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Actor Chaim Topol, Fiddler on the Roof, dies at 87


Topol was known mostly by his last name. According to local reports, the actor passed away at his home on Wednesday. According to The Guardian, his son recently confirmed that Topol had been diagnosed with dementia last year.

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Chaim Topol passes at 87

Topol’s death was announced in a statement by the President of Israel, Isaac Herzog. He described the late artist as a talented actor who conquered several stages not only in Israel but also in other countries. Herzog added that Topol filled cinema screens with his presence and entered the depths of their hearts.

The publication also reports that Topol has played the role of Tevye in the musical, The Milkman in Fiddler for over five decades. He was once estimated to have performed the role more than 3,500 times. In 1971, Topol played a Jewish father and won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. He also got a nod in the Best Actor category at the Academy Awards.

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Chaim Topol (Photo: Movie Clips YouTube)

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Chaim Topol on playing the Tevye

Chaim Topol started playing a middle-aged Tevye on stage when he was just 30 years old, in 1966. He apparently used makeup and costume magic to make himself look heavier and older than he actually was. On the other hand, when he stopped playing the role in his seventies, he had to look younger than his age.

Speaking about his role, Topol once said in an interview (via The Guardian) “How many people are known for one part? How many people in my profession are known all over the world? So I’m not complaining.” He added, “Sometimes I’m surprised when I come to China or when I come to Tokyo or when I come to France or when I come anywhere and the employee at immigration says ‘Tobol, tobol, are you tobol?'” So yeah, a lot of people saw it [Fiddler]And that’s not a bad thing.”

May God have mercy on him, Haim Topol.

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Joanna Swanson

Joanna Swanson is Europe correspondent at the Thomson Reuters Foundation based in Brussels covering politics, culture, business, climate change, society, economies and inclusive tech. With specific focus in breaking news, she has covered some of the world's most significant stories.