Omar SharifThings are looking up for Omar Sharif. Only a month after Al-Qaida threatened to kill him, the Egyptian actor/bridge king has been honored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization "in recognition of his contribution to cultural diversity." The medal Sharif received is (rather unexpectedly) named after Russian director Sergei Eisenstein and is actually handed out very infrequently. Awarded to those involved in world film who are seen as making significant contributions to "a dialogue among peoples," the Eisentein medal is under the partial control of Russia's MOSFILM, and can only be given out a total of 25 times.

Sharif has long played characters from diverse nationalities and faiths, including the title roles in Che!, Doctor Zhivago, and Genghis Khan. Hmm. Perhaps that death sentence was actually partially responsible for the award - after all, Sharif's decision to play St. Peter on Italian TV certainly led to some rather vigorous discussions.