Next time, we're guessing Omar Sharif stops off at the currency exchange before he grabs some dinner.
The screen idol, best known for his suave roles in the David Lean epics Lawrence of Arabia and Dr. Zhivago, pleaded no contest Tuesday to misdemeanor battery for a June 2005 brawl with a valet who refused to accept a tip in euros.
Hollywood power attorney Harland Braun entered the plea on behalf of the 75-year-old onetime Oscar nominee in a Beverly Hills courtroom. Superior Court Judge Richard A. Stone immediately sentenced the Egyptian-born actor to two years' probation and 15 anger-management sessions, which Sharif has the option of completing in either Europe or Egypt, where's he's currently residing.
"We think the sentence is an appropriate outcome for this case," said Jane Robison, a spokeswoman for the Los Angeles district attorney.
Sharif was also fined $100. A restitution hearing, in which the judge will decide how much the actor will have to pay the victim in medical expenses, has been set for Apr. 18.
The kerfuffle took place around midnight on June 11, 2005 as Sharif was leaving Maestro's Steakhouse in Beverly Hills. The elderly actor got into it with parking lot attendant Juan Anderson after the valet was unable to locate his vehicle and then refused to accept Euros as gratuity.
"It's a minor incident with a parking lot attendant whom he gave a 20 euro tip to and who doesn't understand that a 20 euro note was very generous," Braun told E! Online. Twenty euros is worth about $26.
The attorney said that Sharif would have fought the charge, but the long-distance was just too much for the actor.
"He would have had to fly on a round-trip ticket to testify. We we were trying to work it out for him to testify by satellite, but it seemed to me too onerous to have a 75-year-old man come to Los Angeles just for this," added Braun.
The lawyer pointed to a Beverly Hills police report that Anderson did not have any visible injuries and refused medical treatment after the incident, despite his claim that Sharif drew blood.
"He's complaining that his nose was broken even though he wasn't complaining that day when the cops showed up," Braun said, adding that the actor will pay whatever amount the judge deems necessary to cover Anderson's medical bill.
Anderson says the total is $17,000.
Meanwhile, Braun said the no-contest plea is not an admission of guilt and can't be used against the actor in a civil case. Sharif is still facing a civil suit brought by Anderson in October seeking up to $750,000 in damages. (That's about 575,000 euros.)
According to the lawsuit, Sharif was "belligerent and intoxicated," when his Porsche wasn't fetched promptly and he in turn called the valet a "stupid Mexican." Anderson hails from Guatelmala.
Once Sharif's female companion realized she had given a different attendant the ticket to retrieve the car, Sharif offered Anderson a 20 Euro note. But the valet said he wasn't allowed to accept it, prompting the apparently insulted Sharif to hurl a racial epithet at Anderson, per the lawsuit.
Once the car finally arrived, Anderson said, according to his complaint, "Good night. I'm sorry you talk too much about me." The statement apparently ticked off Sharif, who allegedly got out of the car and hit Anderson in his face.
The actor, whose five-decade international career has included costarring stints with Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl and its sequel, Funny Lady, remains steadily employed. Aside from a slate of indie films, he recently appeared opposite Viggo Mortensen in Hidalgo and will next appear in theaters in director Roland Emmerich's blockbuster prehistoric epic 10,000 B.C., due out in 2008.