The British epic, directed by David Lean and starring Peter O’Toole in the title role, is widely regarded as one of the greatest and most influential releases in cinema history and although it launched the Egyptian icon’s career, he admits he didn’t have high hopes for success.
Celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film’s release, Sharif tells Parade magazine, “I actually thought it would be a very boring film because there were no girls in it! I don’t know how David Lean thought a three-and-a-half-hour film with only men and not a lot of action would do well, but it did…
“As an actor in Egypt, I was nobody. It was extraordinary to suddenly become somebody in the world. I’ve never forgotten that.”
And he will always have fond memories of working with Peter O’Toole: “We developed a real friendship. When we first met, he said, ‘No one in the world is called Omar Sharif! I shall call you Fred.’ And he called me Fred from then on.”