Sharif squandered his good fortune — with divorce from the only woman he ever truly loved, an illegitimate child he refused to acknowledge, millions lost at the gaming tables, a glittering career abandoned and outbursts of violence.The harshest irony of all is that, to the public, it always appeared as if he had the most enviable existence.‘I thought she was not very attractive at first,’ he remembered. ‘It’s hard to stop loving someone when the director yells cut,’ she said.Faten was not so romantic or self-destructive — she married again, to a doctor.In 1968, he worked with Barbra Streisand on the musical Funny Girl. The feeling was mutual for four months — the time it took to shoot the movie.’Streisand blamed the heady romance of the film.Joseph Chalhoub was aghast to hear that his son wanted to be an actor.
Director David Lean hired him, not for his acting, but for his liquid brown irises — a perfect contrast to the star Peter O’Toole’s glittering blue eyes.Sharif’s first appearance, shimmering out of the desert haze, won countless admirers. Convinced that he would not have the strength to remain faithful, he told Faten that he wanted a divorce — while she was still young enough, he said, to remarry. He always described her as ‘the love of my life’ and often declared that no other woman ever won his heart.He played the title character in his first production, The Invisible Duke, concealed in a box on stage for most of the play.The thrill when he surprised the audience by bursting out had him addicted from the start.
Over the next seven years they made more than a dozen movies together.
But the relationship fell apart in 1962 when Sharif was cast as Sherif Ali in Lawrence Of Arabia.