LONDON • Egyptian-born actor Omar Sharif, the star of hit movie Doctor Zhivago, died yesterday in Cairo at 83, his London-based agent said.
"He died this afternoon of a heart attack in Cairo," Mr Steve Kenis told Agence France-Presse, adding that the actor had been in a hospital for patients with Alzheimer's disease.
Known for his charisma, good looks and bridge-playing skill, Sharif was last reported to be living at his home in Egypt, according to the Los Angeles Times.
Born in 1932 to a lumber merchant in Egypt's second-largest city, Alexandria, Sharif was nominated for an Academy Award in 1963 for his role as Sherif Ali in Lawrence Of Arabia.
The actor - who was fluent in English, Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Greek and French - won Golden Globes as well for Lawrence Of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago.
Raised as a Roman Catholic who later converted to Islam, he started acting in the 1950s.
His most high-profile roles were in the 1960s - he starred in Funny Girl opposite Barbra Streisand in 1968.
He continued to work over the following decades, often in TV movies, while also becoming one of the world's best-known contract bridge players.
He co-wrote a syndicated bridge newspaper column in the 1970s and 1980s. He also authored several books and licensed his name to a bridge computer game.
He made something of a comeback in 2003, in the title role of the French film Monsieur Ibrahim, playing an elderly Muslim shopkeeper. The performance won him a best actor award at the Venice Film Festival and a best actor Cesar, France's equivalent of an Oscar.
He underwent triple bypass surgery in 1992 and suffered a mild heart attack in 1994, according to the IMDb movie database website. He smoked 100 cigarettes a day, but quit after the operation.
In January this year, his actress ex-wife, Faten Hamama, died at 83. Her acting career spanned seven decades and almost 100 films alongside the masters of Egypt's film industry.