Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif are two acclaimed actors who have starred in many films and TV shows, such as Monk, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Lawrence of Arabia, and Doctor Zhivago. But are they related by blood or by name? Many fans have wondered if the two actors share a common ancestry, since they both have the surname Shalhoub (or Chalhoub) in their birth names. The answer, however, is not so simple.
The Origin of the Name Shalhoub
According to Wikipedia, Shalhoub is an Arabic surname (primarily Levantine) that may refer to several people, including Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif. The name means “cross” or “crucifix” in Arabic, and is derived from the Syriac word for “cross”, shlībā
The name is common among Christians of the Antiochian Greek Orthodox Church, which is one of the oldest and largest Christian denominations in the Middle East. The Antiochian Greek Orthodox Church traces its origins to the apostolic era, when Antioch was the capital of Syria and a major center of Christianity. The church follows the Byzantine rite and uses Greek as its liturgical language, but its members are ethnically diverse and speak various languages, such as Arabic, Turkish, Kurdish, Armenian, and Aramaic.
The name Shalhoub is also found among other Christian communities in the region, such as the Melkite Greek Catholic Church, which is in communion with the Roman Catholic Church but follows the Byzantine rite. The Melkite Greek Catholic Church was formed in the 18th century when some members of the Antiochian Greek Orthodox Church accepted the authority of the Pope.
The Family Background of Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif
Tony Shalhoub was born in 1953 in Green Bay, Wisconsin, to a Lebanese-American family. His father, Joseph Shalhoub, was a lumber merchant who emigrated from Lebanon to the United States as a child. His mother, Helen Seroogy, was also born in Wisconsin to Lebanese parents. Tony Shalhoub grew up in a Melkite Greek Catholic household and attended English schools. He later graduated from the University of Southern Maine and the Yale School of Drama. He began his acting career on stage and screen in the 1980s and became famous for his roles in Wings, Men in Black, Galaxy Quest, and Monk. He has won four Emmy Awards, a Golden Globe Award, six Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Tony Award. He is married to actress Brooke Adams and has two adopted daughters
Omar Sharif was born in 1932 in Alexandria, Egypt, to a wealthy family of Lebanese descent. His birth name was Michel Yusef Dimitri Chalhoub. His father, Yusef Chalhoub, was a lumber merchant who owned a chain of shops in Egypt. His mother, Claire Saada, was a society hostess who spoke several languages. Omar Sharif grew up in a Melkite Greek Catholic household and attended Victoria College, an elite English school in Alexandria. He later graduated from Cairo University with a degree in mathematics and physics. He began his acting career in Egypt in the 1950s and became famous for his roles in Struggle in the Valley (with Faten Hamama), Goha (with Zohra Hamama), and Lawrence of Arabia (with Peter O’Toole). He went on to star in many international films, such as Doctor Zhivago (with Julie Christie), Funny Girl (with Barbra Streisand), and Monsieur Ibrahim (with Pierre Boulanger). He has won three Golden Globe Awards and a César Award for Best Actor. He was married to actress Faten Hamama from 1955 to 1974 and had one son with her. He later had several relationships with other women but never remarried. He died in 2015 at the age of 83
The Connection Between Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif
Despite having the same surname in their birth names, Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif are not related by blood or by name. They do not share any known ancestors or relatives. They do not even share the same spelling of their surname: Tony Shalhoub’s original surname is spelled شلهوب (Shalhoub) in Arabic, while Omar Sharif’s original surname is spelled شلهوب (Chalhoub) in Arabic.
The reason for the different spellings is that Arabic is a language that uses an abjad script, which means that it only writes consonants and not vowels. The vowels are either implied by the context or indicated by diacritical marks above or below the letters. However, these diacritical marks are often omitted in casual writing or in transliteration to other languages. Therefore, the same Arabic word can have different spellings and pronunciations depending on the dialect, the context, and the transcription system.
For example, the Arabic word شلهوب can be pronounced as Shalhoub, Chalhoub, Shalhub, Chalhub, Shalhoob, Chalhoob, or any other variation depending on the speaker and the listener. The most common transcription systems for Arabic are the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA), which uses symbols to represent sounds; and the Romanization of Arabic, which uses Latin letters to approximate the sounds. However, there is no standard or official Romanization system for Arabic, and different countries and organizations use different systems. Some of the most widely used systems are the ALA-LC (American Library Association – Library of Congress), the DIN 31635 (Deutsches Institut für Normung), the ISO 233 (International Organization for Standardization), and the ArabTeX (a software package for typesetting Arabic).
Therefore, when Tony Shalhoub’s and Omar Sharif’s surnames were transliterated from Arabic to English, they were spelled differently according to different Romanization systems or personal preferences. Tony Shalhoub’s surname was spelled with an “S” and a “U”, while Omar Sharif’s surname was spelled with a “C” and an “O”. However, these spellings do not reflect any difference in meaning or origin. They are simply different ways of writing the same name.
Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif are two talented actors who have achieved success and recognition in their respective fields. They both have Lebanese roots and belong to the Melkite Greek Catholic Church. They both have the surname Shalhoub (or Chalhoub) in their birth names. However, they are not related by blood or by name. They do not share any known ancestors or relatives. They do not even share the same spelling of their surname. Their surname is a common Arabic name that means “cross” or “crucifix” and is derived from the Syriac word for “cross”. Their surname can have different spellings and pronunciations depending on the dialect, the context, and the transcription system. Therefore, their surname is not a reliable indicator of their relationship or their connection.
According to Wikipedia, Tony Shalhoub and Omar Sharif are two of several people who have the surname Shalhoub (or Chalhoub) in their birth names. Some of the other people who have this surname are:
- Michael Shalhoub, American actor, brother of Tony Shalhoub
- Mohammad Al-Shalhoub, Saudi Arabian football (soccer) player
- Omar Sharif Jr., Canadian-Egyptian actor and activist, grandson of Omar Sharif
- Rima Fakih, Lebanese-American model and beauty queen, Miss USA 2010
- Sami Chalhoub, Lebanese politician
- Tarek El-Sharif, Egyptian actor and producer, son of Omar Sharif
- Zohra Hamama, Tunisian actress