MCM: Omar Sharif


During Snark Week, a reader pointed out a resemblance between young Omar Sharif and Orlando Bloom, and I’ve been thinking about that ever since. Sharif was quite the romantic leading man of his time and that included a few historical flicks. While born in Egypt of Lebanese and Syrian heritage, his swarthy good looks and ability to speak Arabic, French, Greek, Italian, Spanish, and English had him playing random ethnic characters in Hollywood after his breakthrough English-speaking role in Lawrence of Arabia. His other landmark role in Doctor Zhivago kept him playing Russians in films, but towards the end of his life, he was finally able to play a few Middle-Eastern characters.


Sherif Ali in Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Omar Sharif, Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Sharif was nominated for an Oscar & Golden Globe award for this role.


Sohamus in The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

Omar Sharif, The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)


Genghis Khan in Genghis Khan (1965)

Omar Sharif, Genghis Khan (1965)

His first leading role. Yeah, he’s not Asian or Mongolian, but I guess it’s better than a white guy playing the part?


Yuri in Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Omar Sharif, Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Yes, I heavily critiqued the 1960s costumes in this flick, but I have to admit, Omar Sharif is pretty suave looking throughout.


Prince Rodrigo Fernandez in More Than a Miracle aka C’era una volta (1967)

Snark Week - More Than a Miracle (1967)

This is the meme that inspired the Orlando Bloom comparison. You can see it, right?

Orlando Bloom - Pirates of the Caribbean, Carnival Row

Here’s Orlando Bloom in The Pirates of the Caribbean & then Carnival Row. Yeah, I see it!


Nick Arnstein in Funny Girl (1968)

Omar Sharif, Funny Girl (1968)

Sharif & Barbara Streisand had an affair during the filming, & the Egyptian government nearly revoked Sharif’s passport because Streisand is Jewish.


Archduke Rudolf in Mayerling (1968)

Omar Sharif, Mayerling (1968)

With Catherine Deneuve.


John Colorado in Mackenna’s Gold (1969)

Omar Sharif, Mackenna's Gold (1969)


Che Guevara in Che! (1969)

Omar Sharif, Che! (1969)

Sharif said he regretted how bad this biopic turned out.


Vogel in The Last Valley (1971)

Omar Sharif, The Last Valley (1971)


Nick Arnstein in Funny Lady (1975)

Omar Sharif, Funny Lady (1975)


Koda Dad in The Far Pavilions (1984)

Omar Sharif, The Far Pavilions (1984)

This was the first miniseries produced by HBO & was part of the ’80s British Raj trend on TV & in movies.


Prince Feodor Romodanovsky in Peter the Great (1986)

Omar Sharif, Peter the Great (1986)


Czar Nicholas II in Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)

Omar Sharif, Anastasia: The Mystery of Anna (1986)


Hagop in Mother, aka Mayrig (1991)

Omar Sharif, Mayrig (1991)

Critically acclaimed story of Armenian immigrants to France in the 1920s.


Razumovsky in Catherine the Great (1995)

Omar Sharif, Catherine the Great (1995)


Melchisidek in The 13th Warrior (1999)

Omar Sharif, The 13th Warrior (1999)


Sheikh Riyadh in Hidalgo (2004)

Omar Sharif, Hidalgo (2004)


Hans Canon in The Crown Prince (2006)

2006 The Crown Prince

A different part in the same story as Mayerling.


Principe Nicola in Fire at My Heart, aka Fuoco su di me (2006)

Omar Sharif, Fire at My Heart (2006)

Set during the Napoleonic Wars in Italy.



What’s your favorite of Omar Sharif’s historical costume roles? Do you see the Orlando Bloom resemblance?

16 Responses

  1. Lynne Connolly

    Gosh, I had such a crush on him! You can kind of tell that he cared more about bridge than about acting. He’s been in great movies, and he’s been in really awful ones. But they all pay the rent.

    • Skiippy

      My neighbors in the 80s, a pair of elderly sisters, were locally famous because they once played bridge with him. :)

  2. Nzie

    Ah, Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago are classics.. regardless of the costume issues in the latter. :-) I always like him. There’s a warmth about him. I’d like to see that movie about the Armenian immigrant family–sounds interesting.

  3. Colleen

    Growing up, I’d only seen him in Funny Girl. I’ve since been able to see him in some other films, but Funny Girl definitely tops the list. I’d also like to say that he looks younger with a beard.

  4. Roxana

    Damn he was gorgeous. Aged well too. Lawrence of Arabia is of course chick full of man candy of which Sharif is one of the most delicious. And one could totally understand how a woman night prefer death to losing his Crown Prince Rudolph in Mayerling.

  5. Saraquill

    Of the above movies, I’ve only seen The 13th Warrior. I don’t remember his role at all.

  6. Melanie

    The resemblance to Orlando Bloom is in everything but the eyes. Omar Sharif had such soulful eyes. He will always be Sherif Ali to me. “You are angry, English!”

  7. Frannie Germeshausen

    Sherif Ali for the win every time. Those eyes.

  8. Lily Lotus Rose

    For his classic roles, for me it’s a tie between Funny Girl and Doctor Zhivago. My mom was in love with Omar Sharif. So, those two films were on replay throughout my childhood, though I was too young to follow the plot and I haven’t revisited them in my adulthood. Of his later works, I really liked Hidalgo because it had that old-fashioned adventure-movie type vibe, and Sharif was a darling in it. Regarding the resemblance between him and Orlando Bloom: Yes, I kinda see it. To me, in the picture of Omar and Sophia Loren, I think he looks more like the actor Elyes Gabel (I had to look up his name on IMDB) who had small roles in the first seasons of The Borgias (Prince Djem) and Game of Thrones (Rakharo). Either way, he was a great choice for MCM!!

    • Mary

      In the picture with him and Sophia Loren, I think he also looks like Pablo Pascal as Oberon Martell on Game of Thrones

      • Sam Marchiony

        It’s Pedro Pascal, not Pablo, but YES, he totally does!

      • Roxana

        Sharif and Loren make an eye wateringly beautiful couple.

        • SarahV

          This!^ Sophia Loren was so incandescently beautiful it’s a miracle that she could even be captured on camera.

  9. Roxana

    Sheriff Ali (as played by Omar Sharif) voted sheikh most women would love to carry them off into the desert!

  10. Coco

    He’s great in “Monsieur Ibrahim,” a French film set in the 60s.
    He’s also in the ‘50s set “Mrs ‘Arris Goes to Paris,” in which Angela Lansbury plays a cleaning woman who fights to buy a Dior gown. I remember watching it as a kid, probably because my family loved “Murder, She Wrote,” and I found it on YouTube a couple years ago.