Omar Sharif, the legendary Egyptian actor, is 80 now but he hasn't lost his sense of humor.
Sharif was a complete unknown when he got the break of a lifetime, a starring role in the international smash Lawrence of Arabia.
Sharif remembers how he got the part: 'They put me on a plane to the middle of the desert, and when the plane pulled up there was one man standing there. It was film director David Lean,' Sharif said from his home in Paris. 'He didn’t say anything. He just took a tour around me to see what I looked like, and that was that.'
Lawrence of Arabia, the smash hit Columbia Pictures drama, won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Director, and is being reissued on Tuesday in a four-disc Blu-ray gift box with the restored 227-minute cut, which includes a making-of documentary, a feature on the film's breakout Irish star Peter O’Toole, and interviews with Lean’s cinematic heirs Steven Spielberg and Martin Scorsese.
'I’m used to the desert,' Sharif said. 'I was used to the heat, all of that. I had lived in tents sometimes for other films. I found Peter O’Toole to be a close friend of mine. It was extraordinary. We lived together for one year. We slept in tents next to each other, and we drank our whiskey under the stars, and we chatted about acting.'
O’Toole, also 80, recently announced his retirement from the business. Sharif notes sadly that he has lost touch with his old friend. 'I can’t find him. He’s locked himself up. He doesn’t want to come out.'
Here's the trailer for "Lawrence of Arabia":