Manny P. here…
A great character actor, who I had the pleasure to meet, has died. Theodore Bikel was a Tony and Academy Award-nominated actor and singer whose passions included folk music and political activism. He sang in 21 languages, appeared on numerous television shows, recorded books on tape, and performed in opera productions. THEODORE BIKEL —->
In 1945, Bikel moved to London to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art. Early in his career, he played opposite Vivien Leigh in a West End production of A Streetcar Named Desire. Bikel starred on Broadway as Capt. von Trapp in the original 1959 production of The Sound of Music. Theodore may be best known for his portrayal of Tevye in stage productions of Fiddler on the Roof. Although he did not appear in the original 1964 Broadway version or the 1971 film, he played Tevye more than 2,000 times on stage from 1967 onward. His latest film was a documentary about interpreting the work of Yiddish author and playwright Sholem Aleichem, who wrote Fiddler on the Roof.
Bikel received an Oscar nod for his 1958 portrayal of a Southern sheriff in The Defiant Ones, the acclaimed drama about two prison escapees. Other on screen roles include The African Queen, Moulin Rouge, My Fair Lady, I Want to Live, The Enemy Below, The Pride and the Passion, A Dog of Flanders, and The Russians Are Coming The Russians Are Coming. He worked with Katharine Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, Jose Ferrer, Cary Grant, Frank Sinatra, Sophia Loren, Susan Hayward, Tony Curtis, Sidney Poitier, Donald Crisp, and Curt Jurgens. He often referred to himself as the poor-man’s Peter Ustinov.
He guest-starred on television in The Twilight Zone, Wagon Train, Hawaii Five-O, Columbo, Charlie’s Angels, Cannon, Little House on the Prairie, Mission: Impossible, Gunsmoke, Dynasty, All in the Family, Knight Rider, Murder She Wrote, Star Trek: The Next Generation, and Law & Order.
Bikel became increasingly involved with Civil Rights issues and progressive causes, and was a delegate to the 1968 Democratic Convention. In 1962, Bikel co-founded Actors Federal Credit Union, and became the head of Actors Equity in the late 1970s and early 1980s. President Jimmy Carter appointed him to serve on the National Council for the Arts in 1977 for a six-year term.
The immensely talented Theodore Bikel was 91.
Until next time> “never forget”