Was Omar Sharif a Bricklayer?

Omar Sharif, widely known for his remarkable career in film, was not just an extraordinary actor, but his journey to stardom encompassed an unexpected detour from his initial trade as a bricklayer. Born Michel Demitri Chalhoub in Alexandria, Egypt, in 1932, Sharif initially followed in his father's footsteps, pursuing a career in engineering. However, as fate would have it, his undeniable charm and stunning good looks paved the way for an unpredictable shift that would eventually see him rise to become one of the most iconic and beloved actors of his time. Sharif's transition from the construction site to the silver screen was not only a testament to his versatility but also a testament to the transformative power of passion and talent. Embodying elegance, charisma, and a magnetic presence, Omar Sharif etched his name into cinematic history, leaving an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of audiences around the world.

What Was Omar Sharif’s Real Name?

Born Michel Dimitri Chalhoub, Omar Sharif was an Egyptian actor of remarkable talent and charisma. Throughout his illustrious career, he crafted a legacy that transcended boundaries and captivated audiences worldwide. With his magnetic presence and unforgettable performances, Sharif established himself as one of the most iconic actors of his time.

Starting his acting journey in Egypt during the 1950s, Sharif quickly garnered attention for his impressive skills and striking good looks. His breakthrough role came in the 1962 film “Lawrence of Arabia,” where he played the complex character of Sherif Ali alongside Peter OToole. Sharifs performance in the epic garnered critical acclaim and launched him into international stardom.

Beyond his acting prowess, Sharif was also an accomplished bridge player, and his passion for the game led him to become a published author on the subject. Throughout his life, he remained dedicated to his craft and his Egyptian roots, often using his platform to raise awareness about issues in his home country.

Sadly, Omar Sharif passed away in 2015, leaving behind a rich cinematic legacy that continues to inspire new generations of actors and film enthusiasts. His unique blend of talent, elegance, and sophistication will forever be remembered, ensuring that his real name, Michel Dimitri Chalhoub, will forever be associated with a true legend of the silver screen.

Tarek Sharif, the father of Omar Sharif, isn’t related to the renowned Egyptian actor of the same name. Born to a Jewish Canadian mother and an Egyptian father, Tarek shares his ancestry with his son, but their relation to the famous Omar Sharif stops there. While the elder Sharif’s family background pulls from the rich Egyptian film industry, his maternal grandparents’ experiences as Jewish Holocaust survivors add another layer to their heritage.

Is Tarek Sharif Related to Omar Sharif?

Tarek Sharif, the renowned filmmaker, is indeed related to the iconic actor Omar Sharif. Born to a culturally diverse family, Tareks father, Tarek Sharif, is of Egyptian descent, while his mother, Debbie, hails from a Jewish Canadian background. This unique blend of heritage and upbringing has shaped Tarek into the talented individual he’s today.

Growing up, Tarek Sharif had the privilege of being surrounded by an illustrious lineage of actors. His paternal grandparents were none other than Omar Sharif and Faten Hamama, both lauded figures in the Egyptian film industry. Their contributions to cinema left an indelible mark, and their talents have been passed down through the generations.

On his maternal side, Tareks grandparents are Jewish Holocaust survivors, further adding to the richness of his background. This heritage not only brings tales of resilience but also highlights the importance of preserving history and cultural identity.

Tarek Sharifs own journey in the world of film has been a testament to his familys legacy. Utilizing his inherited talents and unique perspective, he’s made a name for himself through his remarkable filmmaking skills. Tareks works are often hailed for their ability to conflate cultures seamlessly and portray stories that resonate with viewers on a universal level.

Despite his fame and the wealth that came with it, Omar Sharif’s life and career were marred by his deep-rooted passion for gambling. This shared trait with his Funny Girl character, Nick Arnstein, went beyond the silver screen. As a world-class Bridge player, Sharif was willing to postpone film shoots to participate in major bridge events, highlighting his great dedication to the game.

Was Omar Sharif a Gambler?

Omar Sharif, an iconic actor known for his mesmerizing performances on screen, had a secret passion that often overshadowed his fame and fortune. Behind the glitz and glamour, Sharif found solace in the world of gambling, an obsession that mirrored his character, Nick Arnstein, in the renowned film Funny Girl. However, Sharifs gambling ventures weren’t limited to the silver screen alone.

A remarkable bridge player, Sharif had a penchant for the game that knew no bounds. He submerged himself in the competitive realm of bridge, often postponing film shoots to participate in major bridge events across the globe. His dedication to the game was such that it took precedence even over his illustrious acting career at times. With every card played and every victory achieved, Sharifs love for bridge grew ever stronger.

Despite his success as a gambler, Sharifs life and career were marred by the consequences of his gambling addiction. He was not impervious to the dark side of this alluring world. The allure of the casino and the thrill of the bet often proved to be a double-edged sword for the talented actor. The highs of success were tempered by bitter defeats and the toll it took on his personal life.

While the world may remember Omar Sharif for his incredible talent as an actor, those close to him knew that behind the scenes, he was also a formidable gambler. Sharifs ability to captivate audiences on screen was matched by his ability to strategize and outwit opponents at the bridge table. His love for the game may have been his downfall, but it was also an integral part of his complex and intriguing story, forever entwined with his legacy as a Hollywood legend.

