July 11, 2015

WHAT DID OMAR SHARIF THINK WHEN HE PLAYED CHE GUEVARA? Michael Ledeen fondly reminisces about great times with his friend, Omar Sharif:

One day in the mid-sixties I was on a Pan Am 747 from London to Chicago, sitting next to my then-employer, Omar Sharif.  I was a member of the “Omar Sharif Bridge Circus,” an unlikely assemblage of professional card players from France, Italy, Egypt…and, given my presence, the United States.  We played high-stakes exhibition matches against local teams in front of hundreds of spectators.  Mostly my role was pure show-biz;  I explained what the players were thinking, told anecdotes…you know, entertainment.  Every now and then they even let me play a few hands.  Life was spectacularly good,  not least because Omar was such a good fellow, a real buddy well met, easy to be with, easy to laugh with, a very fine card player, a gambling addict, and man did he know his red wine.  And race horses.  The big downside was that no woman was going to pay me the slightest attention.

After a few hours of catching up on sleep, Omar fished a paperback out of his carryon and turned pages quite rapidly.  It was the autobiography of Che Guevara.  He had never discussed politics with me and I was surprised, but it turned out he had agreed to play Che in a movie (1969).  What did he think?  “What an idiot!”  And that’s the way he played the failed revolutionary in the film.

Read the whole thing. As Michael writes, “Ciao Omar, may eternity bring you even more pleasure than you gave us.”

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