Friday, July 10, 2015

In Memoriam

I could not begin the Thoughts For The Weekend post without saying a few words about Omar Sharif, the Franco-Egyptian actor who took his final bow on July 10th 2015, to join his colleagues in Thespian Heaven.   In fact, he may take up the entire post.  It's my personal tribute to an actor I've admired since my childhood days.

From the quintessential, drool worthy Arab, the charming Mr. Arnstein in Funny Girl, to the broody and conflicted Dr. Zhivago, Mr. Sharif broke the mold and left a wonderful acting legacy behind.  I say he broke the mold, because from the moment he appeared in Lawrence of Arabia, this dark, handsome, masculine pheromones-oozing actor made just about every female in the cinema room swoon -- yes, there are a lot of repeated o's but it's no accident, he deserves them all.  And the minute he spoke, with that soft, caressing accent of his, we were all goners.

I hope I don't sound like women from the silent cinema era who used to fawn over Valentino and his legendary role "The Sheik". But with all due respect to his fans and Mr. Valentino, Mr. Sharif shattered that image to tiny ribbons.  I'll challenge the ladies in the room who are too young to remember Lawrence of Arabia to rent the DVD, if you can find it, then check out YouTube for a snipet of The Sheik by Valentino.  Hmm...right.  Now you understand.  

Perhaps we can attribute the charm -- which he had in spades -- to his mixed heritage.  Does it really matter?  Not to this girl, when I saw him last in Hidalgo, I would have gladly shared his tent.  And that is a lot to say, especially when Viggo Mortensen had the leading role.

I don't have images of Omar Sharif to illustrate my point without breaking  any copyright rules.  In this link to The Telegraph, you will find some wonderful photographs.  However, I did find a few quotes indicative of the man.  Here he is, Omar Sharif:

On his prowess as a lover.
"See these hands?  They are old. But they are soft. Only good for caressing."

On Sex.
"Making Love? It's a communion with a woman.  The bed is our holy table.  There I find passion and purification."

On being cast by David Lean in Lawrence of Arabia.
"They chose me for Lawrence of Arabia because I spoke English, had black hair, black eyes, and a mustache.  It was all luck.
"I was taken in a plane to the desert to meet David, and as we came in to land we could see him sitting all by himself.  We landed right next to him, but he didn't move one step.  When I got off the place, he didn't say 'hello'.  He simply walked round me to see my profile.  Finally, he said 'That's very good, Omar. Let's go to the make-up tent.' I tried on a mustache, and it was decided I would grow one.  I've shaved it off for a couple of films, but otherwise I've had it ever since."

On women.
"I can't say I gave up totally my passion for women, but almost."

One more.
"I don't know what sex appeal is.  I don't think you can have sex appeal knowingly.  The people who seduce me personally are the people who seem not to know they're seductive, and not to know they have sex appeal."

It strikes me that the last quote could personify him to the hilt.  Did he truly understand his charisma? That is an interesting question and one I'll never have the opportunity to ask.

Adieu, Mr. Sharif.  Rest In Peace.

No comments:

Post a Comment