Omar Sharif (Arabic: عمر الشريف; born April 10, 1932) is an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning Egyptian actor who has starred in many Hollywood films. He has acted in Egyptian, French, and English language feature films. Sharif is most famous for his roles in Doctor Zhivago, Funny Girl and Lawrence of Arabia.
Sharif was born Michel Demitri Chalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt, the son of Claire (née Saada) and Joseph Chalhoub. His parents were Lebanese-Syrian Christians. Sharif graduated from Alexandria's Victoria College, then from Cairo University with a degree in mathematics and physics. Afterwards, he worked with his father in the lumber business.
In 1953, Sharif began his acting career with a role in the Egyptian film, Sira` Fi al-Wadi, (Struggle in the Valley). Numerous Egyptian productions followed. He starred with his ex-wife, Egyptian actress Faten Hamama, in several movies as romantic leads. Others include Ayyamna el helwa (Our Best Days, 1955), La anam (I Don't Sleep, 1958), Sayedat el kasr (Lady of the Castle, 1959) and Nahr el hub (The River of Love 1961).
Sharif's first English language film was Lawrence of Arabia in 1962 where he played the role of Sherif Ali. This performance earned him a Best Supporting Actor Oscar nomination, a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture, Most Promising Newcomer award and worldwide fame as the world's leading Arabic actor. Sharif also played the title role in the 1965 film Doctor Zhivago by David Lean.
In November 2005, he was honored with a medal by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in recognition of his significant contributions to world film and cultural diversity.