Omar Sharif

Sharif in 2004, photo by Denis Makarenko/

Birth Name: Michel Yusef Dimitri Chalhoub

Date of Birth: 10 April, 1932

Place of Birth: Alexandria, Kingdom of Egypt

Date of Death: 10 July, 2015

Place of Death: Cairo, Egypt

Ethnicity: Egyptian/Lebanese

Omar Sharif was an Egyptian actor. He was also known as Omar el-Sherief and Omar Cherif.

He was the son of Claire (Saada) and Joseph Chalhoub, a precious woods merchant. He had a son with his former wife, actress and producer Faten Hamama. He was born to a Melkite Catholic family, and converted to Islam in 1955, when he married Faten. His grandson is actor, model, author, and gay activist Omar Sharif, Jr.

Omar’s maternal grandmother was named Abla Abdallah.

Omar has often been described as having been of Lebanese and/or Syrian descent, with some reports suggesting that his parents were from the city of Zahlé. In 1996, he appeared in the documentary Lebanon… Imprisoned Splendour.

However, in a 2009 appearance on Nile Cinema, an Egyptian television program, Omar stated that his parents and grandparents were all Egyptian. He stated the same in a 2010 interview.

Source: Genealogy of Omar Sharif (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Omar Sharif 66ème Festival de Venise (Mostra)

Sharif in 2009, photo credit: nicogenin


Curious about ethnicity

16 Responses

  1. Johnsonades says:

    What Omar Sharif might have said on live TV on any Arab network about his origins are his pure inventions to satisfy the tribal nature of Arab people and to gain more fans in the Middle East.

    Since the beginning of Islam, it was (an perhaps still is) never enough to convert to Islam, but you also need to claim an allegiance to a specific Arab tribe and proving or claiming to be descended from one was of utmost importance. Any professional (academic, politician, etc) that wanted to advance professionally need to become a client of a tribe and a lot of them faked their genealogies to gain protection and favors in the Muslim world during since 700 AD. One example of this was Abu Tamman, one of the greatest poets of all time in the Arabic language,

    Omar Sharif fought hard to hide or lie about his Lebanese Christian origins in the Middle East media although I dont think anybody bought it. Even in Egypt till this day when they commemorate his birthday, the newspapers always state he was of Lebanese descent as you can see here

    When in Lebanon and outside the Middle East he never denied his Lebanese origins. In 1996 he did a famous documentary called “Lebanon…Imprisoned Splendour” (IMDB link- and website link- You can see him reciting a poem in the documentary “about his Lebanon” here

    In every interview/article he did in the West for a western newspaper or magazine Sharif himself stated his Lebanese origins openly as can be seen here:

  2. Thenabster says:

    He was born ans raised in Egypt but was of Lebanese Catholic descent. Please change this.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.