Omar Sharif, whose “Monsieur Ibrahim et les fleurs du Coran” will have an out-of-competition fest screening, will be honored with a career achievement kudo during the Venice Film Festival.
He is the first non-Italian to be honored by fest chief Moritz de Hadeln.
In proposing a Muslim for the award, de Hadeln says, “The Lion to Omar Sharif is particularly fitting given our focus on films dealing with Islam and the West.”
For his part, Sharif says he’s “humbled and honored” by the kudo.
In “Monsieur Ibrahim,” he plays a Muslim grocer who encounters a Jewish boy in a poor part of Paris.
The 71-year-old Sharif, born Michael Shalhoub, had a healthy career in his home country before being introduced to the West with David Lean’s “Lawrence of Arabia” (1962). Only 12 years after his debut in 1953’s “Sirah fil-wadi,” Sharif became an international star as the lead in “Doctor Zhivago.”
Sharif, who is also an internationally known bridge player, has acted in more than 80 films, helmed by directors such as Anthony Mann, William Wyler, Blake Edwards, Richard Lester, the Zucker brothers and Sidney Lumet. He will star in Disney’s upcoming “Hidalgo.”