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1963: Desert bond lasts for ‘Arabia’ stars

From the Army Archerd Archive

March 5, 1963

GOOD MORNING: There has been a not-so-subtle campaign pyramiding since Oscar nominations that Omar Sharif is an ex-Egyptian soldier who fought in the Israeli war. Forget it. Omar sez, “I never fought in any army.” Furthermore, he will make his home in Switzerland, moving his family north in the near future. As for any other questions about the affable (and red-hot) actor, he is Catholic and not Muslim … Sam Spiegel is honest enough to admit, “I was terribly offended by some of the taste exhibited (at the Screen Producers Guild Awards).” Spiegel was obviously mucho moved, nervously pale when he accepted the award for “Lawrence of Arabia.”… Adding to the note of poor taste in some of the proceedings was the insult the TV branch silently barked at the Guild by having no one accept their highest award — when “The Defenders” was announced winner. The impression left by the vidboys could only be one of indifference — on this first year when TV and film groups merged. The three networks were amply represented at three tables … (2007 update: Neither Sharif nor Peter O’Toole won for their respective supporting and leading roles in “Lawrence of Arabia.” Ed Begley won the supporting Oscar for “Sweet Bird Of Youth” and Gregory Peck won for his leading role in “To Kill A Mockingbird.” Omar is currently filming a 26 week TV series in Egypt. The feature film “10,000 B.C.,” in which he stars, is readying for release. He makes his home in Cairo and Paris. Sharif and Peter O’Toole remain close friends since they toiled together in the desert in “Lawrence of Arabia.” There has been talk of a live message from Sharif to O’Toole during the awards. There’s still time.)

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