The actor is best known for his films Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago
“Lawrence of Arabia” and “Doctor Zhivago” star Omar Sharif is struggling with Alzheimer’s disease, the news has been confirmed by his agent on Tuesday.
“He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s a while ago,” Sharif’s agent Steve Kenis told media. “It is a serious disease and he hadn’t been able to take any work for many months.”
The agent further reported that Sharif has been looked after by his relatives in Egypt.
The news of Omar Sharif’s Alzheimer’s broke earlier this week when his son Tarek El-Sharif gave an interview to a Spanish newspaper “El Mundo” and revealed that his father has Alzheimer’s disease and he tends to forget a lot of things.
“It is difficult to determine what stage it’s at,” his son told the newspaper. “It’s obvious he’ll never improve and it will get worse.”
Tarek also admitted that his father still remembers he is an actor but due to memory loss he confuses the details associated with the films.
“He still knows he’s a famous actor. The loss of memory affects above all specific things, details like when he was in a specific place or who he acted with in a specific film. He remembers for example that it was Doctor Zhivago but he’s forgotten when it was filmed. He can talk about the film but he forgets its name or calls it something else instead like “Lawrence of Arabia.” Sharif’s son explained.
“He knows who he is but not necessarily the reason people greet him. When someone seems him in the street and approaches him, he often thinks it’s someone he used to know whose name and face he’s forgotten when most of the time it’s just a fan.”
The 83-year old Omar Sharif is an acclaimed Egyptian actor who rose to international fame in 1962 with “Lawrence of Arabia” starring Peter O’Toole. He received an Oscar nomination for the Best Supporting actor and won two Golden Globe Awards for his role in the film. Sharif went on to appear in many international films including Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Funny Girl (1968) opposite to Barbra Streisand. His last film was French Moroccan drama film “Rock the Casbah” released in 2013.
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The actor fluently speaks many languages including Spanish, Italian, Greek and French. He was also among the top-ranked bridge players and wrote several books about the game before quitting it in later years, according to Reuters.