Chaim Topol, the beloved star of the Oscar-nominated film Fiddler on the Roof is no longer with us. He played the role of Tevye, the soulful shtetl milkman in the movie. He passed away at the age of 87.
According to The New York Times, the sad news of the Israeli actor’s death was announced by President Isaac Herzog of Israel on the social media platform Twitter. Read on to know the cause behind Chaim’s death.
What was the cause behind the death of Chaim Topol?
Israeli actor Chaim Topol best known for essaying the character of Tevye, the long-suffering and charismatic milkman in Fiddler on the Roof, has died. The news of his demise was confirmed by Israeli President Isaac Herzog.
On the other hand, when we put some light on the cause behind the death of the Fiddler on the Roof star, he passed away at the age of 87 in Tel Aviv after a long battle with Alzheimer’s.
Herzog tweeted, “From fiddler on the roof to the roof of the world, Haim Topol, who has passed away from us, was one of the most outstanding Israeli stage artists, a gifted actor who conquered many stages in Israel and overseas, filled the cinema screens with his presence and above all entered deep into our hearts.”
He further added, “During the decades of his glorious career, Topol represented us with great respect. He is decorated with many awards for his talent and creation, but the most important award of all was won by us, who laughed and laughed with him in the dozens of characters he played.”
Isaac went on to say, “As living testimony to his social involvement and sensitivity is the project he led, Kfar Nahar Jordan, for sick and disabled children and their families. I had the privilege of getting to know him closely during the establishment of the unique village, and to be exposed to his work even outside the spotlight.”
The Israeli politician who has been serving as the 11th president of Israel since year 2021 concluded, “Topol was one of the giants of Israeli culture and he will be greatly missed. Condolences to his dear family and all his loved ones. Of blessed memory.”
Here’s all you need to know about Chaim Topol’s early life and acting career
For those of you who are unaware, let us share with you, Chaim Topol was an Israeli actor, singer, and illustrator. He was born on September 9, 1935, in Tel Aviv, which was then Mandatory Palestine (now Israel). For most of his professional life, he only used his surname, Topol.
Topol was most noted by the viewers for portraying the role of Tevye in the film version of Fiddler on the Roof. He began his acting career during his Israeli army service in the Nahal entertainment troupe. Later on, he toured Israel with kibbutz theatre and satirical theatre companies. He was a co-founder of the Haifa Theatre.
The turning point of Topol’s acting career saw the light of day in the year 1964 when he played the titular role in the comedy film Sallah Shabati. He even won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer—Male for his brilliant performance in the film about the hardships of a Mizrahi immigrant family living in a transit camp.
The movie became a huge hit locally and even won best foreign film at the Golden Globes and became Israel’s first nomination for an Oscar in the international film category. Nearly a year later, he bagged another role in his kitty. He was cast to play a minor role in the 1966 big-budget US production, Cast a Giant Shadow.
Topol who was the recipient of two Golden Globe awards and nominee for both an Academy Award and a Tony Award had been essaying the role of Tevye in the Hebrew version of “Fiddler” in Israel when he got the same role in a British theater production. At first, he starred in 1967 and then, he went on to appear in hundreds of shows as Tevye.
Chaim Topol had many acting credits to his name
During his long and impressive acting career, Chaim appeared in many films in Israel as well as the United States such as Galileo (1975), Flash Gordon (1980), and For Your Eyes Only (1981).
Topol was referred to as Israel’s only internationally recognized entertainer from the 1960s through the 1980s. Later on, it was revealed, that he played the role of Tevye in more than 3,500 productions. We must say, that’s a big achievement in itself.
When we talk about television, Topol played the role of Polish Jew Berel Jastrow in the 1983 mini-series The Winds of War. He reprised his role for its sequel, “War and Remembrance.”
Keeping aside his acting career, Chaim was a founder of Variety Israel, an organization serving children with special needs, and Jordan River Village, a year-round camp for Arab and Jewish children with life-threatening illnesses, for which he served as chairman of the board. He was honored with the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement in the year 2015.
Tributes pour in for Chaim Topol
As soon as the news of Topol’s demise broke out, many famous friends of the Israeli actor stopped by various social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram to pay their condolences.
Arsen Ostrovsky mourned the loss of the Israeli superstar Chaim Topol by writing, “Tradition! So sad, ‘Tevye’ is gone, as legendary Israeli performer Chaim Topol, dies age 87. May his memory be always blessed and his films & performances continue to entertain and inspire us!”
So sad, 'Tevye' is gone, as legendary Israeli performer Chaim Topol, dies age 87. May his memory be always blessed and his films & performances continue to entertain and inspire us! pic.twitter.com/8nPAZhlMPN
— Arsen Ostrovsky (@Ostrov_A) March 9, 2023
Omid Djalili tweeted, “Chaim Topol, Fiddler on the Roof actor, dies aged 87. Amazing to think he was only 35 when he made the film. Anyone who plays Tevye knows he can never top Topol. God rest his soul.”
Chaim Topol is survived by his wife of 67 years, Galia and the pair’s three children, and several grandchildren.
Sending our deepest condolences to the friends and family members of the Israeli actor Chaim Topol during this difficult time. Don’t forget to stay tuned with us for the latest updates from the world of showbiz.