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Valet wins $318,190 from actor Omar Sharif

February 21, 2008|Bob Pool | Times Staff Writer

Will actor Omar Sharif pay up in dollars or euros?

That's what parking valet Juan Anderson is wondering after the film star was ordered to pay him $318,190 as a result of a 2005 altercation outside a Beverly Hills restaurant.

Sharif, best known for his roles in the movies "Lawrence of Arabia" and "Dr. Zhivago," allegedly punched Anderson in the face when the valet refused to accept a 20-euro note as payment for retrieving his Porsche sport utility vehicle at Mastro's Steakhouse.

The actor and a female companion had just finished a $500 dinner at the North Canon Drive restaurant. Anderson, who believed he was not authorized to accept foreign currency, said he was bloodied by the attack.

Anderson, 50, alleged that Sharif angrily called him a "stupid Mexican." Anderson is from Guatemala.

Sharif, 75, later pleaded no contest to a misdemeanor battery charge. In early 2007 he was ordered to pay a $100 fine and attend anger-management classes. He was also placed on two years' probation by a Los Angeles County Superior Court judge.

Anderson sued Sharif for assault and battery, emotional distress and commission of a hate crime. A 2005 state law prohibits racially motivated violence.

On Tuesday, Santa Monica Superior Court Judge Joe W. Hilberman awarded Anderson $318,190 in damages. Sharif, who earlier characterized the incident as a parking lot argument, did not appear at the trial.

The actor could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

It was unclear what currency Sharif will use to pay the judgment. That amount is the equivalent of 217,000 euros.

But Anderson's lawyer, John Carpenter, said collecting the cash in any currency could be difficult. Sharif is in Egypt, Carpenter said.

The Beverly Hills parking lot incident was not Sharif's first altercation. In 2003, he was fined $1,700 and given a one-month suspended sentence for head-butting a French police officer.

"It made me the hero of the whole of France," the actor later told the New Yorker magazine. "To head-butt a cop is the dream of every Frenchman."

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bob.pool@latimes.com

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