Remembering Omar Sharif, the most famous Arab in Hollywood

Remembering Omar Sharif, the most famous Arab in Hollywood
Omar Sharif
Updated 09 April 2017

Remembering Omar Sharif, the most famous Arab in Hollywood

Remembering Omar Sharif, the most famous Arab in Hollywood

JEDDAH: Egyptian-born film star Omar Sharif, whose 85th birth birthday is on Monday (April 10), won international fame with his intense performance in David Lean’s epic “Lawrence of Arabia.”
He went on to play roles as diverse as iconic Soviet and Latin American revolutionaries, a German army officer, Genghis Khan, a Russian tsar, a Pathan horseman and even an Indian brigadier.
Sharif was one of the few Arab actors to make it big in Hollywood, and was known for his charismatic good looks and bridge-playing prowess. Born as Michel Demitri Shalhoub in 1932, Sharif was the son of a lumber merchant in Egypt’s second city Alexandria.
He was raised a Roman Catholic but embraced Islam and began acting in the 1950s.
He won an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for his role in “Lawrence of Arabia” and went on to win Golden Globe awards for the same as well as “Doctor Zhivago.”
Fluent in English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Greek and French, Sharif sent hearts aflutter around the world.
His most high-profile roles were in the 1960s when he also starred opposite Barbara Streisand in “Funny Girl.”
Sharif kept working over the following decades, often in TV movies, while also earning a reputation as one of the world’s best known contract bridge players.
He co-wrote a syndicated bridge newspaper column in the 1970s and 1980s, and authored several books and a bridge computer game called Omar Sharif Bridge.
The actor made something of a comeback in 2003 in the title role of the French film “Monsieur Ibrahim,” in which he played an elderly Muslim shopkeeper.
The performance won him a best actor award at the Venice Film Festival and the best actor Cesar, France’s equivalent of an
Oscar.
Sharif underwent triple heart bypass surgery in 1992 and suffered a mild heart attack in 1994, according to the IMDb movie database website.
He reportedly smoked 100 cigarettes a day but quit after the operation.
Diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2012, he succumbed to a heart attack in a Cairo hospital on July 10, 2015.
— With input from AFP/Reuters


TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options

TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options
Updated 15 January 2021

TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options

TWITTER POLL: WhatsApp users undecided whether to continue using app or switching to other options
  • The Facebook-owned messaging service has issued a new privacy policy

DUBAI: WhatsApp users are generally undecided whether to continue using the app or consider switching to other available options, an Arab News poll showed.

The Facebook-owned messaging service has issued a new privacy policy, which some reports claimed would share users’ data without giving them a choice, something that 29.7 percent of the poll respondents said they would accept.

Meanwhile, about 38.8 percent of those who answered the poll said they would decline the new privacy policy and switch to other apps while 31.5 percent were undecided on what to do with the WhatsApp app installed in their phones.

Alternative messaging services such as Signal and Telegram meanwhile benefited from the negative press that WhatsApp received, both receiving subscriber boost in just a few days.

Signal in particular added a whopping 4.6 million new users right after receiving an endorsement from technology mogul Elon Musk.

Unlike WhatsApp, which shares user data with Facebook, Signal has a history of fighting any entity that asks for private data and adds features to further anonymize users where possible.

Telegram, which is currently No. 2 behind Signal on the App Store, saw more than 25 million new users sign up in just the last few days.

The mistrust over WhatsApp’s updated privacy policy may also affect its ambitions in India, its biggest market, where 400 million users exchange more messages on the platform.

The backlash forced it to undertake advertising blitz costing tens of millions of rupees in at least 10 English and Hindi newspapers.