Sarhan was born in El Sharqiya, Egypt on 12 March 1925. He graduated from the "High Institute of Acting in Egypt" in 1947. In 1949, Sarhan acted in his first movie, Lahalibo. His rise to stardom was in 1951 when Youssef Chahine, a famous Egyptian film director, chose him for the lead role in the movie Ibn El-Nile "Son of the Nile".
Sarhan had earned the title "The young man of the screen". He received several awards throughout his career. President Gamal Abdel Nasser honored Sarhan with the Order of the Republic. In 1984, he received a Best Actor's award for his lead role, with Faten Hamama, in the movie Lelt El abd Ala Fatema "The Night of Fatima's Arrest". which was directed by Henry Barakat.
During the celebrations of the centennial of cinema, he was nominated by Egyptian critics as the best actor of the century in Egypt, having participated more than any other actor in The Greatest 100 Egyptian films.
Sarhan's last movie was El-Gablawi in 1991. He died in 1997.