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Was Teffi the Milkman in Fiddler on the Roof 87 – The Hollywood Reporter


Chaim Topol, the free-spirited Israeli actor and singer who, season after season, portrayed Teffi the milkman in Fiddler on the roof On stages all over the world and in an Academy Award-nominated role in Norman Jewison’s 1971 film adaptation, He’s Dead. He was 87 years old.

The Associated Press, quoting Israeli leaders, reported that Topol died on Thursday in Tel Aviv.

Israel’s first international movie star, Topol played the famous Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in Galileo (1975); American scientist, Dr. Hans Zarkov, in the science fiction cult classic Gordon flash (1980); and Milos Colombo, a Greek smuggler and ally of Roger Moore’s James Bond, in Just for your eyes (1981).

As Polish family man Berel Jastrow, he was central to the plot of two popular 1980s ABC series, winds of war And War and memoryboth based on novels by Hermann Wouk.

In a pairing a matchmaker will surely appreciate, Topol has tied his own estimate of Tevye more than 3,500 times over more than four decades, starting with a Hebrew-language production in his homeland when he was 30.

He also starred as a Jewish dairy farmer and father of five daughters – and performed such iconic songs as “Sunrise, Sunset”, “Tradition” and “If I Were a Rich Man” – in the West End in the mid-1960s and on Broadway in 1990-1991, receiving a Tony nomination in the process.

“How many people are known for one part? How many people are known in my profession all over the world?” he said in a 2015 interview. “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,” the employee says. In exodus, “Tobol, tobol, are you tobol?” So yeah, a lot of people saw that [Fiddler]And that’s not a bad thing.”

Chaim Topol, the eldest of three children, was born in Tel Aviv on September 9, 1935. His father, Jacob, was a plasterer, and his mother, Emrilla, was a seamstress. He worked as a printer for a newspaper while taking high school classes at night, then lived on a kibbutz for a year.

He gained experience as an artist in the Israeli army, where he acted and sang in a traveling theater troupe. After serving, he honed his performing skills across the country for three years in a kibbutz theater troupe he and his friends had founded in 1957.

Topol had his breakthrough when he was cast as an immigrant from the Middle East who struggles to provide for his family in Israel in Salah Shabaty (1964). The social satire was a hit at home, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and Topol, then 29, took home a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer for playing a character in his fifties. (Topol played the title role in a play while in the army.)

Two years later, he made his English-language film debut alongside Kirk Douglas in Cast giant shadows (1966), playing a Bedouin chief in the drama set in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.

At the request of friends, Topol came to New York to see Zero Mostel star as Sholem Aleichem’s Tevye in the original 1964-1972 Broadway production of Hal Prince’s Fiddler on the roof, featuring music by Jerry Book, lyrics by Sheldon Harnick and direction and choreography by Jerome Robbins. He then played a milkman for 10 weeks in Israel, stepping in for Shmuel Rudensky, who was ill.

Prince Tobol saw V.I Salah Shabaty He invited him to test leadership in London productions fiddler When I moved off Broadway in 1966.

“They couldn’t believe it was me when I went to the audition because I was so young! They were expecting Salah who was so old. Not me!” He said. “I didn’t know English. I studied the songs. I sang “If I Were a Rich Man” and then another song from fiddler. It was the first test in my life.

They asked me how many times I’ve seen the show. I said maybe four times. They couldn’t understand how I knew all the moves, all the songs from the show. I said, ‘No, you don’t understand… I’m currently performing at Fiddler, in Tel Aviv!’

After he was hired, he started going to Topol after the British producers had trouble pronouncing his first name.

He got the lead in the film version of Jewison at United Artists despite pressure from Mostel, Rod Steiger, Danny Kaye and Frank Sinatra to play the part. He said he was hired “maybe because I was cheaper” Jerusalem Post in the year 2013.

In her review, THR He noted that Topol imbued his performance with “all the sympathy, strength, and humor it requires. His speaking voice is superb, and if his singing voice is imperfect, this only seems appropriate for the characterization.”

Fiddler on the roof He was nominated for Best Picture and Topol for Best Actor but French link And co-star Gene Hackman reigned Oscars night. Nevertheless, Topol received a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Motion Picture Comedy or Musical.

His big screen resume also included before winter (1968) The Detour opposite Mia Farrow in public eye (1972) Directed by Carol Reed.

The last time Topol Tevey appeared on stage in Boston was in 2009, he was forced out of the play after suffering a shoulder injury.

A year later, he founded the Jordan River Village, where seriously ill children have fun. (His inspiration was Paul Newman Hall in the Wall Campus.) He was also a member of the board of directors for Variety Israel, a non-profit organization that helps children with special needs, regardless of religion, race, or gender.

He received the prestigious Israel Lifetime Achievement Award from his government in 2015.

Among the survivors was his wife, Galia, whom he married in October 1956. They had three children, Omar, Uday and Anat.

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.