Photo by M. Sharkey for Out
On Friday, July 11, Omar Sharif, star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago, died at his home in Cairo. He was 83 years old.
Sharif impacted many through his work, but only a few knew the man personally. His grandson, Omar Sharif Jr., who shocked the world a few years ago by coming out as gay and half Jewish, was one of those lucky few. Sharif Jr., an Out100 honoree, reminisces about his times with his grandfather in July 24 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
“One of my first memories of my grandfather: I was 4, and it was my birthday,” Sharif Jr. tells THR. “He was staying at The Ritz-Carlton in Montreal, and he ordered two banana cream pies from room service. As soon as he sang "Happy Birthday," he took one of the pies and shoved it in my face.”
The younger Sharif, who is an actor and LGBT activist, waxes fondly about his grandfather’s joie de vivre:
“When I was a little older, he treated me as an adult, allowing me to sit at a table full of adults and dignitaries until two in the morning as they talked politics. He liked to share his life with us. In France, he made sure I went to horseback riding and polo lessons every day. We'd go to the racetrack, and he'd give me 50 francs — maybe $10 at the time — to bet on the races with him so I could feel the excitement of it."
You can read the whole of Omar Sharif Jr.'s reflections on his grandfather here.