Omar Sharif

Jan Leeming

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Me looking brave before taking to the air (and the wing) of the plane. Wow, it was cold !! But the whole experience was totally exhilarating.

 

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Computers and the internet are amazing things. One of my concerns with putting together this site was that it could remain current, yet with all my travelling I've often much to say, but little time to say it. Years ago when reading the news it would take me days on end to reply to the kind letters people sent. Now, with the magic of the modern age, I can keep you up to date with what I'm doing and other events in my life.

OMAR SHARIF

Date: 10th July 2015

OMAR SHARIF

It is always sad to hear of someone’s death but I was particularly upset to hear the news today that Omar Sharif had just died of a heart attack and at the relatively young age of 83.

In the late 70’s when working as an interviewer on a BBC Magazine Programme called ‘Pebble Mill’ I was fortunate enough to interview Omar. Usually the ‘star’ interviews were given to Donny Macleod but he was stranded in Aberdeen because of fog and couldn’t get down to Birmingham.

The interview was to be pre-recorded for transmission the following day. One of the researchers came into the office and asked if I would mind doing the interview. ‘MIND’ – I shot down the corridor as fast as my legs would carry me. I’d been a fan ever since seeing Laurence of Arabia and fortunately I had just purchased and read his autobiography – there was no time for research.

He was a delight and when he looked at me with those limpid and rather mournful brown eyes, I found it hard to concentrate. At the end of the interview he asked if I were married. I wasn’t.

Usually the technical boys were so hard pressed with the programme that they had no time to make Videotape copies of interviews but I begged them for a copy and they duly obliged.

Because the interview was pre-recorded the Editor gave me the following day off and I went home. When I returned to the studio two days later one of the researchers said ‘Oh Jan, Omar Sharif phoned yesterday and asked to talk to you’ but you weren’t here.

I wonder what might have happened if I had been around – probably a broken heart on my part because he was a real ladies’ man and highly intelligent.

And then some six years ago I was going down to a Conference in Barcelona with friends who wished to go by train and stay overnight in Perpignan to have a look at properties in the area. The Estate Agent took us to various places and then suggested we had lunch at Collioure – a delightful Port town.

When we reached the central market place we discovered that there was a film in process of being shot. I got talking to the runner and explained that decades earlier I’d had the pleasure of interviewing Omar. Lo and behold he took me to where they were filming, through the cordon and once again I met Omar. He wouldn’t have know me from a bar of soap but he’d lost none of the charm and for that few minutes he made me feel as though I were the only woman  in the Universe.  Mind you he treated all his female fans the same way but it was still very special.

It was only a few weeks ago that I read of his Altzeimers and found it hard to comprehend that a man with such a fine mind had succumbed to this cruel disease and today I’ve heard of his death. It makes my little Videotape, signed autobiography and photograph even more special.

At the time I met him in France he was shooting a low budget film with the working title of ‘J’oublie de te dire’ which I think I’ve written correctly and which translates as ‘I forgot to tell you’. I have tried and tried to find this film for purchase but cannot source it anywhere. If anyone can give me information I would be most grateful.

RIP Omar

OMAR SHARIF

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