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11 July 2015 / leggypeggy

Omar Sharif—Rest in peace

Omar Sharif

A little diversion tonight to pay my respects to Omar Sharif who died earlier today at the age of 83. He was a handsome man, remarkable actor, excellent bridge player and an Egyptian.

I was privileged to have met him when I lived in Cairo in the 1970s. My dear friend, Vassily, knew him well. In fact, Vassily’s brother was Sharif’s main bridge partner whenever he, Sharif, was in Egypt.

The first time I met Sharif was in the Sheraton Hotel in Cairo. I met him a couple more times, but the first meeting remains in my memory. That was almost 40 years ago, and he was as handsome and charming as he looked in all his movies.

But I have a funny story to tell in relation to this meeting.

When I won my scholarship to go to Egypt, I was dating a very handsome Palestinian. We dated for many years, but the relationship was going nowhere. His mum didn’t want him to marry a foreigner.

How it all turned out is another long and funny story for another time.

But we’re talking about me meeting Omar Sharif and a comment from way back then.

That Palestinian boyfriend was rather annoyed that I was going off to Egypt on a scholarship.

Why are you going? he asked. If you’re hoping to meet an Omar Sharif, you need to know that guys with those looks are a dime a dozen in Egypt.

He was wrong. There aren’t that many. Sharif, you will be missed. Glad I met you.

And later I married an Australian I met in Cairo.


Leave a Comment
  1. Mike / Jul 12 2015 12:25 am

    Wow, that would have been quite a rush to meet him not once but several times! As a bridge player I always read his column. I would have surely died if I was his partner at a card table!! 🙂 Need more info on the old boyfriend, please? I do recall you talking about a Palestinian long ago. Great post to a great man! Thanks for sharing, Peggy!


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2015 9:41 am

      Have to say I was gobsmacked to meet Sharif. What an honour. Ah, the old boyfriend. Some good stories there. All in good time.


  2. Laurie / Jul 12 2015 2:34 am

    Love this! Thank you for sharing.


  3. Sy S. / Jul 12 2015 6:15 am

    Interesting story about you meeting Omar Sharif, living in Cairo. And what’s this about you dating a Palestinian… ! Like Mike asked, what’s the story on this… and then moving on to meet Poor John.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2015 9:42 am

      I met Poor John in Cairo before I met Sharif, so I guess he was always a frontrunner. 🙂


  4. Dorothy / Jul 12 2015 9:14 am

    Lucky you, I always thought Omar was dishy.



  5. suchled / Jul 12 2015 9:24 am

    May I have permission to put “later I married an Australian ..” in the top ten of my favourite throw away lines? PS and he was also a champion Backgammon player.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2015 9:39 am

      Champion Backgammon player? Are you talking about Sharif or Poor John? It applies to both. Maybe I should have said ‘later I married a champion backgammon player’.


      • suchled / Jul 12 2015 9:49 am

        I might have put that on the list too.


  6. weezaj / Jul 12 2015 10:09 am

    Great post Peggy – fun thread too : )


  7. Joanne T Ferguson / Jul 12 2015 1:07 pm

    What a great post on a truly remarkable man who also changed my life! 🙂


  8. simpletravelourway / Jul 12 2015 1:24 pm

    So enjoyed your post!


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2015 2:32 pm

      Thanks. I figured it was probably the only time I’d ever have a reason to tell the story.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. tailorsmeasure / Jul 12 2015 6:36 pm

    Why, you’re almost famous! What an exotic past.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2015 8:53 pm

      Don’t feel very famous, but loved the chance to meet someone famous.


  10. Shiva Acharya / Jul 12 2015 9:19 pm

    Omar Sharif will be missed, immensely. I was watching Lawrence of Arabia recently and was thinking how it would be practically impossible for anyone to make a movie of that caliber. Omar will be always remembered through his movies.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 12 2015 9:30 pm

      His movies are a tribute to his life. He’ll live forever through them.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. chattykerry / Jul 13 2015 12:49 am

    Having also lived in Cairo, I can concur that very few Egyptians are that good-looking! You could tell from his acting that he was just as charming in real life, The only one I knew was our adorable gardener who married a truly beautiful Bedouin girl. He was always worried that I was ruining his reputation because we were alone in the villa so often. 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Jul 13 2015 10:40 pm

      Ah yes, in Egypt so much importance is placed on appearances. What years were you there?


      • chattykerry / Jul 14 2015 9:46 am

        We were there during the 2nd Gulf War – 2002 to 2004 but had also visited in the 1980s. It was a very interesting/stressful time and I am attempting to do the final edit on my memoir on Cairo but I have been doing that for 10 years…


      • leggypeggy / Jul 14 2015 12:40 pm

        Would have been fascinating and exciting times.
        Oh those pesky memoirs. Mine won’t be done until I’ve lost my memory. 🙂


  12. bmpermie / Jul 13 2015 8:50 pm

    Such a thrill to follow a blog of someone who actually met Omar Sherif. How did you keep your ‘cool’? Love the post.
    Clearly there is an interesting story re the Palestinian boyfriend. I will stay tuned.


