s Fanny Brice, in Funny Girl and Funny Lady.

In a 1963 story on Lawrence of Arabia, TIME described Sharif as a promising newcomer, noting, “There is nothing quite so Arabian in Lawrence of Arabia as an actor named Omar Sharif, a flashing dark fellow with the white Formica smile of a desert chieftain, the scowling fury of a sandstorm, and the overall dash of half a dozen swordsmen trained by Abdul Abulbul Amir. Actors like that usually come from Pasadena, or some similar place, but this one is an exception. He is a citizen of the United Arab Republic, born in Alexandria, raised in Cairo.”

Celebrities took to social media on Friday to mourn the actor’s passing.

Sharif’s agent confirmed in a statement that the legendary actor died of a heart attack on Friday in Cairo. In May, his family had announced that Sharif was suffering from Alzheimer’s. He had most recently appeared in the 2013 film Rock the Casbah, and narrated a not-yet-released short film, 1001 Inventions and the World of Ibn Al-Haytham.

Published in TIME on July 10th, 2015.

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