The Israeli actor Chaim Topol, well known for playing Tevye in the film “Fiddler on the Roof,” has passed away in Tel Aviv at the age of 87, Israeli authorities declared on Thursday.
Topol’s son Omar revealed last year that his father had been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, however his cause of death was not immediately disclosed, according to the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth.
In 1973, Topol’s portrayal of Tevye led to his being nominated for an Oscar for best lead actor and winning the Golden Globe for best actor in a comedy or musical.
According to the Associated Press, Topol performed the role of Tevye more than 3,500 times on stage, most recently in 2009. Israeli President Isaac Herzog expressed his condolences at the actor’s passing, calling him “one of the giants of Israeli culture.”
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Herzog described Topol as “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.”
The highest cultural distinction the nation can bestow was given to Topol in 2015 when he received the Israel Prize for lifetime accomplishment.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu also expressed his condolences, writing on Twitter, “My wife Sarah and I, like all citizens of Israel, are saying goodbye today with deep pain to our beloved Haim Topol.” Netanyahu went on to call Topol a “versatile artist, with great charisma and energy” and “a huge heart.”
Topol reprised his Tevye role in the Broadway version of The Producers in 1991 “Fiddler on the Roof” his nomination for best actor in a musical at the Tony Awards. In addition, Topol received a Golden Globe nomination for the character he played in the 1964 Israeli movie, “Sallah.”
He is also known for his roles in the early 1980s films, “Flash Gordon” and “For Your Eyes Only,” and his continuous charitable efforts as the head of the Jordan River Village. This foundation helps sickly Israeli youngsters. According to the BBC, he is survived by his wife and three children.