“Forgotten Hollywood”- L’chaim…

Posted on March 8, 2023 by raideoman1 | No Comments

Manny P. here…

“`Chaim Topol was an Israeli actor, singer and illustrator. He is best known as Tevye, the lead role in the stage musical Fiddler on the Roof and in the 1971 film adaptation. He performed the role more than 3,500 times from the late 1960s through 2009.  He was hailed as Israel’s only internationally recognized entertainer from the 1960s through the 1980s.

“`Topol began acting during his Israeli army service in the  Nahal entertainment troupe and later toured Israel with kibbutz and satirical theatre companies.  He was a co-founder of the Haifa Theatre. His cinematic breakthrough part came in 1964 as the title character in Sallah Shabati. In 1966, Topol made his English-language film debut in Cast a Giant Shadow.

“`In casting the 1971 screen version of Fiddler on the Roof, director Norman Jewison and his production crew looked for a thespian other than Zero Mostel for the lead role. The decision was decidely controversial, as Zero had made the part famous in the long-running Broadway show and he campaigned to star in the film. Danny Kaye, Herschel Bernardi, Rod Steiger, Danny Thomas, Walter Matthau, Richard Burton and Frank Sinatra had also expressed interest in the part.

“`Topol initially played Tevye in the Israeli production in 1966. Harold Prince and Jerome Robbins created the London musical with Topol as their lead. Both were surprised that he was many years younger than expected. A few months after the opening, Topol was called up for reserve duty in the Six-Day War and he returned to Israel. He was assigned to an army entertainment troupe on the Golan Heights. Topol went on to appear in more than thirty films in Israel and United States, including Galileo, Flash Gordon and For Your Eyes Only.

“`Topol was the 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. In 2015, Topol was awarded the Israel Prize for lifetime achievement. The year before, the University of Haifa conferred upon Topol an honorary degree in recognition of his fifty years of activity in Israel’s cultural and public life.

“`A fine actor and a great humanitarian, Chaim Topol was eighty-seven.

Until next time>                               “never forget”

This entry was posted on Wednesday, March 8th, 2023 at 10:33 pm and is filed under Blog by Manny Pacheco. You can follow any comments to this post through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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