Monday, 13 July 2015

The Baltimore Bullet: Remembering Omar Sharif

He may have been a well-known, established actor but the first time I saw Omar Sharif wasn’t in “Lawrence of Arabia” or “Doctor Zhivago”, or “Funny Girl”, it was in a comedy called “The Baltimore Bullet”.

I was recently thinking about when I first saw Omar after I heard he passed away from a heart attack at age 83.

Summer vacation
For the first half of the 1980s I spent a part of each summer in Brooks visiting all my cousins there, and they in turn would come to our farm.

One summer my cousin Fred was on the farm. About a week earlier, I had read an issue of “TV Guide” that previewed this movie called “The Baltimore Bullet” and it sounded really interesting.

Back then, TV was one of the centres of my life, but I thought I’d miss it for sure because Fred and I were always doing things.

Then, I saw this commercial and asked if he was interested in watching the movie. He was always in to watch a movie, so we tuned to Channel 13 and watched the movie.

“The Baltimore Bullet”
The movie focuses on Nick Casey, also known as the Baltimore Bullet, a pool shark played by James Coburn who is teaching everything he knows to his protégé Billie Joe Robbins, played by Bruce Boxleitner. The Baltimore Bullet was beaten a few years earlier by this legendary shark named the Deacon, played by Omar Sharif. Nick would give anything to have another crack at the Deacon. He finally gets his chance, but he’ll have to go through his very own protégé to do it.

It was a great movie, I do remember that. Omar was awesome as the suave, sophisticated villain too.

Parting thoughts
Omar Sharif had a stellar career. He garnered an Oscar nomination for best supporting actor for “Lawrence of Arabia” in 1962 and won Golden Globes for best supporting actor in a motion picture and new star of the year – actor, for the same movie. He also won a Golden Globe in 1965 for best actor in a motion picture drama for “Doctor Zhivago”.

He would go on to act right through the 1970, 1980s, 1990s, into the 21st Century and had his last film lead role earlier this year in 2015.

Yet, for someone who grew up in the 1980s where TV was limited to three channels, and later the latest releases on VHS tapes, the first time I ever saw Omar Sharif was as a suave, confident pool shark in “The Baltimore Bullet”. He was the perfect foil for James Coburn who was slick and likeable, and even cocky.

I won’t tell you how it ends, but Omar Sharif was definitely worth the price of admission – he always was.

Rest in peace Omar.

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