Saturday, July 11, 2015


Omar Sharif, I mean. What a name. You couldn’t pick a better name for a dashing Arabic actor, could you? Definitely better than Michel Demitri Shalhoub, the name he got when he was born 83 years ago. Which isn’t a bad name, but it’s not like Omar Sharif.

I mean, it really rolls off the tongue. O-mar sha-REEF. A dactyl followed by a long syllable. Like Morse code for A-N. Di-dah dah-dit.

He was a great actor. Think of the films he was in. Doctor Zhivago. Lawrence of Arabia. Remember that entrance? Click the link…

He was in Funny Girl with Barbra Streisand, and caused an international stir. After all, he was Egyptian, she was Jewish, and there was the small matter of the Arab-Israeli War going on at the time. The Egyptians wanted to revoke his citizenship. “You think Cairo was upset? You shoulda seen the letter I got from Aunt Rose,” Streisand is said to have joked when she heard about it.

Omar had a way with the ladies. A real “love ’em and leave ’em” type of guy. Not an especially good thing about him. He also had a way with a bridge deck: he was one of the top bridge players in the world, something he used to do to kill time on the set. He had a byline on Charles Goren’s bridge column for years. Goren was Mr. Bridge himself, so Sharif must have been good.I guess he played havoc with shooting schedules, because he would take time away from the set to go play in bridge tournaments. Someone asked him if he regretted spending so much time playing bridge when he could have been making movies. Sharif said he regretted spending so much time making movies when he could have been playing bridge.

Omar’s family reported back in May that he was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and he died of a heart attack yesterday. My condolences to his family, to his fans, and to bridge players everywhere.


And that, my friends, is another entry for Stream of Consciousness Saturday, hosted as always by Linda Hill over at her blog. Follow this link for the rules and for a list of pingbacks in the comments from other participants.

from The Sound of One Hand Typing

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