Chaim Topol, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ Actor, Dead at 87
Topol is an Israeli actor best-known for playing Tevye in 1971's 'Fiddler on the Roof.'
Israeli actor Chaim Topol, mononymously known as Topol, passed away at the age of 87 in Tel Aviv, Israel, due to “a long illness,” confirmed to CNN by his representative. The actor was previously diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.
Topol was part of an acting troupe during his Israeli military service before he burst onto the scene with the 1964 film Sallah Shabati, for which he won a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer - Male, his first.
The star's career continued to grow, earning great acclaim in 1971 when he played Tevye in the movie adaptation of Fiddler on the Roof. The role earned him another Golden Globe and an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in a Leading Role.
Topol played the role of Tevye on stage around the world over 3,500 times, most recently in 2009.
In 2015, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu awarded Topol with the Israeli Prize, which is regarded as the country's top honor in culture.
Speaking with the Associated Press at the time, Topol said of his long career, "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 it (Fiddler) and it is not a bad thing.”
Netanyahu commented on Topol's passing on social media, saying, "My wife Sara and I, like all Israeli citizens, with deep sorrow, are saying farewell to our dear and beloved Haim Topol, who was one of the State of Israel's greatest artists."
The prime minister went on, "He greatly loved the land of Israel, and the people of Israel loved him in return. Topol was a multi-faceted artist, with great charisma and energy. He proudly represented Israel around the world and received international recognition of a kind that few have received."
Along with Sallah Shabati and Fiddler on the Roof, Todol also starred in the James Bond film For Your Eyes Only, Flash Gordon, The Public Eye, and more.
Todol is survived by his wife and three children.