Jul 13, 2015

Omar Sharif and His Grandson

When I was a kid in the 1960s, our newspaper, The Rock Island Argus, had several interesting columns: Dear Abby, a criptoquip, and "Omar Sharif on Bridge."

Nazarenes weren't allowed to play cards, so I was only barely aware of what bridge was.  Still, it seemed exciting that a famous actor would stoop to writing about something so mundane as a card game.

Born in 1932 in Egypt, Sharif got his degree in physics before becoming an actor.  He starred in many Arabic movies before hitting Hollywood with a starring role in Lawrence of Arabia in 1962.  A rarity in its day (and even now), the movie fails to heterosexualize the gay T.E. Lawrence, and even gives him a gay-subtext relationship with Arab leader Sherif Ali (Sharif).



Next came starring roles in the big-budget epics Doctor Zhivago (1965) and Genghis Khan (1965), plus dramas, Westerns, and musicals.  He played revolutionary leader Che Guevara (Che!) and the mysterious Captain Nemo (The Mysterious Island).

This nude scene is from the Western MacKenna's Gold (1969). He plays an effervescent but amoral Mexican outlaw named John Colorado, who doesn't display any interest in women.







He became best friends with French actor Jean-Paul Belmondo after they starred together in Le Casse (The Burglars, 1971), as a jewel thief and the corrupt cop who wants his share of the loot.

By the way, bridge was not only a hobby for Sharif, it was a second career.










I don't know if the 81-year old actor is gay-positive or not, but his grandson, Omar Sharif Jr. is gay.  Also an actor, he left Egypt in 2012 after the restriction of human rights, and came out in an article in The Advocate.