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Chaim Topol, the actor beloved worldwide for starring in Fiddler on the Roof both on stage and on screen, has died.
Topol was born in 1935 in Tel Aviv. Some of his early works included 1960s films I Like Mike, El Dorado, Sallah Shabati, and Ervinka. Sallah Shabati was the movie that introduced Topol to American audiences, and it was nominated for an Oscar.
The actor first became connected to Fiddler on the Roof in 1967. He played the main character Tevye in the West End theatrical production. That production ran for 2,030 performances.
Topol reprised his role in the 1971 film adaptation of the musical. The movie was a smash success, and earned eight Oscar nominations. Topol received a nomination for Best Actor, though he did not win. The film itself won the awards for cinematography, sound, and music.
Topol continued to play Tevye on stage after the film was released. He reprised his role in the 1983 London revival of the play, and also appeared in a touring U.S. production of the musical in the 1980s. The production was revived on Broadway in 1990-1991, and Topol reprised his role for that production as well. That reprisal earned him a Tony nomination for Best Actor in a Musical.
From there, Topol played Tevye in a 1994 London revival of Fiddler on the Roof, which eventually turned into a touring production. He continued to reprise his role in various productions in Europe, Australia, and Japan.
Later in his career, Topol appeared in the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only and the sci-fi movie Flash Gordon. His last role was in 1998, when he appeared in the film Left Luggage.
According to Variety, Topol died on Thursday (March 9) in Tel Aviv following a battle with Alzheimer’s. He was 87 years old.
The president of Israel, Isaac Herzog, confirmed the news of Topol’s passing. Herzog said Topol was a “gifted actor who conquered many stages in Israel and overseas, filled the cinema screens with his presence and especially entered deep into our hearts.”
Our hearts are broken over Topol’s death. May he rest in peace…
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