- Chaim Topol was born on Sept. 9, 1935.
- Best known for Fiddler On The Roof, he also appeared in numerous films, including Flash Gordon and For Your Eyes Only.
- Topol passed away on Mar. 9, 2023, at age 87.
"Sadly, the fiddler on the roof is no longer with us," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday (Mar. 9) following the news that famous Israeli actor Chaim Topol had died. "The strings of the fiddle have gone silent," Netanyahu said in a statement. "He greatly loved Israel," and the Israeli people loved him in return."
Haim Topol, who has died from us, was one of Israel's greatest stage artists, a gifted actor who dominated many theaters across the country and abroad, and who lived above all in our hearts, according to his statement.
Here's all you need to know about Chaim Topol as the world mourns the death of this charismatic actor.
Chaim Topol was a actor and singer.
Chaim Topol was born in Tel Aviv and began acting as a stage actor with an Israeli army theatrical troupe in the 1950s. I was raised in a kibbutz here, and I began working at the age of 14 in a printing company. “It is evidently very nice,” he said in 2015.
Topol's breakout came in 1964 when he played Sallah Shabati in an Israeli film, Cast a Giant Shadow. In the late 1960s, he would star in several more English-language films, including 1981's For Your Eyes Only and 1998's Left Luggage.
Topol would excel in musicals and have an extensive recording career once he was 12 years old, according to CNN. "I actually was deprived of music until I was 12," he said of BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in 1983.
He Was a Golden Globe Awardee
For his role in Sallah Shabati, Topol won the Golden Globe for Best Actor, a performance that would earn him an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor in 1991.
His most well-known role was as a fiddler on the roof.
Topol is best known for his role in Fiddler on the Roof, which focuses on a Jewish father of five children, who is attempting to maintain his people's cultural traditions in imperial Russia in the 1900s. He was asked to bring his Tevye to London's West End.
"They were very generous to allow me to have that part." According to CNN, my English was so limited with a "vocabulary of 50 words." "I'm still confused about how they allowed me to have this part."
He's become synonymous with the role since then. "How many people are known for one part?" he said. "Sometimes I am surprised when I go to China or when I come to France or when I go wherever and the immigration clerk says 'Topol, Topol, are you Topol?"
He was married for over 60 years.
Topol met Galia, the woman who would become his wife for over six decades when she died in 2023. The couple had three children – Anat, Ady, and Omer Topol.
At the time of his death, he was involved in charitable organizations.
Topol remained in his wife's childhood residence in Tel Aviv until he returned for a farewell visit to Fiddler on the Roof in 2009, where he spent his golden years. In 2015, he was honored with the Israel Prize for Lifetime Achievement.
According to AP, he was appointed chairman of the board of directors of Jordan River Village, a camp serving Middle Eastern children with life-threatening illnesses.
“I can tell you that in our village Jews and Arabs and Christians and Jews and Muslims and Jews are hugging one another, and it works very well when politicians are not involved,” he told the AP.