Omar Sharif: An Arab Legend عمر الشريف : أسطورة عربية

Omar Sharif: An Arab Legend: Arts and Cultures

Hasan A. Yahya

One of the leading few legendary actors in Arab cinema, was Omar al-Sharif (born Michael Demitri Shalhoub; April 10, 1932) is an Egyptian actor who has starred in many Hollywood films. He is most famous for his roles in Doctor Zhivago, Funny Girl and Lawrence of Arabia. Sharif has been nominated for an Academy Award and has won a Golden Globe.

In his time, two other famous actors: Rushdie Abazah, and Ahmad Ramzi were rising together as young graduates from Alexandaria school. He was the selected Arab person to join Hollywood. Sharif was fluent in three languages: Arabic, English, and French. And later he has knowledge of some Italian, and Spanish.

As of his  personal life, he  was born Michael Shalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt,  to  Egyptian Catholic parents. In a 4 September 2009 television program on Nile Cinema, Omar specifically denied published claims that his family had originated in Lebanon as often reported, and affirmed that his parents and all his grandparents were born in Egypt. He recalled spending time in his childhood in his maternal grandparents’ home in Tanta, Egypt. He was very attached to his grandmother, ‘Abla Abdallah, who lived for more than 100 years. He graduated from Alexandria’s Victoria College, then from Cairo University with a mathematics and physics major.

Originally a Christian converted to Islam to marry Egyptian actress Faten Hamama who was also an actress,  in 1955. The couple had one son, Tarek El-Sharif, who appeared in Doctor Zhivago as Yuri at the age of eight. They separated in 1966 and the marriage ended in 1974. Sharif never remarried; he stated that since his divorce, he never fell in love with another woman, and that, although he lived abroad for years, it was not possible for him to fall in love with a woman who was not Egyptian. In a 2007 interview, Sharif denied rumors that he had become atheist. He’s remained a firm believer in God and Islam, and had performed a Umrah (pilgrimage to Mecca) three or four years earlier.

Sharif lived in his native Egypt from birth in 1932 till he moved to Europe in 1965. Omar recounts that, in 1932, his father “wasn’t a wealthy man”, but “earned quite a bit of money”. Before the Egyptian Revolution of 1952, King Farouq frequented Omar’s family’s house, and became a friend and card game partner of Omar’s mother. His mother was an elegant and charming host who was all too delighted with the association because it gave her the privilege of “consorting only with the elite” of Egyptian society. Omar also recounts that his father’s timber business sky-rocketed during that time, in ways that Omar himself describes as dishonest or immoral.

By contrast, after 1952, Omar states that wealth changed hands (or names) in Egypt, under Nasir’s  nationalization policies. His father’s business “took a beating”. Travel restrictions in the form of “exit visas” were required of Egyptians, and his own travel to take part in international films was sometimes impeded, which he could not tolerate. The Nasser government’s travel restrictions influenced Omar’s decision to remain in Europe between his film shoots, a decision that cost him his marriage to Egyptian film legend Faten Hamama, though they remained friends. It was a major cross-roads in Omar’s life and changed him from an established family man to a life-long bachelor living in European hotels. When commenting about his fame and life in Hollywood, Sharif said, “It gave me glory, but it gave me loneliness also. And a lot of missing my own land, my own people and my own country.” His Egyptian citizenship was almost withdrawn by Nasir’s  government when Omar’s affair with Barbra Streisand (a loud supporter of Israel) was made public in the Egyptian press.

Sharif became friends with Peter O’Toole during the making of Lawrence of Arabia. They have appeared in several other films together and remain close friends. He is also good friends with Egyptologist Zahi Hawass.

Sharif underwent a triple bypass surgery in 1992, and suffered a mild heart attack in 1994. Sharif had smoked 100 cigarettes a day; after the surgery, he quit easily.

On August 5, 2003, As a normal person act according to circumstances. Had some troubles dealing peacefully with others. For example, he received a one-month suspended prison sentence for striking a police officer in a suburban Parisian casino in July. He was fined $1700 and ordered to pay the officer $340 in damages. (He had insulted and then head-butted the Pontoise policeman, who tried to intervene in an argument between the actor and a roulette croupier. On February 13, 2007 Sharif was “found guilty of assaulting a Beverly Hills parking lot attendant and breaking his nose”.

On the political stand, Omar Sharif said the “East” will never have a democracy because people like him “prefer to go to the neighborhood chief”. In the interview, Sharif reportedly blasted U.S. policy in Iraq and said Americans are ignorant. Sharif also claimed to have spoken with U.S President George W. Bush before the beginning of the Iraq War, telling him that Arabs were not like westerners and that Arab nations were made up of sects resistant to becoming democratized.

Actor and friend Tom Courtenay revealed in an interview for the July 19, 2008 edition of BBC Radio’s Test Match Special that Sharif supported Hull City and in the 1970s would telephone their automated scoreline from his home in Paris for score updates.

