Actors pay tribute to
ANTONIO Banderas, Barbra Streisand and filmmaker Roland Emmerich are leading the tributes to acting icon Omar Sharif, who has died aged 83.
THE Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago legend, who had been battling Alzheimer's disease, died at a hospital in Cairo, Egypt, on Friday after suffering a heart attack.
Tributes have poured in for the movie veteran via social media, with his The 13th Warrior co-star Banderas tweeting, "My great friend Omar Sharif has passed away. I will always miss him. He was one of the best... He was a great storyteller, a loyal friend and a wise spirit."
Director Emmerich, who recruited Sharif to narrate his 2008 film 10,000 BC, writes, "Very saddened by the passing of Omar Sharif. Blessed that I was able to work with such a legend. Love to the family."
Actress/singer Streisand, who starred with Sharif in Funny Girl, said she was "profoundly sad" at the loss. Streisand recalled how he rose above the criticism of his casting and their interracial love scene in 1968's Funny Girl to deliver a remarkable performance.
In a statement, she writes: "Omar was my first leading man in the movies. He was handsome, sophisticated and charming. He was a proud Egyptian and in some people's eyes, the idea of casting him in Funny Girl was considered controversial. Yet somehow, under the direction of William Wyler, the romantic chemistry between Nicky Arnstein (his character) and Fanny Brice (Streisand's character) transcended stereotypes and prejudice. "I feel lucky to have had the opportunity to work with Omar, and I'm profoundly sad to hear of his passing."
The role won Streisand the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1969. Meanwhile, Daredevil actor Vincent D'Onofrio posted, "#OmarSharif will be missed. I have watched this graceful ,this wonderful actor since I was a child. I salute him", and Frozen's Josh Gad added, "Sad to hear about "#OmarSharif. I grew up on Lawrence and Zhivago. A legacy with not one but multiple timeless classics."
Actor Matthew Modine tweeted, "Thank you #OmarSharif - thank you for your intelligence, elegance & style. you made an indelible mark on cinema #RIP", while The Wire star Wendell Pierce mourns, "Elegance & Grace. Omar Sharif was a brilliant artist. He transported me to distant worlds in his films. A true Movie Star! Rest in Peace", and Karate Kid star Ralph Macchio noted, "RIP Omar Sharif - #LawrenceOfArabia one of the greatest character intros in cinema history".
Fellow actors Alec Baldwin, Rose McGowan, Dana Delany and Rosie O'Donnell, and rocker Flea were also among the stars who remembered Sharif on Twitter.