Born into a wealthy Lebanese-Egyptian family, Omar Sharif was a math and physics major at Cairo's Victory College. He worked briefly in his father's lumber business before pursuing an acting career. Entering movies in 1953 as Omar El-Sharif, the young actor's popularity zoomed when he married popular Egyptian star Faten Hamama (the marriage ended in 1974). Well established in his native country, Sharif made his English-language film debut (with one of the longest and most impressive "delayed entrances" ever filmed) as Sherif Ali Ibn El Karish in David Lean's Lawrence of Arabia (1962). Sharif's next film for Lean, Doctor Zhivago (1965), launched the "superstar" phase of the actor's career. When he was cast as Nicky Arnstein opposite Barbra Streisand's Fanny Brice in Funny Girl (1968), Sharif's films were banned in his native Egypt because he made love to a Jewish woman onscreen. As Sharif's starring career began its slow downward slide in the mid-'70s, he began devoting more and more time to his one great passion in life: bridge. Today Sharif is best known in card-playing circles as that famous bridge expert who happens to show up in movies from time to time. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi