During the summer of 2003, my acting agent asked if I would like to do a part in a new TV series. Sure, I said. And by the way, I would be sharing some scenes with the show's star, none other than Omar Sharif.
It was a night shoot, he was to play a taxi driver and I was to play his passenger. I met him in a Boulogne-Billancourt apartment set up as a temporary dressing room, where he was totally nonchalant and set people straight at ease.
There was a party afterwards, and the following day Omar Sharif took the whole cast and crew to a fancy restaurant, where he paid the entire bill.
We became quite friendly, stayed in touch, and he would invite me over to the hotel out of which he was living for a drink in the bar. At other times, he would take me and a two or three other friends to a restaurant for lunch or dinner. He was popular with the ladies, to say the least…
Once, in the car (I can now reveal), he was talking with his girlfriend at the wheel and a lawyer over the phone aboutthe trouble he was in for head-butting a security guard at a casino. He told me: "Tu ne dis rien à personne, hein?" (keep what you hear to yourself).
When his hotel was shut down for refurbishment, I lost contact with him, and I never got to offer him a copy of my first graphic novel.
Omar Sharif, the star of Lawrence of Arabia and Doctor Zhivago and one of the world's greatest bridge players, is dead at 83 (interview in French)
• Michael Ledeen reminisces about his friend, Omar Sharif