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EGYPT: Even Dr. Zhivago is piling on against Mubarak regime

January 31, 2011 |  4:20 am

Picture 6 One of the Arab world's classic heartthrobs has lent his support to the popular protest movement sweeping Egypt.

Omar Sharif, the Egyptian icon best known to Americans for his roles in "Lawrence of Arabia," "Doctor Zhivago" and "Funny Girl," reportedly told France Inter radio Monday that President Hosni Mubarak should step down.

"Given that the entire Egyptian people don't want him and he's been in power for 30 years, that's enough," Sharif said, according to Reuters.

Protests in Egypt entered their seventh day Monday as the government intensified its media crackdown. At least 100 people have been killed in clashes with security forces since the protests began.

"The president hasn't improved the standard of living of Egyptians. There are some people that are very rich -- maybe 1% -- and the rest are all poor trying to find food," Sharif said, but added that he is worried about the influence the Muslim Brotherhood could have in a post-Mubarak era.

The Muslim Brotherhood "were trapped and now are starting to come out," he said. "They have 20% of the population and it's frightening for me."

Sharif was born in 1932 to a wealthy Christian family in Alexandria and grew up during the port city's heyday as a cosmopolitan melting pot of religions and ethnicities, combining Arab, Greek, Italian, Lebanese, Jewish, Christian and Muslim influences.

--Meris Lutz in Beirut

Photo: Egyptian film great Omar Sharif in "Lawrence of Arabia." Credit: Columbia Pictures

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