As family relations, at present, Omar Sharif resides mostly in Cairo with his family. In addition to his son, he has two grandsons, Omar and Karim. Omar has denied that his older grandson, Omar, is Jewish. The younger Omar is in fact a Muslim. ( 962 words)

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عرب يا رسول الله …. عرب

معظمهم لا يقرأون وأكثرهم لا يفكرون ولا يقدرون

حسبي الله ونعم

About Arab American Encyclopedia-USA - Hasan Yahya

HASAN YAHYA was born at a small village called Majdal-YaFa (Majdal Sadiq) in Mandate Palestine (1944). He migrated as a refugee to Mes-ha, a village east of Kufr Qasim, west of Nablus (in the West Bank), then moved with his family to Zarka, 25 km north of Amman – Jordan. He finished the high school at Zarka Secondary School, 1963. He was appointed as a teacher in the same year. Studied Law first at Damascus University, then B.A from Lebanon University in Arabic literature and Eastern Cultures (1975). He moved to Kuwait. Where he got married in 1967. He was working at Kuwait Television, taught at bilingual School, and Kuwait University. In 1982, Hasan left to the United States to continue his education at Michigan State University. He got the Master Degree in 1983, the Ph.D degree in 1988 in Education (Psychology of Administration ). In 1991, He obtained his post degree in Social research, the result was a second Ph.D degree in Comparative sociology-Social Psychology. He was the only Arab student who enrolled ever to pursue two simultaneous Ph.D programs from Michigan State University and fulfill their requirements perfectly. Professor Yahya employment history began as a supervisor of a joint project to rehabilitate Youth (inmates out of prison) by Michigan State University and Intermediate School Districts. Worked also as a Teacher Assistant and lecturer in the same university. He was offered a position at Lansing Community College as well as Jackson Community College where he was assistant professor, then associate professor, then full professor (1991-2006). He taught Sociology, psychology, education, criminology and research methods. He supervised 19 Master and Ph.D candidates on various personal, economic psychological and social development topics. Professor Yahya published Hundreds (1000 Plus on this site) of articles and research reports in local, regional, and international journals. His interest covers local, regional and global conflicts. He also authored, translated, edited and published over 280 plus books in several languages, in almost all fields especial education, sociology and psychology. These books can be found on Amazon and Kindle. He also, was a visiting professor at Eastern Michigan University to give Research Methods and Conflict Management courses. Prof. Yahya accepted an offer to join Zayed University Faculty Team in 1998, then he served as the Head of Education and Psychology Department at Ajman University of Science and Technology 2001-04. Dr. Yahya established several institutes in Diaspora, the Arab American Encyclopedia, Ihyaa al Turath al Arabi Project, (Revival of Arab Heritage in Diaspora.Recently he was nominated for honorary committee member for the Union of Arab and Muslim Writers in America. He was affiliated with sociological associations and was a member of the Association of Muslim Social Scientists (AMSS) at USA. Social Activities and Community Participation: Dr. Yahya was a national figure on Diversity and Islamic Issues in the United States, with special attention to Race Relations and Psychology of Assimilation (generations 1,2 &3). He was invited as a public speaker to many TV shows and interviews in many countries. His philosophy includes enhancing knowledge to appreciate the others, and to compromise with others in order to live peacefully with others. This philosophy was the backgrounds of his theory, called “ Theory C. of Conflict Management”. And developed later to a Science of Cultural Normalization under the title: “Crescentology. The results of such theory will lead to world peace depends on a global Knowledge, Understanding, appreciation, and Compromising (KUAC)” Recently Prof. Yahya started "Publish your book FREE Project", to serve young Arab Writers. Dr. Yahya accepted the offer to be the chief editor of the International Humanities Studies Journal -I-H-S-Jerusalem, since July 2014. (Revised Sept. 2014) ولد الدكتور حسن عبدالقادر يحيى في مجدل يابا من أعمال يافا – فلسطين عام 1944. تلقى علومه الابتدائية في مدرسة بديا الأميرية في الضفة الغربية أيام احتوائها ضمن المملكة الأدردنية الهاشمية وتخرج في جامعة بيروت حاملاً الإجازة في اللغة العربية وآدابها، ودبلوم التأهيل التربوي من كلية القديس يوسف بلبنان، ودبلوم الدراسات العليا (الماجستير) ودكتوراة في الإدارة التربوية من جامعة ولاية ميشيغان بالولايات المتحدة عام 1988، وشهادة الدكتوراه في علم الاجتماع المقارن من الجامعة نفسها عام 1991. عمل في التدريس والصحافة الأدبية. أديب وشاعر وقاص ، ,كما عمل في تلفزيون الكويت الرسمي كمعد ومنسق برامج ثم اتجه إلى الكتابة والتأليف في علوم كثيرة تخص علمي النفس والاجتماع والتنمية البشرية ، والتغير الاجتماعي والسكان وألف ونشر العديد من المقالات (1000 +) والكتب باللغتين العربية والإنجليزية (أكثر من 330 كتابا) ، منها ست مجموعات قصصية وست كتب للأطفال ، وأربع دواوين شعرية باللغتين أيضا. وعدد من كتب التراث في الشعر والأدب والأخلاق الإسلامية والتربية والأديان . وهو الآن أستاذ متقاعد في جامعة ولاية ميشيغان. . وكان عضوا سابقا في جمعية العلماء المسلمين في أمريكا . وجمعية علماء الاجتماع الأمريكية - ميشيغان، وهو مؤسس الموسوعة العربية الأمريكية في الولايات المتحدة ضمن مشروع إحياء التراث العربي في بلاد المهجرز كما تم ترشيحه مؤخرا ليكون عضو مجلس التحرير لمجلة الدراسات الإنسانية العالمية. وقد قبل أن يتسلم رئاسة تحريرها اعتبارا من نهاية يونيو 2014 His email: Thank you!
This entry was posted in Arab Affairs, Arab American Encyclopedia, Articles, Hasan Yahya حسن يحيى, Ibn Khaldun ابن خلدون،, Middle East Politics, Sociology. Bookmark the permalink.

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