Chaim Topol dead: Israeli Fiddler on the Roof actor dies aged 87
Chaim Topol, who played Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof for over five decades, has died at the age of 87.
Israeli actor and singer Chaim Topol has died aged 87. The actor was best known for playing Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof for more than five decades.
Topol, mainly known by his surname alone, died in his home surrounded by family, according to reports by local media. His death was announced by Israeli president Isaac Herzog, who described him as 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.”
Taking on the role as Tevye the milkman in 1966 at the age of 30, Topol would reprise the role on stage over 3,500 times over five decades, with his last performance in 2009. The actor also took on the role in the 1971 film, for which he won a golden globe for best actor.
In a 2015 interview, Topol said: “How many people are known for one part? How many people in my profession are known worldwide? So I am not complaining.
“Sometimes I am surprised when I come to China or when I come to Tokyo or when I come to France or when I come wherever and the clerk at the immigration says ‘Topol, Topol, are you Topol?’ So yes, many people saw [Fiddler], and it is not a bad thing.”
The actor also took on a few film roles, including Dr Hans Zarkov in Flash Gordon and Milos Columbo in the 007 film For Your Eyes Only. He also did the Hebrew voice for Rubeus Hagrid in the first two versions of Harry Potter.