    • leggypeggy / Jul 13 2015 10:42 pm

      I have to say I was gobsmacked. Vassily said ‘I want you to meet my brother.’ We walked across the Sheraton foyer and there were the two men. Vassily introduced his brother, and his brother casually introduced his bridge partner, Omar Sharif. Swoon.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Zambian Lady / Jul 14 2015 5:33 am

    I must say I had never heard of Omar Sharif until after his passing. I am not a movie fan, so may I be forgiven.? That being said, I googled his photos and he was quite a handsome man. You are lucky you got to meet him (as he was both handsome and apparently very talented 🙂


    • leggypeggy / Jul 14 2015 7:47 am

      Even though he was handsome, famous and talented, I think it’s really refreshing that you didn’t know who Omar Sharif was. I’ve always thought that might have been why Vassily’s brother introduced him so casually—thinking perhaps someone coming from outside Egypt wouldn’t know who he was either.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. chandleur1 / Jul 18 2015 10:29 am

    Dear Leggypeggy, Please allow me to have the honor of nominating you for The Sunshine Award!


    • leggypeggy / Jul 18 2015 5:09 pm

      Hi Chandleur—what a lovely gesture and I am truly honoured. Unfortunately because we travel so much and often so remotely, I’ve had to keep my blog award-free. Sometimes I don’t even have enough electricity to keep my computer charged, let alone a decent enough internet connection to be able to post. So thanks for thinking of me and please understand my need to graciously decline.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. blondieaka / Jul 18 2015 4:53 pm

    Wow..Lucky You.. always had a soft spot for Omar such a handsome man 🙂 Thank you for sharing your memories..


  16. annabelletroy / Jul 20 2015 12:28 am

    no, there are not a lot of men out there who look like Omar–even in Egypt!


  17. Mithai Mumblezz / Jul 21 2015 10:11 pm

    This was so interesting to read 🙂 Thank you for sharing 🙂


  18. / Jul 22 2015 7:34 am

    I loved Omar Shariff…but from a far distance. How fortunate you were to meet him in person! I went to the cinema 12X to see “Dr. Zhivago”—always with a different friend…I could not get enough of the movie! The Russian scenery was so breath-taking! Thank you for sharing your anecdote!


    • leggypeggy / Jul 22 2015 10:08 am

      You are most welcome. I love Dr Zhivago too and remember seeing it on the big screen. The scenery is truly breathtaking. Sharif is pretty dishy too. 🙂


  19. carlygolightly / Jul 27 2015 10:40 am

    Wow what a wonderful memory for you.


  20. Janice Wald / Jul 29 2015 7:59 pm

    I didn’t know Omar Sharif died. Thanks for sharing this. I saw him in Funny Girl which I have watched incessently since I love musicals.
    Thanks for following my blog Reflections (soon to be


  21. Elena / Jul 30 2015 5:33 am

    Fascinating story! Thanks for sharing!


  22. amaya911 / Jul 31 2015 3:21 am

    Congrats! I’m not sure if you accept awards but here is one for you.


    • leggypeggy / Aug 3 2015 8:58 pm

      How nice of you to think of me. Most appreciated. Unfortunately because we travel so much and often so remotely, I’ve had to keep my blog award-free. Sometimes I don’t even have enough electricity to keep my computer charged, let alone a decent enough internet connection to be able to post. 🙂 So thanks again for thinking of me and please understand my need to graciously decline.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Osyth / Apr 5 2020 2:01 am

    Peggy, what a wonderful tribute. I, too, knew Omar. I worked for his agent in the 1980s. His name is Steve Kenis and he mentored me to become an agent in my own right. Omar graced me with allowing me to represent him on several projects. I was a wet behind the ears 20 something – it was a leap of faith even though he knew Kenis was always in the background. Men like him are not a dime a dozen, they are rare. He was beautiful, elegant, exquisitely mannered and with a bare-faced cheek that made me blush and roar with laughter all at once. I loved your recollections – we are both fortunate women. My father, incidentally spent his first eight years in Egypt.

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Apr 5 2020 12:56 pm

      Oh wow, Osyth, love that we have this amazing man in common. And yes, he was cheeky. I forgot to mention that. Thanks so much for sharing your memories.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Osyth / Apr 5 2020 8:14 pm

        Thank YOU for bringing them streaming to the front of my mind. Such memories give particular delight at this moment.

        Liked by 1 person

      • leggypeggy / Apr 5 2020 8:57 pm

        Amazing how a simple thing, a simple exchange, can bring back a flood of memories. I’m savouring a trip through Cairo tonight.


  24. Brian Lageose / Apr 5 2020 4:15 pm

    Oh my, you have revealed many layers of your onion with this piece. I’m still processing all the intel. In a good way… 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  25. etravelersclub / Dec 11 2022 9:25 pm

    One of the best experiences in travel is meeting people – and you seem a Peoples’ Person 🙂 About Omar Sharif: hmmm only is serious roles – not a versatile actor like Tom Hanks, Jack Nicholson type. Bliss..

    Liked by 1 person

    • leggypeggy / Dec 12 2022 6:39 am

      Yes, people are the some of the best experiences in travel. Tomorrow two friends from Canada arrive. We travelled with them four years ago.


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