The Legacy of Omar Sharif’s Gambling Passion and It’s Impact on the Entertainment Industry.

  • Omar Sharif’s love for gambling was well-known in the entertainment industry.
  • His passion for gambling had a significant impact on the casino culture.
  • Sharif’s involvement in the gambling industry brought it into the mainstream.
  • He became a prominent figure in the world of high-stakes gambling.
  • His success as a professional gambler added to his reputation in the entertainment world.
  • Sharif’s gambling prowess was often featured in the media.
  • His presence at casinos attracted attention and brought more people to these establishments.
  • His love for gambling inspired the creation of casino-themed movies, further glamorizing the industry.
  • Sharif’s legacy as a passionate gambler is still felt in the entertainment industry today.

After converting to Islam in the 1950s, Omar Sharif decided to change his name to reflect his new religious identity. He adopted the surname Sharif, which means “noble” or “nobleman” in Arabic. Born to a precious-woods merchant father and a mother from Zahle, Omar Sharif’s decision to change his name was likely a personal and cultural expression of his faith and heritage.

Why Did Omar Sharif Change His Name?

Omar Sharif, the renowned actor and cultural icon, made a significant decision to change his name for personal and religious reasons. Born as Michel Dimitri Chalhoub on April 10, 1932, in Alexandria, Egypt, he belonged to a family of Lebanese descent. However, when he embraced Islam in the 1950s, he decided to adopt the surname Sharif, meaning “noble” or “nobleman” in Arabic.

The conversion to Islam played a pivotal role in Sharifs life, leading him to change his name as a reflection of his newfound faith. It signified a deep personal commitment and dedication to his religious beliefs. By embracing Islam, Sharif became part of a rich cultural heritage, which he took immense pride in throughout his life.

Sharifs family background also contributed to his decision to change his name. His father, Yusef Chalhoub, was a successful precious-woods merchant. Originating from the town of Zahle, Lebanon, the family relocated to Alexandria, one of Egypts major port cities, during the early 20th century. This move undoubtedly exposed Sharif to a diverse array of cultures, languages, and religions.

Throughout his career, Omar Sharif consistently demonstrated his talent, versatility, and charisma as an actor. Whether he was playing the iconic role of Dr. Zhivago or captivating audiences in Lawrence of Arabia, his performances left an indelible mark on the global film industry.

The Impact of Omar Sharif’s Conversion to Islam on His Career in the Film Industry

  • Increased roles in films with Islamic themes
  • Expanded audience reach in Muslim-majority countries
  • Potential decrease in opportunities in Western films
  • Challenged traditional stereotypes about Islam
  • Possible positive influence on his personal brand
  • Potential backlash or loss of fan base
  • Opportunities to work with filmmakers from Muslim backgrounds
  • Exploration of new themes and narratives in his filmography
  • Professional connections with Islamic organizations
  • Influence on his choice of film projects

As his career progressed, Omar Sharif’s increasing involvement in the casino scene and his dedication to his stud farm in Normandy raised questions about a potential gambling problem. It became evident that Sharif would often prioritize gambling over his acting career, only returning to it when faced with financial challenges. He openly acknowledged his struggle, attributing it to feelings of loneliness and boredom.

Did Omar Sharif Have a Gambling Problem?

Omar Sharif, the beloved Egyptian actor, is known for his charismatic presence on the silver screen. However, behind the scenes, there were whispers of a possible gambling problem that plagued his life. As he spent increasing amounts of time in the enticing realm of casinos or on his sprawling stud farm in Normandy, it became evident that Sharifs devotion to the card games went beyond mere entertainment.

Sharifs propensity for gambling spiraled to the point where he’d sporadically return to acting solely to replenish his finances swiftly. His frequent hiatuses from the film industry were attributed to his addiction, which he openly admitted was fueled by feelings of loneliness and boredom. The allure of the casino provided an escape, albeit temporary, from these emotions.

Despite his battles with gambling, it’s important to acknowledge that Sharif possessed an undeniable talent that mesmerized audiences around the world. The aura he exuded on screen and his magnetic performances will forever remain etched in cinematic history. However, it’s difficult to disregard the toll his addiction took on both his personal and professional life.

Ultimately, Omar Sharifs struggles with gambling addiction serve as a reminder that even those we admire in the limelight may face their own demons behind closed doors. While it’s heartbreaking to witness the downfall of a true talent, it’s important to recognize the complexities that lay beneath the surface. Sharifs story serves as a cautionary tale, urging us to confront and address addiction with empathy and understanding.


In conclusion, the story surrounding Omar Sharif's past as a bricklayer serves as a reminder of the transformative power of determination and talent. It underscores the notion that one's background doesn’t dictate their future success. Sharif's transition from a bricklayer to an internationally renowned actor exemplifies the potential for individuals to break free from societal expectations and limitations, ultimately achieving greatness in their chosen field. This inspiring tale emphasizes the importance of embracing opportunities, pursuing passions, and never underestimating one's own abilities. Sharif's journey serves as a testament to the transformative effects of hard work, dedication, and the pursuit of personal dreams, showing us that anyone can overcome the odds and leave an indelible mark on the world.

Scroll to Top