herald

Sunday 4 December 2016

'I loved him beyond comprehension', says Omar's last director Jim

Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia
Omar Sharif in Lawrence of Arabia
Omar Sharif and Peter O'Toole in 1991

Director Jim Sheridan has led the Irish tributes to his great friend Omar Sharif who he said "may have been one of the greatest actors ever."

The Doctor Zhivago star had joined Mr Sheridan on the set of his movie The Secret Scripture for filming just last March.

"I think it's the last performance he did. He was a warrior, he came all the way from the Black Sea on an Easy Jet with kids with buckets and spades just to get here. He had to go through Paris and London and get a visa," Mr Sheridan recalled.

"I loved him beyond comprehension," the director said in a moving tribute about the Egyptian actor.

He said that Mr Sharifw as so sweet to go out with, and especially enjoyed going to his favourite restaurant in Paris, beside the Arc de Triomphe. He lived in a hotel in the French capital.

Mr Sharif also launched the first ever Dublin Arabic Film Festival last year, which Mr Sheridan had helped organise.

Following the death of his friend yesterday, Mr Sheridan told the Herald that he now plans to organise something to honour his friend at the festival this year, when it takes place in October.

"He was of the best bridge players in the world," he also pointed out.

"I had great fun with him," he recalled. He said that it was in Mr Sharif's nature to be "sweet and kind."

"I adored him. He was the most convivial actor that ever lived," he said.

Mr Sheridan added that Mr Sharif had loved the director David Lean - Mr Sharif was Oscar-nominated for his role in Lean's Lawrence of Arabia and went on to win a Golden Globe for his performance

The death of the actor also led to an outpouring of tributes from Hollywood stars.

Actor and director Antonio Banderas was one of the many who paid their respects. "My great friend Omar Sharif has passed away. I will always miss him. He was one of the best," he said.

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